For the second time, the South Windsor Town Council has opted to extend the reversion deadline for the Connecticut Studios project, saying that only "exceptional circumstances" would warrant yet another extension.
During a work session Monday night, Mayor Thomas A. Delnicki read off a list of questions to Town Manager Matt Galligan as he looked for answers on some of the most basic issues regarding this multi-million dollar project.
After discussing obstacles facing the development, the town council opted to go into an hour-and-a-half-long Executive Session for further discussion.
Frustrating to everyone involved is the continued slow pace of the project, casting doubt for many on whether or not it will be completed.
"The Town Council is not happy with the situation — is that an understatement?" said Councilman Keith Yagaloff, looking at Mayor Delnicki.
Galligan cited the economic recession as the "No. 1" reason for the slow progress of the project and added that coordinating with eight attorneys has been daunting at times, "kind of a nightmarish situation," he said.
Connecticut Studios representative, Anthony DelVicario, described in detail the steps he has been taking toward getting paperwork and signatures to make some progress on the project. Presently holding up the process is the need for a Power Provider Agreement (PPA), which is delayed because after a year of working toward making the site solar-powered, the state asked the company midstream to use Connecticut-made fuel cells, he said.
A real "setback" according to Galligan.
DelVicario also awaits the finalization of a property appraisal. "We've been sitting here, waiting for the appraisal. As soon as I have that, I can disperse it," he said. "Once that is done I can get an underwriting committment."
"We are moving along, we are almost there," DelVicario said.
Connecticut Studios is also reported to be working with a "major" Hollywood studio that may be interested in investing up to $10 million in the project.
Following the Executive Session, the town council passed the extension, giving Connecticut Studios another four months to get the PPA finalized, get a firm funding committment, and take out building permits with the town. They are also requesting a weekly update from the studio on the progress of the project.
Only council member Yagaloff objected and felt that the property should have reverted back to the town when the first deadline date of Oct. 26, 2012, had passed. "I don't support this extension, but I do support this project," he said, adding that he is afraid the town will lose their "leverage" come April if no movement has been made on the project.
"This was one of the most fruitful discussions on this we have had in a long time," Mayor Delnicki said.
Editor's note: Anthony DelVicario, the Connecticut Studios representative, was incorrectly identified as Ralph Palumbo in an earlier version of this story.