By Connie O'Connor
The Town of Westfield plans to buy the historic Welch's building a centerpiece of the community's business district. At a special Friday meeting of the Westfield Town Board on Nov. 8, board members passed a resolution authorizing the issuance of $380,000 in bonds to purchase the old Welch's headquarters building. If the purchase is made, the town intends to recruit more tenants for the building and, in the longer term, will probably re-sell the building.
Pictured above is the Welch’s building, which is to be purchased by the Town of Westfield. According to the board, $380,000 in bonds will be used in the purchase of the historic building.
The Westfield Development Corporation will assist the town in recruiting tenants and/or possible buyers for the building. Some space in the building is currently leased to National Grape, a farmer's cooperative, and a portion is leased to Welch's, but much more space is available in the building. Current leases have a remaining term of six years. The projected rental income from current tenants will be more than sufficient to pay debt service on the bonds.
Reached for comment on the potential purchase, Town Supervisor Martha Bills stated that a committee comprised of Town Board members as well as interested citizens had met several times over the past month, studying the issue and generally exercising due diligence on the purchase, which included a physical inspection of the building.
The Committee reached the conclusion that the town's best interests were served by ensuring the continued operation of this unique and historically significant building. Bills commented that the building is truly a cornerstone of the community.
While plans are not absolutely certain, it is very probable that the town will purchase the building prior to the end of the calendar year.