New London City Hall isn’t the only historic building owned by the city, but it soon could be.
The city is looking at a plan to sell of three of its four buildings and consolidating most of the departments all under one roof.
“By reducing the inefficiencies of maintaining a 100 square foot of space and leasing the 20,000 we need, that we will save money ultimately for the taxpayers,” said New London Mayor Michael Passero.
Right now, if residents want to talk to the zoning department, they come to city hall. But if they also need a building permit, they have to go to the Stanton Building a couple of blocks away.
Bringing together the departments now spread among city hall, 13 Masonic Street, the Stanton Building, and the Martin Center into a more modern building, could provide better working conditions for employees and more convenience for residents.
“I think to the residents, I think we owe them that,” said Felix Reyes, Director, Officer of Development and Planning.
It could also eliminate the need for much of the capital improvements which seem to get delayed year after year when the city needs to cut its budget.
“Just the basics and we’re at over $8 million of work that needs to be done to these four buildings,” said Reyes.
Selling the three buildings other than city hall could eventually generate at least an additional $250,000 in tax revenue for the city.
“We’ve got a couple of buildings that actually have parking in a downtown which makes it quite attractive to private development,” said Reyes.
There’s already one developer interested in the Martin Center.
“I think it’s important to use our tax dollars to the best possible use,” said Cathy Zall of New London. “So I think that’s a very important thing. Plus, I think city workers deserve a decent place to work.”
“We believe we have at least three solid opportunities to present to the city council,” said Mayor Passero, who says the buildings they are looking at leasing are all in the downtown area. “Correct, all within a block or two of this building.”
The mayor plans to present those leasing options and the consolidation plan to city councilors in January.