The Groton Board of Selectmen had the Tarbell School Purchase and Sale listed as an agenda item for its 6:30 p.m. pre-Town Meeting Monday board meeting. According to several selectmen, Michael Rasumssen, the principle partner in the group seeking to purchase the Tarbell building, was unable to attend the board meeting on April 28, so the discussion has been postponed to the first BoS meeting after Town Meeting concludes, tentatively scheduled for May 12. — Ed.
Recent articles in the papers on the Prescott School sale refer to Robin Kane as the primary person involved in the current Purchase and Sale agreement outstanding on Tarbell School. My understanding, based on various sources of information, is that the proposal to purchase the Tarbell School came from a partnership put together to support Robin Kane’s Country Kids daycare center in its move to Tarbell School. Apparently, Robin is the junior partner. The intention was to renovate Tarbell to the (exceedingly high) building code standards for a school or daycare center, with Country Kids being the primary tenant in the building.
Unfortunately, Robin’s lease with Rivercourt, where Country Kids was then located, expired. Rivercourt wanted to use the space for expansion, so they said that Robin could stay on as a tenant-at-will with a 50% rent increase – talk about sending a message! Nice people…. Robin couldn’t afford to stay at Rivercourt, Tarbell was a year away from being ready to move Country Kids into, and if she shut down a daycare center with 70 children and more than 20 staff members for a year, it would be very difficult to start up again…. Fortunately, with the help of the Selectmen, she was able to find new quarters in the former Anytime Fitness building at Mill Run Plaza.
By this time, the senior partners had spent some serious money in architectural and engineering studies for the renovation of Tarbell. It should be mentioned, that while the building code requirements made the project expensive by most people’s standards – fire sprinkler system, etc. – the partners were prepared to invest over $750K in the project. To put this into perspective, we are told that Gregg Yanchenko expects to invest $1.7 million to renovate the Prescott School. The reason for Tarbell’s current state of limbo has nothing to do with the cost of the planned renovations and everything to do with Rivercourt’s actions, since finding another tenant like Country Kids is extremely unlikely.
As I understand it, Robin Kane no longer has any interest in Tarbell, but her senior partners would like to recoup their architectural fee investment, by completing the purchase of Tarbell from the Town and then selling it to some other party – “flipping” it, in the somewhat derogatory term that Selectman Peter Cunningham used. And while it may be the Selectmen’s legal option to rescind the P&S agreement, to suggest, as one of the Selectmen did, that the partners might “amicably” agree to this is akin to the tasteless and insulting “advice” to relax and enjoy being raped. More to the point would be to hope that the partners would be willing to eat many thousands of dollars of architect’s fees without resorting to suing the Town for breach of contract. Or perhaps the Town could purchase the architectural studies from the partners at cost…