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March 24, 2022

Waterbury’s shuttered Timexpo building to see new life with education-focused tenant 

Michael Puffer | Hartford Business Journal The Timexpo Museum building at 175 Union St., Waterbury.

Waterbury-area economic development officials have approved basic conditions of a lease that will bring a quasi-public educational entity with about 75 employees to the city center.

City officials say the long-anticipated deal to lease the shuttered Timexpo building at 175 Union St. to the State Education Resource Center is a win on several fronts.

It will turn a maintenance drain into a revenue source for the building owner, the Naugatuck Valley Regional Development Corp. It will bring an estimated 75 employees and visiting educators to the city center, hopefully patronizing area businesses.

Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary said SERC's focus on special education and English language learner services will be a boon for the city, which has high levels of students in both categories. 

"Having their presence here in the city is as important as the revenue," O'Leary said. "I'm really glad we got to the finish line. I really believe the benefits to the community are enormous, having this within a mile of the Board of Education (offices) and City Hall. Their mentorship on policy and other aspects of special education services is one of the largest benefits that can be had by moving them here." 

The Naugatuck Valley Regional Development Corp. Board of Directors, on Tuesday, gave tentative approval to lease conditions that NVRDC CEO Tommy Hyde anticipates finalizing in a meeting with SERC next week. Hyde is empowered to conclude the lease without further board action if terms don’t change substantially.

Under the tentative terms reviewed Tuesday morning, SERC will pay NVRDC $220,370 yearly for the first five years, then $242,407 for the following five years. There is also an option to renew for another 10 years at higher rates built into the contract. The building offers about 11,568 square feet of accessible space for office use, Hyde said.

Waterbury officials say the lease will mean a revenue stream for NVRDC’s economic development efforts, a big change for a building that had been nothing but a maintenance drain since the Timexpo Museum closed in 2015. Officials also hope SERC’s staff and teachers visiting for training will patronize local businesses. For city schools, it also means SERC’s offerings are much closer at hand.

SERC, currently operating out of offices in Middletown, was established by state law to offer educator training and information about best practices to educators and families throughout the state.

The Timexpo Museum, which operated out of a building owned by the NVRDC, closed in 2015. Ever since, the building has been a roughly $200,000 annual maintenance cost, between taxes, insurance and other expenses, Hyde said.

The NVRDC is tasked with forwarding economic development initiatives of regional significance. So far Waterbury and Naugatuck have signed on as members. NVRDC staff are speaking with additional towns about joining to promote cooperative efforts.

NVRDC is also working to finalize a contract with J.A. Rosa Construction, of Wolcott, to renovate the Timexpo Building to SERC’s needs. Costs are anticipated at $560,155 and would be repaid by SERC over 10 years at 2% interest.

The tentative contract with J.A. Rosa allows 150 days for completion. Hyde anticipates SERC would begin moving in shortly after that work is complete.

NVRDC is finalizing another contract, anticipated at $162,918, with office furnishing company OFI of Newington, to outfit the building. This expense would be covered by NVRDC. 

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