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DEEP Issues Request for Proposals Seeking a Development Partner for Seaside State Park

Historic Structures suited to be a hospitality venue for lodging, dining, meeting and spa space

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a private development partner to adaptively re-use historic structures located at Seaside State Park on Long Island Sound in Waterford for hospitality/lodging purposes with the intention of creating Connecticut’s first state park lodge.
“At DEEP we are in the forever business, and the Seaside property with its unique history and spectacular views of the Long Island Sound belong to all of Connecticut,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “Increasing public access to the Long Island Sound has been a primary goal of the Connecticut State Park system since the very first state park opened in 1913. Moving forward with the plan to preserve this property as a state park, while also creating a state park lodge is the best of both worlds for our residents and our tourism economy. We look forward to creating a public-private partnership to save these historic buildings and create a state park lodge that will be an asset to the town and the state.”
The Seaside property, which was designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert, originally opened in 1932 as a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients, later serving as senior housing and finally as a group home before closing in 1996. Governor Malloy made the property a state park in 2014, making it the first new state park on the Long Island Sound in more 50 years. Since 2014 DEEP has undertaken an extensive Master Planning process with public participation to determine the best course of action in an effort to save and adaptively re-use the historic buildings in the context of a public park.
DEEP will consider proposals to rehabilitate, manage, and maintain the four National Register listed buildings in return for credit toward a long-term lease. The deadline for responses is July 27, 2018.  Over 107,000 gross square feet in four buildings are available, with the opportunity to add new construction to meet current hospitality needs.
Following a comprehensive Master Planning Process, the DEEP identified the best adaptive re-use of the historic buildings, to be lodging, dining, a spa and associated amenities.  Subsequent evaluation and planning determined the granite and brick buildings could be saved.  A hospitality study conducted by CBRE Hotels/PKF Consulting determined a demand for lodging in the greater Waterford/New London Connecticut market.  An Environmental Impact Evaluation and Record of Decision has been completed and approved.  The State Historic Preservation Office supports the adaptive re-use plan and the project may be eligible for federal historic tax credits.
Southeastern Connecticut offers a vibrant mix of tourist destinations, large scale employers, colleges and cultural attractions. One mile from Seaside State Park, Harkness Memorial State Park hosts an average 80 weddings a year with few local lodging opportunities.
State assistance in the redevelopment of the buildings may include technical assistance with local and state permitting, and infrastructure assistance funding.  For the right development partner, Seaside State Park offers a rare opportunity to develop a new hospitality venue on the shore of Long Island Sound in an area with a demonstrated demand for lodging.
In keeping with the Master Plan developed with considerable public input in 2016, additional goals for this RFP include the following:
  1. Promote and improve passive recreation and public access to Long Island Sound
  2. Restore, preserve and reuse historic assets
  3. Preserve and improve the site’s ecology and habitat
  4. Create an implementation and operating plan that is financially feasible
The RFP requires the buildings to be redeveloped in a way that is compatible with the historic building, the park, and the surrounding community. The open and competitive selection process is based on a number of criteria, such as the overall quality of the proposal, experience in restoration and historic preservation, financial resources, and experience in high quality hospitality operations.  The RFP provides information on the property, outlines the response requirements, describes criteria for evaluating proposals for selection, and provides conditions assessments, cost estimates and other background material to assist in the preparation of a proposal.
The real property at Seaside State Park, together with all buildings, structures and permanent improvements is and will continue to be owned by the State.  The agreement with a private partner will grant rights to rehabilitate, operate, and manage the buildings and an agreed-upon leasehold area at Seaside State Park under a long term lease and contract, but will not convey any further rights or any title, estate or interest in any of the foregoing property.  The DEEP expects the land and water surrounding the leasehold will continue to function as a state park open to the public.
View the RFP at: Seaside State Park.
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