TORRINGTON: UConn has contacted to Torrington city leaders to offer the municipality the first chance to buy the University’s property that had as UConn’s regional campus until mid-2016.
The former mini campus has three buildings on 95-acres, where the University ended academic programs in mid-2016 due to dwindling enrollment.
EdAdvance, one of Connecticut’s six Regional Education Service Centers (RESCs), has expressed an interest in buying the M. Adela Eads Classroom Building and property around it for use in the educational programming it offers for 24 school districts in western and northwestern Connecticut.
Under state statutes, Torrington is entitled to receive first notice of the University’s intent to sell any or all of the property within its borders, and the city has the first opportunity to negotiate a purchase agreement.
Under the terms of those statutes, Torrington has 45 days – in this case, on or before April 16 – to notify UConn that it wants to negotiate a purchase.
If it decides against buying the site, UConn would be free to move forward with a process that will allow potential purchasers to compete for the campus, and then to negotiate a purchase agreement with another buyer. Torrington would then have a second chance to buy the property by matching the terms of the successful buyer.
The Board of Trustees would need to approve any such agreement.
That board had voted in August 2017 to authorize UConn administrators to negotiate an agreement in which the University would lease part of the site to EdAdvance and transfer the rest to the city, then assign the EdAdvance lease to the city.
Since then, however, EdAdvance determined it would be more practical to buy the classroom building than to lease it, since it would need to bear the expenses of modifying the structure for its use.
UConn’s Litchfield County Extension Center remains in use at the site and is subject to a charitable use restriction, so UConn would need to work with any potential buyer – be it the city, EdAdvance, or others – to lease that part of the campus to UConn for the center to remain there until at least early 2026.