Connecticut Commercial Real Estate

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Windham Connecticut Commercial Real Estate

The redevelopment of Windham and Willimantic continues. With a growing retail area and rebirth of main street Windham/Willimantic is ready to boom. CT Commercial Real Estate

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Liberty Crossing Proposal

A unique opportunity to locate
in a premier 800,000 square foot Breslin
Shopping Village” at Stonington, CT

Liberty Crossing is located at the key interchange in
southeastern Connecticut and has very high visibility from
both I-95 and CT Route 2 (Liberty St).
Liberty Crossing is a highly-designed Shopping Village with
pedestrian walks; substantial landscaping in a park-like
setting; indoor/outdoor restaurants and shops; a selection of
“village anchor” store locations, sizes and shapes; a unique,
high-end golf and tennis hotel/conference center; all with
convenient, pull-up automobile access throughout the village

Thursday, November 23, 2006

No Utopia Deal

No money. No deal.

Utopia Studios' more than three-year effort to buy the highly coveted former Norwich Hospital property likely ended Wednesday as the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to terminate a development deal with Utopia.

About 20 Utopia opponents applauded the vote at Preston Plains Middle School, a dramatic turnaround from March, when Utopia backers euphorically celebrated the approval of the agreement at a town referendum.

"We acted on the information we had," First Selectman Robert Congdon said after the vote. "It's not something that any of us wanted to do."

Selectmen acted on the unanimous recommendation from the Norwich Hospital Advisory Committee, which cited nine of 28 conditions Utopia failed to meet, including, most notably, providing a combined $56.5 million to cover cleanup, taxes and town fees.

The termination became effective immediately and Utopia was notified of the vote Wednesday. Congdon said in addition to faxing the vote to all of the appropriate Utopia and state parties, he telephoned Utopia developer Joseph Gentile.

"He's my friend," Congdon said. "I wanted to tell him personally what we did."
$1.6 billion project

Utopia's $1.6 billion proposal to build theme parks, hotels, a performing arts college, movie studios and a retail/entertainment complex would have been the largest single development in the region's history.

It also was supposed to create 22,000 union jobs and millions of dollars in taxes to the state and town. And Gentile said the project would create Hollywood East, attracting A-list stars to this farming town and to neighboring Norwich, where Utopia also has proposed a $500 million development.

But skeptics have long said they were tired of Gentile's talk, and wanted to see substance, namely money and details of the plan.

In a letter submitted to Congdon and the town's attorneys at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, Utopia attorney Christopher Thompson requested an extension to meet the requirements of the deal that were due by midnight Tuesday or to send the disputed matters to mediation.

"A great deal of time, money and hard work on all sides has been expended," he wrote. "It would be a grave injustice for either side to invoke a hard-line position at this stage in the process."

Gentile released a prepared statement at about 8:15 p.m., saying mediation was a fair option.

"Utopia Studios has shown the money and is disappointed with the unreasonable and hasty decision," he said. "Like the football games we will watch over the holiday, sometimes all you need is a good referee to sort out differences. We believe mediation is still a viable option and know we can find the right referee to move this project forward to benefit the state of Connecticut."

If Utopia formally responds to the vote with a request for mediation, both sides would have 30 days for talks with an already approved mediator, whose decisions are non-binding. Congdon said if a mediator finds Utopia's claims have merit, the town would respond in good faith.

The time frame does not allow Utopia to submit further items.

No one knows for sure whether Utopia would sue the town if mediation fails.

A developer interested in the property would have to consider the merits of any such lawsuit before deciding to proceed with negotiations with the town, which still has more than two years to secure a developer and exercise its option to buy the state land.

On Tuesday, Congdon notified Utopia it had "serious deficiencies" in many of its submissions. Utopia waited until late Monday, the 180th and final day of the time Utopia had to meet the requirements, to tell the town it had been delayed by the state and the town.

Utopia said it was unable to meet certain conditions because the state delayed the delivery of a land survey and a final property description, and the town didn't make reasonable efforts to secure the delivery of those items.

But Congdon wrote: "The town rejects any contention of state or town delay."

He said Utopia knew the state's position is that the title commitment and property description Utopia already has is sufficient to convey the property from the state to the town.

Congdon said the town's understanding is Utopia's title company is dealing directly with the surveyor on "very minor technical questions," which would not be viewed as material by any potential Utopia funding sources.

Attorneys Scott Murphy and Bruce Chudwick of Shipman & Goodwin in Hartford reviewed the conditions in executive session with the committee. Murphy said only the reasons for termination could be mediated, and not the rejection of an extension.
Subdued reaction

A dozen or so Utopia supporters reacted with little emotion to the selectmen's vote. In contrast, some union workers shouted at committee members in July 2005 when talks originally collapsed between Utopia and the town.

