Shelton reopens talks to buy Blacks Hill Road property

The Board of Aldermen has approved the city’s purchase of 56 Blacks Hill Road for $590,000, with the cost being covered through use of American Rescue Plan funds. The city is still negotiating the purchase of 55 Blacks Hill Road.

The Board of Aldermen has approved the city’s purchase of 56 Blacks Hill Road for $590,000, with the cost being covered through use of American Rescue Plan funds. The city is still negotiating the purchase of 55 Blacks Hill Road.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — The city has resumed negotiations with the owners of 55 Blacks Hill Road — land essential to the extension of Constitution Boulevard — to purchase the property, according to Mayor Mark Lauretti.

Lauretti told the Board of Aldermen at its meeting Thursday that the property owners have requested to reopen negotiations, a move that comes only days after the city began condemnation proceedings on the 5.1-acre site.

“I received an email from (the owners’) attorney saying they would now like to sit down and talk,” Lauretti said. “I am happy to oblige.”

Lauretti told Hearst Connecticut Media earlier this week that the city has gone to the courts to determine the land’s value after failing to come to terms with the owners of 55 Blacks Hill Road, who earlier this year offered to sell their land to the city for $1.7 million.

“Condemnation has been applied for in the courts,” Lauretti said. “It takes 35 days, and after that, unless something unforeseen occurs, we will pay what the judge says we need to pay.”

Lauretti said the city has obtained two independent appraisals of the land, one came in at $375,000, the other at $395,000. These were submitted to the court, according to the mayor.

Attorney Patricia Sullivan, who represents the property’s owners, confirmed requesting a “face-to-face meeting” with Lauretti to discuss the purchase. Sullivan said that meeting has been confirmed for next week.

Sullivan has stated that in mid-March her clients offered to sell the property to the city at “a price commensurate with what had been approved by the Board of Aldermen” for the purchase of the property across the street at 56 Blacks Hill Road.

“At the city’s request, they permitted representatives from the city to visit the 55 Blacks Hill Road property this past Friday (March 18),” Sullivan said.

The 56 Blacks Hill Road property measures about three quarters of an acre.

In a letter dated March 11 to the city corporation counsel Fran Teodosio, Sullivan, on behalf of the owners, wrote that the city first offered to purchase the land for $215,000, to which she stated the owners were “insulted.”

The next offer, after an updated valuation of the land, was $345,000, Sullivan wrote.

The Board of Aldermen, at a meeting in February, approved the city’s purchase of 56 Blacks Hill Road for $590,000, with the cost being covered through use of American Rescue Plan funds.

Sullivan, in her letter, said a “well-respected” real estate professional had estimated the property’s value at “well in excess of $1 million.”

Lauretti has said he first contacted the owners of 55 Blacks Hill Road — which the mayor says has been vacant for several years — before the onset of the pandemic. He said the city made an offer to the owners, which was rejected.

Sullivan said the property, on which sits one house, has been in her clients’ family since the 1940s.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com