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Town is right to take its time investigating Lambert Kay bid

The long saga of the former Lambert Kay building, which started 15 years ago when residents at a town meeting approved its purchase of the building for $1, continues on into 2017.

The next chapter in the saga comes in the form of a bid submitted in early March for the building by Parker Benjamin Real Estate Services in Unionville.

It took several weeks for information on the bid to come out because, as Town Manager Robert Geiger said at the two Board of Selectmen meetings in March, he wanted to consult with Town Attorney Kevin Nelligan to review details of the bid.

While the schedule in the bid package itself indicates that the company wishes to purchase the building by May 1, an official special town meeting, which is required by the town’s charter to sell any town-owned buildings, has not been scheduled.

At the last selectmen’s meeting on Monday, April 3, Geiger said that he is still consulting with Nelligan about details of the project.

While some residents might be saying “Hurry up and sell it already!” Geiger, along with town officials, have every right to take their time to look over all of the details of the bid right down to the finest, minute details.

The bid package presented by the company, which was reviewed by The Winsted Journal, looks impressive.

Putting in shops, galleries, “Lifestyle Business Offices,” a coffee and tea shop, a low turnover restaurant and a brewery all sound like fine ideas.

However, back in 2014, many people thought that selling the building to Arizona company  XS4D Entertainment Gaming Holding Company LLC sounded like a fine idea.

The XS4D proposal

To refresh your memory: In June 2014 the company offered to purchase the building for $15,000 to create and manufacture “The Transcender Therapeutic Gaming Surround Sound Reclining Chair.”

A special town meeting was scheduled for July 2014 in order for residents to either approve or vote against the offer.

Right before the town meeting The Winsted Journal published an editorial entitled “Residents should approve plan for Lambert Kay with caution.”

We said that, while the town should approve the sale of the building because “there are no other immediate plans out there for the long dormant Lambert Kay building,” that there were plenty of holes in XS4D’s proposal.

Aside from whether or not a prototype of the chair was ever made, we also questioned if the company had a business plan.

We expected these questions, and others, to be answered at the July 2014 meeting.

Instead, right before the meeting started, then Mayor Marsha Sterling announced that the meeting was called off.

There were numerous and various reasons why the company’s plans fell through, some of them controversial, but the reasons are too long to explain in this editorial.

As for XS4D, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission’s website at www.ecorp.azcc.gov, the company’s owners filed an “article of termination” in July 2015.

Sadly, we never got to see what a “The Transcender Therapeutic Gaming Surround Sound Reclining Chair” looks like.

The Parker Benjamin proposal

In any case, the point is that the town should not have to be in a position ever again where they have to make a rush decision on Lambert Kay or any town property, despite the understandable impatience felt by residents over the building.

Any plan made by any potential investor should be thoroughly investigated, even if it takes several weeks to understand and get all of the details.

What would be nice is if the selectmen invite the company to make a presentation to residents at a feature meeting in order to review the proposal and allow residents to ask questions.

A presentation by the company would restore faith in those who are still sore from the XS4D debacle.

Also, back in our editorial in July 2014 concerning the XS4D deal, we wrote that “Residents should consider this as Lambert Kay’s last stand.”

There are only so many last stands any property or old factory building can have.

Before this 15-year saga turns into a 16-, 20-, 30- or 50-year saga, it’s more than time that the town finally does something with this building.

Let’s make 2017 the year when, looking back, we will remember that Winsted finally did something with Lambert Kay.