Gentile and Thompson also stormed out of Town Hall that day. But no Utopia representative attended the meeting Wednesday at the time of the vote.

Utopia has paid all of the town's attorney fees to date and was not required to pay penalty fees of its own for the termination.

Selectman Gerald Grabarek said although he liked Gentile, the Southampton, N.Y., resident, who is married to actress Cathy Moriarty-Gentile, still needed to prove himself.

"It's his failure, not ours," Grabarek said, adding the town has the benefit of the framework to a strong development agreement. "We can move forward all the wiser."




CT Commercial Real Estate

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Utopia could be decided tonight

PRESTON, Conn. -- The fate of a massive development project in eastern Connecticut could be decided by Preston officials Wednesday.

Officials said Utopia Studios failed to meet a midnight deadline Monday to set aside more than $56 million in escrow accounts. A special meeting set for Wednesday could extend the deadline or kill the project.

The more than $1.5 billion Utopia project includes enclosed theme parks, movie studios and a performing arts college at the former Norwich Hospital.
Utopia representatives said their failure to come up with the money and meet other requirements is due to the state and town.

A lawyer for Utopia said the money needs to be transferred, but only after the cost of an environmental cleanup is confirmed. He said the state must provide Utopia with a certified survey.


CT Commercial Real Estate

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Utopia Annoucement

Utopia meeting tonight expected to draw large crowd

PRESTON — The only people in town who are supposed to know anything about Utopia Studios’ status by the time a meeting is held tonight is First Selectman Robert Congdon and the co-chairmen of an advisory committee.

Utopia officials met with Congdon and the town’s attorneys at a law office in Hartford until five minutes before midnight Tuesday, the deadline for Utopia to meet 28 conditions on a development deal with the town.


One of those conditions is the wiring of $56.5 million to town-controlled escrow accounts to cover the costs of cleaning up the property, demolishing most of the buildings, banking the first four years of development taxes and paying for the town’s attorney and consulting fees.

Congdon said this morning that he will hold a conference call sometime today with committee co-chairmen, Michael Sinko and Joseph Biber, and the attorneys from Shipman & Goodwin in Hartford to brief them about the status of Utopia’s submissions.
Congdon said the rest of the 11-member committee must wait to find out the details of the meeting with Utopia until the advisory meeting at 6 tonight at Preston Plains school.
If the briefed them before a meeting, it would be considered a separate official meeting but no prior public notice has been given for that scenario.
Town officials are expecting a large crowd due to the high interest in the $1.6 billion proposal for an entertainment complex at the former Norwich Hospital property.

CT Commercial Real Estate

Sunday, November 19, 2006

245 acres liened near Mohegan Sun

CT Commercial Real Estate

Lien Filed on 245 acres near Mohegan Sun

A Massachusetts businessman has filed liens on 245 acres on Massapeag Side Road, land that abuts the Mohegan Tribe's reservation and which is being eyed by a national developer for a large-scale housing and retail complex.

The liens were filed last week in Town Hall and are in connection with a lawsuit that Joel Greene has brought against one of the property's owners, John Voloshin. Greene has alleged in his lawsuit that Voloshin, a business partner of Tarragon Corp., which is planning to develop the Massapeag Side Road property, mishandled some $2 million Greene gave Voloshin to secure options on some of the land.

Greene alleges in his lawsuit that Voloshin, who lives in Woodbridge, failed to secure the options and instead developed a partnership with Tarragon, a Manhattan-based development firm. Tarragon has said it wants to build a hotel, 18-hole golf course, luxury condominiums, upscale stores and a marina on the riverfront land.

Voloshin and an attorney for Tarragon could not be reached to comment Thursday.

Voloshin, a partner in a proposed $125 million condominium and marina project proposed for Route 1 in Stonington, is the subject of more than two dozen lawsuits brought by some of his business partners, lenders, contractors and credit-card companies. In many of the lawsuits, Voloshin is accused of failing to repay money to creditors or business associates.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Mohegan Sun Expansion

Mohegan Sun Continues to Rise with Project Horizon
Thursday, November 16, 2006, 2:55:47 PM

$740 million expansion features House of Blues® hotel, Music Hall, and restaurant as well as additional retail, dining and gaming

UNCASVILLE, CT (November 16, 2006) – Mohegan Sun, the Northeast’s premier entertainment destination in southeastern Connecticut, announced today plans for an estimated $740 million expansion. The cornerstone of Project Horizon will be a new 1,000-room hotel, expected to feature a unique House of Blues experience including 300 House of Blues-themed hotel rooms, which will be owned and operated by Mohegan Sun, and an exclusive, members-only House of Blues Foundation Room™ to be located on the upper floors of the new hotel. House of Blues is a Live Nation Brand. Other highlights of the new House of Blues experience at Mohegan Sun would include a House of Blues Music Hall, restaurant, retail outlet, and poker room. Project Horizon also calls for 115,000 square feet of additional retail and restaurant space and the new 64,000-square-foot “Casino of the Wind.” In addition, Mohegan Sun will expand its Asian gaming in the Casino of the Earth.

