A small piece of former railroad property is up for sale and wanted by town officials and a nearby property owner alike.
Recently, the town was informed that the pieces of land, which sits next to the end of Phillips Street, was being sold by Pan American Co. The town has the second right of refusal after the state, and the Town Council debated whether to put in their statement if interest in the land.
Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon said the town would like to purchase the land and may use it as part of a bicycle and pedestrian path.
Right now the land is used by the Webster Trust, which owns the property that includes the Extra Innings baseball facility and other businesses including Imai, Keller, Moore Architects. The firm parks on that land, said Chico Sajovic of Webster Trust.
“It works better if we have the parcel for parking,” Sajovic said. “It would have a major negative impact on (the architecture firm’s) operation and a negative impact on my ability to lease the property.”
Randall Imai, founder of the architecture firm, said he has 20 employees and his firm needs about 18 or 19 spaces. There are 11 spaces on the land in question.
“We need this parking, otherwise they will be parking on residential streets,” Imai said.
The land could be key for the future of not only the Webster Trust land, but other nearby parcels including a major residential project proposed by Greystar at the Arsenal and Irving streets, said Town Council President Mark Sideris.
“I would support purchasing the land because of what’s going on there,” Sideris said. “We will have some say on what goes on in there.”
Town Council Vice President Steve Corbett said he would like to work with Webster Trust to come up with a workable solution.
“It is not our intention to disrupt your business. We hope you would be a partner in the discussion for what happens with the property,” Corbett said.
The town cannot put up a fence or barrier to prevent them from crossing the property, Magoon said.
Some have told the town they don’t want the land to be used to turn Phillips Street into a through street. Councilor Vincent Piccirilli quelled those fears.
“That is not our intent,” Piccirilli said. “We seek to provide bicycle and pedestrian access, not extend the public way called Phillips Street.”
The Town Council voted to “express an interest” in purchasing the former railroad land. Before the town can buy it, the railroad company must accept the offer, Sideris said. If the offer is entertained, the town will have to allocate money for the land and the offer will have to be accepted.