On Wednesday, the Community Development Committee of the Board of Alders voted unanimously to terminate an agreement between the city and Science Park, a nonprofit organization that attracts entrepreneurs to an industrial site adjacent to Yale’s Science Hill.
The agreement was initially formed in January 1992 to provide a grant in aid to Science Park Corporation, which used the funds for development projects and property improvements, said President and Chairman of Science Park Development Corporation David Silverstone. In return, Science Park Development Corporation agreed to pay a portion of its positive revenue through the end of 2011, when the agreement expired. Silverstone added that the city initially invested $625,000 and has received roughly $1.3 million over the course of the 19 years.
“I think it was a win-win in reference to the taxes that were gained from Science Park,” Ward 29 Alder Brian Wingate said. “All the details came together and it was also an issue of time.”
Although the terms of the agreement formally ended in 2011, the city attorney ruled that the Board of Alders must vote to terminate it as they initially voted to approve the deal, Silverstone said.
The other consenting parties, including the Olin Corporation, the state of Connecticut and Yale University have already terminated the provision, said Frank Douglass, chairman of the Community Development Committee.
Silverstone said that because of this agreement and the success of the Science Park development, the Elm City has witnessed major improvements over the past few years, including the entrance of 30 new companies to Science Park and over 100 million in private sector investment.
He added that the Science Park Corporation sought formal termination of this agreement since the Corporation is in the process of renegotiating its mortgage with the state and its lenders want to see “clean type.”
Ward 6 Alder Dolores Colon clarified that the termination of the contract would not affect the current leases on buildings in Science Park. However, she questioned whether new tenants — including Yale’s potential relocation of Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library to 344 Winchester Ave. — would be taxed as additional income to the city.
Although Silverstone said he did not know the specifics of the Beinecke project — Science Park owns the land and does not handle internal leases — he said he would provide documents regarding property assessments and taxability to the board for final consideration.
Silverstone projected that following two more readings by the Board of Alders, the official termination of the agreement can be expected to come by April 15 at the latest.
In addition to the Science Park agreement, the committee also discussed two other legislative items: the acquisition of 99 Edgewood Ave. and a public hearing for RMS Chapel West, two multiunit buildings. Both measures passed unanimously.
Science Park Development Corporation was formed in 1981 by the City of New Haven, Olin Corporation and Yale University to develop a high technology business, research and industrial park.