Moynihan: Town Has ‘Reached a Deal’ To Acquire Gulf Station Property


Gulf Station at 36 South Ave. in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

New Canaan’s highest elected official said during a recent debate that the town has “reached a deal” to purchase the Gulf Station property at South Avenue and Cherry Street.

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan during a July 18 pre-Republican Caucus debate said, “We’re working on a transaction—since there’s no press here—we’ve reached a deal to acquire the Gulf Station, to get the Gulf Station next to the library. That was a transaction people said couldn’t be done, and we have a deal to get it done.”

He spoke in response to a question put to Republican first selectman candidates regarding why they’re the best candidates for the town’s top job.

It wasn’t clear from Moynihan’s comments how far along the “deal” for the property is, whether its current owners are selling or what the town would do with the .31-acre parcel at 36 South Ave. 

It was purchased for $4.7 million three years ago, by a limited liability company whose principals include a Norwalk man, according to Connecticut Secretary of the State records. 

New Canaan Library owns the rest of the downtown block.

The prospect of the town buying the Gulf station first publicly emerged as a Board of Selectmen meeting in April. There, during a discussion about financing, Selectman Kathleen Corbet asked whether—should the town acquire the Gulf station property—the 1913 building still would need to be moved. (Library officials said yes, and they were right, that relocation is underway.)

It also is unclear, even if Moynihan pursues the acquisition, whether the full Board of Selectmen will approve it.

The prospect of the purchase emerged again at a selectmen meeting this month. Selectman Nick Williams appeared to refer to the potential acquisition of the Gulf station while questioning Moynihan on what kinds of real estate broker fees are paid out in town property deals. Moynihan said he would wait for a future meeting to discuss the matter. The selectmen are scheduled to meet Aug. 8. 

The full three-member Board of Selectmen is expected to turn over this year. Williams and Corbet each have announced that they’re not seeking re-election. Moynihan, seeking party backing for his own re-election bid, was defeated by GOP challenger Dionna Carlson at the July 25 Republican Caucus.

14 thoughts on “Moynihan: Town Has ‘Reached a Deal’ To Acquire Gulf Station Property

  1. Do I understand this right that the town of New Canaan will purchase a gas station for who knows how many millions and I presume facilitate its transfer to the TD Bank building (ironically that would put it next to the Chevrolet dealership in town at a time that GM appears to be set for all zero emission cars from 2035 and 2 food stores which appear to have plenty of opening hours, selection and lower prices than any mini-mart), purchase new offices for the BOE for some more millions, purchase another (tear down) home for a million next to the lumberyard, yet leave residents of town to individually deal with the implications of its complete mismanagement of the affordable housing issue? Based on my drive-by of the Library this evening it appears like the 1913 structure has found a new home – is it going to be moved again so we can tear down the gas station and make a bigger library lawn and we as in the town clean up the storage tanks which I am sure are onsite and assume whatever liability is associated? Absolutely nuts and no wonder people said this was a deal that couldn’t be done because it should not be done.

  2. Oh, great. So if New Canaan Gulf goes out of business then there will be only one gas station in town. It’s expensive to install tanks and pumps so once this one goes out, it is unlikely another one would open up in the future. Another autocratic deal by Moynihan.

  3. Naturally I think Dionna (As the likely replacement for Kevin) should weigh in on this. Another $5.0 mil with no stated use??? A “donation” to the library? Where is the plan? Where is the fiscal responsibility?

    • And Steve Karl should state his views as well (and head of the T/C and apparently sole candidate for 2nd Selectman) – if my understanding is right the deal includes moving the gas station next to his family business.

    • Actually, can we residents please hear from each of the incoming Board of Selectmen candidates: Dionna Carlson, Amy Murphy Carroll, and Steve Karl?

      How will we taxpayers benefit from this deal? Can you please share your perspective on proposed acquisition?

  4. It was obvious when the station was purchased for $4.7 million three years ago that the goal of the new owners was shaking down the town/library with a quick flip. The question is who are the owners and what are their connections to the town leaders potentially handing them a big payday? I say let them keep the station and earn a return on their investment pumping gas, fixing flats and selling snacks.

  5. New canaan needs a 2nd gas station – What happens when the other gas station is down for service? I don’t care if the gas staion is not on this conner however we do need a 2nd gas station. Plus what will be put on this peace of property?

  6. Does the town not have a lame duck session policy on not spending tons of $$ for mysterious, secret, shady projects? Can we?

  7. Which party will assume the liability for environmental contamination of the site and removal of the underground tanks? Remediation of such a property can be extremely costly should soil tests reveal that gas, oil and other petroleum products have leaked into the ground over the years. This is often the case with gas station sites due to underground tank leaks and spillage as customers fill their vehicles. More transparency of such a transaction should be made public so citizens can voice their concerns.

  8. Stay tuned for the announcement of the formation of the “Save the Historic Gulf Station Committee.” This venerable stone structure is truly part of our town’s fabric and complements the old library building.

    Papers are being drawn up to qualify the committee as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, making contributions to it tax deductible for many donors. As such, there should be more than adequate financial resources for the committee to fend off the acquisition of this cherished site by the developing real estate powerhouse known as the Town of New Canaan.

    We lost the Mead Park gas station-like building several years ago and don’t want history to repeat itself with the Gulf Station!

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