Officials give update on purchasing properties around new South Norwalk School

A diagram presented in July, showing properties adjacent to the planned South Norwalk school site.

Last year, the Common Council approved a plan to use $2.9 million in funds left over from the recently completed Jefferson Elementary School renovation to acquire properties around the South Norwalk Elementary School.

“At that time, even though we were granted authority to acquire them, we certainly would come back once we were able to negotiate a price,” Attorney Darin Callahan told the Land Use and Building Management Committee on Wednesday. “At three of the properties, we actually have a tentative agreement on an acquisition price.”

The first is 28 Oxford St., which is “a single-family home on a very small lot,” Callahan said. 

“The owner is an elderly woman—she’s been in the property for what I understand to be several decades,” he said. “It’s a family generational property, so it’s been in the family quite a bit longer.”

Callahan said that they did two appraisals for the property over the summer—one came back at $312,000 and one came back at $330,000. But the owners did an appraisal within the last month that came back higher, in part due to “comp sales” of similar properties. Callahan said that they agreed on a $372,000 purchase price.

“I think this is a good deal for the city, and it’s a good deal for the owner,” he said. 

Callahan said the work they did at 28 Oxford was helpful with 38 Oxford. The City had appraisals on that property come back at $510,000 and $450,000, while the property owners’ appraisal came back around $600,000. 

He said that initially the city appraised the property as a two-family house, but it is “actually a three-family rental property, which increases the value,” he said. And from their experience with 28 Oxford, they knew similar properties were selling higher. 

“We were able to buy them out at $532,500,” he said. 

The third property, which is actually two—32 and 36 Oxford Street, was the most challenging, Callahan said. 

“This is a unique property,” he said. “One it’s a contractor yard, and there’s not a lot of contractor yards that go up for sale—in fact, there’s virtually no contractor yards that go up for sale in Norwalk. Two, it’s a property that is used by the owner has one property, but it’s really two separate parcels. And the third is that it’s a mixed use—there’s actually two multi-family residential buildings on the property, in addition to a contractor’s yard, which is essentially the backyard of the residential properties.”

Callahan noted that one is a two-family rental property, the other is a three-family rental property, on a very small amount of land. He said the city’s two appraisals came back at $1,040,000 and $1,330,000, while the owner’s appraisal came back around $2 million.

“What ultimately happened during the negotiation process was a property on Lubrano [Place] went up for sale—it was a .34-acre contractor’s yard that sold for $1.5 million, and so what we did was we kind of extrapolated that sale price and we looked at what the effective acreage of the contractor’s yard was and we determined that was roughly about .25,” he said. “Then the question is what are the two multifamily properties worth?”

After negotiations he said that they arrived at $1.76 million for the properties. 

“We’re in a position to move forward with contracts at this point,” he said. 

Council member Barbara Smyth (D-At Large) noted that the city is helping the families who were living in these properties find new places to live. 

Callahan said that they’ll continue to provide updates on this process.


3 responses to “Officials give update on purchasing properties around new South Norwalk School”

  1. Bryan Meek

    $472,500 above highest appraised value? A “good deal” for what city? Hartford?

    Not surprising seeing we paid $3 million above the $8 million assessed value for H&B.

    Have we gotten the permits from FEMA for building this in a flood plain yet?

    Quick math shows $470,000 left to get the last two lots. I’d expect to pay MNRR no more than $1 for the slice on South Main given how much this city has sacrificed itself to the rail projects.

    Looks like we’ll be coming up very short for the remaining lot which is larger than the $600k for the 0.12 acre lot with much more frontage. Wonder what kind of “good deal” we’ll get for that.

  2. John O’Neill

    Interesting comparing these properties to the recent Norwalk Revaluation Values.
    28 Oxford and 38 Oxford are basically in line. However, 32/36 Oxford has certainly been getting a
    discount over the years. Newest Revaluation was total of $964k for both…However, City is willing to
    cut a check for $ 1.76 Million — That’s practically double. Either City has been collecting too little in taxes
    from this property or they just paid twice what the property is worth in the eyes of the
    assessor’s office.

  3. Jessica Garnett

    Info from Vision per the recent re-eval, appraised values

    36 Oxford $532,040
    32 Oxford $431,440
    Total for the 2 properties is

    The city paid $1.76 million

    What am I missing???? So either the job Vision did is wildly incorrect (so all residents should question theirs as well) or the city doesn’t know how to negotiate……

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