The Town of Berlin has been trying to figure what to do with the Tyson poultry plant property for seven years now after buying the 63-acre parcel in 2016 for $2.5 million.
It also has spent nearly as long looking for a way to get out from under that debt, especially since the cost of everything else the town does has become increasingly expensive.
Plenty of ideas have been offered on the great things that could be done with the former industrial tract, but most of these have fallen into the “wouldn’t-it-be-nice?” category because the town doesn’t have the money needed to institute them.
Then along comes developer/builder Palmer Gillis, who has offered $1.5 million-plus for a 17-acre section, and whose plans will be discussed publicly at the July 10 mayor and council meeting.
Those plans, Gillis said in the proposal from his company, Coastal Ventures Properties, “… visualize a vibrant and lively multi-use commercial building(s) providing a home for a plethora of businesses, events, and community to exist here.”
Perfect. Take the deal.
While there’s always room for refinement and reconfiguration in this or any other project, it remains that the town doesn’t have that many options, depending on taxpayers’ level of tolerance.
It can either work with Gillis to get the deal done or continue to pay on the $2.3 million balance for the next few decades while hoping something better comes along.
This is a bird-in-hand situation, and with the town hardly wallowing in cash, working with a local developer with a good reputation would seem to be its best course of action.
Also, as they say in real estate transactions, time is of the essence, especially as the costs of labor and materials continue to rise.
So, yes, ask tough questions, get the particulars, and negotiate with two things in mind: what residents want on the property and whether there ever will be a better and quicker way to pay off almost two-thirds of the cost of buying it.