Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Utopia Studios Dead (Again)

I often can't remember whether Utopia Studios is dead or alive. Apparently, it's dead again:
The Preston Board of Selectmen terminated a development agreement today with Utopia Studios of New York, which proposed the $1.6 billion project including movie studios, a climate-controlled theme park, hotels and an arts school on the former Norwich Hospital property.

Preston officials said Utopia failed to meet numerous deadlines, particularly for a payment of more than $56 million.

Utopia Studios says they're good for the money. They swear, they put it in the mailbox yesterday. Seriously, the Town of Preston should check their mail right now. Utopia Stuidos bets it's in there.

I think at this point that Preston is absolutely right to walk away from this one and never look back. It was a nice opportunity, but it always seemed too good to be true.

"Preston Pulls Plug On Massive Project." Associated Press 22 November, 2006.


Anonymous said...

Also from The Day:

At a special meeting Wednesday, the advisory committee’s eight voting members unanimously voted to recommend that the selectmen vote to terminate the development agreement.

The selectmen then convened and did just that, citing Utopia’s failure to meet the Monday deadline as well as the developer’s failure to disclose Gentile’s involvement in lawsuits in New York that allege that Gentile and a partner misused construction money and attempted to disenfranchise minority members in a condominium project.

Eddie said...

I had my doubts about the whole project, on several levels, but I respect the way Robert Congdon and the people in Preston tried to make this thing work. Finally, the Thames Valley can (and has to) walk away from Gentile and never look back.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised at all- From what a friend at the meetings told me they didn't even have the funds to do a proper presentation.

Real back of the envelope stuff.

Mirror said...

This all reminds me of the movie "The Music Man" complete with c class actors. Why, Why did no one, including the newspapers, do any due diligence on this creature Gentile. One look, even at a photograph, and I have a strong instinct to check if I still have my wallet. Detectives, forensic accountants, etc are a lot cheaper than the last three wasted years of nonsense and greed. That property has to be developed to a "higest and best use" that will provide growth jobs and help pay the increasing bills in Connecticut. Pie in the sky amusment parks due neither.

Seymour Butz said...

Why does everyhting have to be developed? If we didn't rely on the property tax so much we aouldn't be destroying our open space while creating more demand for energy that we don't have at a decent price.

Anonymous said...

"Why does everyhting have to be developed?"

Have you actually driven by the old Norwich Hospital?

Imagine acres of old brick buildings falling apart in front of your eyes.. what an eyesore the place has become.