AUBURN – An office building will replace old tenements and an abandoned Xtra Mart across the street from the Auburn Public Library.

Councilors agreed to move forward on a deal Monday to knock down the old convenience store and surrounding buildings – an old apartment and an abandoned single family home.

In exchange, developers will agree to build a 15,000-square-foot office building and pay the city back for its costs.

Economic Development Director Roland Miller said it was too early to name the developers.

“I’d like to be sure we have an agreement in place before we begin naming them,” Miller said.

Miller said the developers are agreeing to finish the office building within 18 months. They will lease the property from the city until they have filled all of the office spaces or until three years have passed.

“At that point, whichever happens first, they will purchase the property from the city and pay us back for our investments,” Miller said.

According to the agreement, developers must set aside financial collateral to pay the city back.

That was important to City Councilor Eric Samson.

“I just want to be sure the city will get its investment back,” he said.

The Xtra Mart building at 151 Court St. has been vacant for several years. Crews this summer tore down the store’s canopies and dug up the gasoline tanks in front. The building was owned by K Bros. LLC out of Southington, Conn. Company officials said in July that the building was being prepared for sale.

Miller said the deal includes the vacant apartment building behind the Xtra Mart on Spring Street, a single family home on Pleasant Street and parking lot across from the Baptist Church.

Miller said the city does not intend to take the land through condemnation.

“If the land owners are not willing to sell, the entire deal falls apart,” he said. “So far, they have all said they are willing.”

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