Windsor Locks officials have decided to object to the $15,000 bid for the Montgomery Mills complex, which was placed during an October 6 foreclosure sale.
First Selectman Steven N. Wawruck Jr. said the board of selectmen has instructed Town Attorney Scott Storms to object to the sale in court.
“Fifteen thousand dollars doesn’t even cover the court costs we’ve incurred so far,” Wawruck said.
The highest bidder at $15,000 was Mohan Sachdev, a veterinarian from Windsor. He told officials he wants to restore the building for residential.
The current outstanding tax liability owed by Canal Benk Realty is $403,342.20, with interest accruing monthly, officials said. The town also has liens against the property for the expenses related to a fire that destroyed a part of the mill complex on July 16, 2006.
The property has been appraised at $900,000.
The town is not willing to exonerate the back taxes obligation from the building, Wawruck said. The board of selectmen is going to sit with Storms and economic development consultant Patrick McMahon to discuss what could happen in the future.
Wawruck said he was blown away by the highest bid for the property.
“To see a building appraised at $900,000, whether it’s worth that amount or not, to see a $15,000 high bid doesn’t make sense,” Wawruck said.
McMahon said they have to first see if the court will approve the towns motion, which he presumes it will because the bid is so much less than the appraised value of the building. The town can then work with the owner to see if there is a developer with the ability to renovate the property, he said.
Or the town could pursue another foreclosure down the road, McMahon said.
Both Wawruck and McMahon said there has been interest from other developers since the auction.
“Why they didn’t come out and bid at the auction they haven’t said,” McMahon said.
A foreclosure sale was originally planned for . A day before the sale was to take place the property owners declared bankruptcy. This delayed the proceeding but officials continued to press the town’s rights and received a relief of stay in order to pursue the foreclosure sale.
The redevelopment of the property is part of town officials’s hopes to revitalize Windsor Locks’ downtown. Those plans also include relocating the commuter train station back to downtown as part of the New Haven- Hartford- Springfield commuter rail project.
McMahon said the town is in the middle of a Transit Orientated Development study and developers are saying that whether a train station is relocated to downtown or not, renovating the Montgomery building is a huge component of any redevelopment.
The state Department of Transportation has delayed making a decision about relocating the station because it only has enough money for a project to double the train track up to Windsor, McMahon said.
Windsor Locks officials are going to continue to press the state to make a decision regardless of whether the money is available for the project right now. McMahon said the town was led to believe earlier this year that DOT officials were in favor of moving the station.
The property consists of three contiguous parcels of approx. 3.38 acres of R-DRD zoned land with two buildings plus detached garage comprising of approx. 255,446 sq. ft. of old mill structure. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.