“We’re thrilled to unveil the next phase of our evolution,” said Bruce Bozsum, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe. “The future of the Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Sun shines bright, as we continue to develop as an overall entertainment destination and position Mohegan Sun as an industry leader. Our Project Horizon will further expand upon our cultural heritage and traditions to offer our customers a spectacular, one-of-a-kind experience in the Northeast.”

With construction set to begin in the summer of 2007 on the new hotel and casino, Project Horizon is expected to add more than 1.4 million square feet to Mohegan Sun’s existing structure.

Project Horizon is also expected to inject 1,400 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs into the economy of southeastern Connecticut. The total number of slot machines at Mohegan Sun is projected to increase to 7,600 units complemented by 385 table games.

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, as the owner and operator of Mohegan Sun, plans to finance the project through a new $1.0 billion revolving credit facility from a syndicate of financial institutions and commercial banks. The facility is expected to close in December 2006.

“This is a very exciting time in the history of Mohegan Sun,” said Mitchell Etess, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mohegan Sun. “We’re thrilled to welcome House of Blues here at Mohegan Sun, an arrangement that is designed to bring together two leading entertainment destinations at one location. We continue to revolutionize the entertainment landscape in the Northeast and bring unique and exciting options to our guests.”

Project Horizon also is expected to strengthen Mohegan Sun’s core competitive advantage in the marketplace, and customer-friendly ease of access, with the addition of 3,600 new surface and valet parking spaces outside the new hotel tower.

“We have worked tirelessly with the architects and designers to organically and seamlessly expand the existing facility while honoring the past culture and future generations of the Mohegan Tribe,” added Etess. “Over the years, we have created the premier entertainment destination in North America and continue to build unparalleled guest loyalty.”

The design of Project Horizon is a collaborative effort by several of the world’s most renowned firms, including Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo (WATG), architects of Mohegan Sun’s dramatic exterior, and the Rockwell Group, in charge of creating the Mohegan-inspired design for the new gaming space, hotel lobby, retail and dining areas.

“The Source,” a concept with special meaning to the Mohegan Tribe, served as the inspiration for the designs of Project Horizon. Water, the ultimate source of life, will act as a key design feature. In the new hotel lobby, a reflecting pool will evoke the spirits of the sea, earth and sky, while thirteen springs will represent the new generations that will prosper from the Tribe’s vision.

The new hotel experience at Mohegan Sun will boast luxurious one-of-a-kind accommodations. For guests staying in a House of Blues room, a separate House of Blues registration area will greet them upon their arrival. The new hotel, owned and operated by Mohegan Sun, is expected to feature a 20,000-square-foot Mandara Spa and 6,000-square-foot Kids Quest II child care center. The hotel will open in two phases – the 700 Mohegan Sun rooms are expected to open in the spring of 2010, and 300 House of Blues rooms are expected to open in the summer of 2010.

The new 1,500 capacity House of Blues Music Hall would feature live music from a wide variety of musical genres, while the 300-seat casual dining restaurant would offer unique regional and international cuisine and traditional southern-inspired favorites such as Creole Seafood Jambalaya, Pan-Seared Voodoo Shrimp with Rosemary Cornbread and White Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding. These venues are expected to open in the autumn of 2009.

“Mohegan Sun is one of the most extraordinary gaming and entertainment destinations in the U.S.,” said Greg Trojan of House of Blues. “To collaborate with the Mohegan Tribe in this new endeavor provides Live Nation and House of Blues a remarkable opportunity to showcase our unique brand of hospitality and entertainment in a premier setting. We are honored to be playing such an integral part in the Project Horizon expansion.”

“I have personally been promoting concerts in Connecticut for over 35 years bringing the biggest artists in the world to this great state,” said Jim Koplik, President of Live Nation Connecticut. “To be able to finally promote club shows at the most respected club venue brand in the world will be hugely beneficial for both the artist community and the music fans who love coming to see live entertainment at Mohegan Sun.”

