The town is moving forward with plans to sell the that currently houses the Board of Education’s administrative offices in an effort to keep the property from remaining unoccupied for any extended period of time.
Members of the council took action this week to put the building on the market, hiring local real estate agent Diana McDougall, of Realty 3, to sell the building with an asking price starting at $400,000.
“Diana McDougall has represented thousands of transactions in this town. She has developed a strong reputation as a fair and experienced realtor. This is a positive move for us,” said John Barry, minority member of the council.
Town Attorney Mark Sciota said Tuesday evening that a committee comprised of council members, town staff and administration with Southington schools selected McDougall from a list of three interested real estate agents and believe she may already have a potential buyer in mind. McDougall will receive a six percent commission on the sale, Sciota said.
Sciota said the town will be seeking $400,000 for the building and McDougall will act as a dual agent, meaning she has the ability to represent both the town and the potential buyer.
The Board of Education voted unanimously last year as they prepared to sell the property. Under town charter, the property can now be sold and members of the council will be asked to approve the final sale.
The Board of Education has also conducted an environmental study to help move the sale along and allow the town to stay at its asking price. The offices will be left vacant no later than July 1 after they are relocated to the North Center property once construction is completed, officials said.
“The three realtors came in with similar numbers and this was in the middle,” Sciota said.
Council members approved McDougall’s hiring and the proposed sale price late Tuesday evening, voting 8-1 to move forward, but Councilwoman Stephanie Urillo was opposed to the idea of having her serve as a dual agent.
“I think a separation of interest should exist. We are hiring her to represent the town and I’d just feel more comfortable if she was solely our agent to guarantee she has the best interest of Southington in mind,” Urillo said.
Barry said although he would be interested in such a move as well, he is not concerned because the Town Council still holds final authority on the sale and will have an opportunity to review the issue and vote on it before any agreement is reached.
“If we aren’t comfortable with the sale, we can reject it,” Barry said. “This is a property that will still have to go through all the approvals before the use is approved.”