A development company that just recently proposed an expansive new medical facility in the northern end of town will receive some economic incentives from Cheshire, if the project becomes a reality.
On Jan. 14, Cheshire Economic Development Coordinator Gerry Sitko informed the Town Council that Cheshire Surgery Center Realty LLC has requested incentive assistance regarding the 75,000-square-foot medical/office building and surgical center that is proposed to be built at 759 West Johnson Avenue, on approximately 27 acres owned by FIP Construction.
“This surgery center will essentially take up the last space available on the north end. The applicant expects to have 175 full time and 50 part time employees,” Sitko explained. “(The group) has 14 medical/office facilities in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The location that is currently in Southington will close and then utilize the new Cheshire office.”
Sitko went on to explain how the incentives would help the new business and Cheshire.
“The economic incentive to the company is about $900,000, and the project will generate about the same in taxes ... personal property taxes will generate $500,000 in revenue,” he said. “This request is consistent with the incentive policy as approved by the Council in the past, and has the support of the Economic Development Commission.”
The new surgery center, if approved by local boards, will be a Hartford Hospital affiliate and plans to hire approximately 125 full-time employees at first, and then increase to 175 employees as construction on the building continues.
After the presentation had concluded, Town Council Chairman Rob Oris took the opportunity to address an issue that he believes is arising in town, and being driven by social media.
“I have heard a lot of chatter over the past few weeks online that people are saying, ‘Oh look, another medical building,”’ Oris said. “My opinion is that this is great, upward growth. If we want growth, then we need things like this. I welcome projects like this.
“If it meets the appropriate requirements, then I will welcome it,” he continued. “This project will provide top medical services for the community while generating grand list growth. We can’t generate demand, and when you are throwing around words on Facebook, understand that we [the Council] don’t control everything.”
After Oris had concluded, Councilor Tim Slocum expressed his support for the sentiments expressed by Oris.
“Thank you, Rob, for saying this,” he added. “I, too, feel the same way. It is sometimes hard to keep opinions to yourself on social media … people know very little about these things and complain when we really need this.”
The Council was informed by Sitko that the current Economic Incentive Policy expires on June 30 and that the current Economic Development Commission and staff are looking at the policy and working on ensuring its fiscal responsibility.
After Sitko’s presentation, Oris called for a vote on the motion to approve the Tax Assessment Incentive, which passed unanimously by the Council.
The next Town Council meeting will be held on Feb. 11 in Town Council Chambers.