Connecting the new hotel tower to the existing hotel at Mohegan Sun as well as the winter section of the Casino of the Earth will be a total of 115,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space. This addition will consist of an 11,500-square-foot Japanese restaurant with 200 seats, 9,000-square-foot American contemporary restaurant with 175 seats, 10,000-square-foot family-style Italian restaurant with 200 seats, 3,000-square-foot Burger Bar with 90 seats, and three quick-serve food outlets totaling 5,800 square feet.

The new retail and restaurant area will also be complemented by 40,430 square feet of new retail space and a 30,000-square-foot adult recreation lounge featuring bowling and billiards. The new restaurant and retail component is slated to open in fall 2009.

The new Casino of the Wind will be located adjacent to the Casino of the Sky, and its design will include 42,000 square feet of gaming space with over 900 slot machines, 10 table games and a specially-themed House of Blues poker room with 45 tables (operated by Mohegan Sun). Other amenities would include: a 2,700-square-foot retail outlet; 4,000-square-foot quick-serve dining venue; and a 15,000-square-foot, multi-level, high-energy, branded restaurant/bar. The Casino of the Wind is expected to open in the spring of 2008.

Meanwhile, in the Casino of the Sky, a new Mexican-themed dining venue is expected to open outside the Convention Center. This establishment would be owned and operated by the Cornerstone Restaurant Group, which currently operates Michael Jordan’s Steak House and Michael Jordan’s 23 Sportcafe at Mohegan Sun.

With Project Horizon, Mohegan Sun will also expand the gaming experience for its Asian clientele. Located in the Autumn section of the Casino of the Earth, the new Asian gaming area is designed to feature a 5,000-square-foot bus lobby, 4,000-square-foot “Hong Kong” Street food outlet and 12,000-square-foot gaming floor offering 46 table games such as Baccarat, Sic Bo and Pai Gow Poker. The area is scheduled to open in the summer of 2007.

In order to provide guests with the best dining options available, Mohegan Sun has partnered with Elizabeth Blau & Associates, a highly successful Las Vegas-based strategic restaurant planning and development firm.

Mohegan Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, is one of the largest, most distinctive and spectacular entertainment, gaming, shopping and meeting destinations in the United States. Situated on 240 acres along the Thames River in scenic southeastern Connecticut, Mohegan Sun is within easy access of New York, Boston, Hartford and Providence and located 15 minutes from the museums, antique shops and waterfront of Mystic Country. What began with the Casino of the Earth in 1996 has evolved into a legendary destination that now includes: the Casino of the Sky and over 300,000 square feet of total gaming space; The Shops at Mohegan Sun, featuring more than 60 retail shops and dining venues; the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena for world-class sporting events and concerts; an intimate Cabaret Theatre; and a 34-story luxury hotel, featuring 1,200 guestrooms and suites, premier meeting and convention space and a world-class spa. More information is available by calling 1.888.226.7711 or visiting mohegansun.com.

About the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority
The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, the Authority is an instrumentality of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, a federally recognized Indian tribe with an approximately 507-acre reservation situated in southeastern Connecticut, adjacent to Uncasville, Connecticut. The Authority has been granted the exclusive power to conduct and regulate gaming activities on the existing reservation of the Tribe, including the operation of Mohegan Sun, a gaming and entertainment complex that is situated on a 240-acre site on the Tribe’s reservation and, through its subsidiary, Downs Racing, LP, owns and operates Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, a harness racetrack located in Plains Township, Pennsylvania and five OTW facilities located elsewhere in Pennsylvania. The Tribe’s gaming operation at Mohegan Sun is one of only two legally authorized gaming operations in New England offering traditional slot machines and table games.
Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Some information included in this press release contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such statements include information relating to business development activities, as well as capital spending, financing sources and the effects of regulation (including gaming and tax regulation) and increased competition. These statements can sometimes be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “may,” “will,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” or “intend” and similar expressions. Such forward-looking information involves important risks and uncertainties that could significantly affect anticipated results in the future and, accordingly, such results may differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of the Authority. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those relating to increased competition (including the legalization or expansion of gaming in New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania), the financial performance of Mohegan Sun, dependence on existing management, potential adverse changes in local, regional, national or global economic climates, the Authority’s leverage and ability to meet its debt service obligations, changes in federal or state tax laws or the administration of such laws, changes in gaming laws or regulations (including the limitation, denial or suspension of licenses required under gaming laws and regulations), and the continued availability of financing. Additional information concerning potential factors that could affect the Authority’s financial results is included in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2005, as well as its other reports and filings with the SEC. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date of this release. The Authority does not undertake any obligation to update or supplement any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. The Authority cannot assure you that projected results or events will be achieved or will occur.

Commercial Real Estate