NAUGATUCK — After years of waiting, the borough last week closed on the sale of Parcel C to developers John Lombard and Robert Oris.
According to Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ron Pugliese, Lombard and Oris paid the full sale price for the land, $150,000, at the time of the closing.
The closing has been in the works for several years.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses entered into a contract with Oris and Lombard in July 2014. Under the contract, the two developers had the right to build on the 2.1-acre property on the corner of Maple and Water streets and an option to purchase it.
The original plans for the property called for a three-story 30,000-square-foot medical building and a 5,000-square-foot restaurant to be built on the land.
In December 2014, Lombard and Oris announced that Saint Mary’s Hospital would be the main tenant at the proposed medical center.
At the time, the two developers expected to break ground as soon as the weather turned nice. However, by late summer of 2015 the property still sat vacant and untouched.
Environmental remediation held up the progress, and the work was done by February 2016.
The plan for the medical center was then submitted to the Zoning Commission. Over the next several months, the commission went back and forth with Lombard and Oris regarding the use of drivet, a stucco-like material, on most of the exterior of the building. The commission requested the building be constructed out of brick to match the other historical buildings downtown.
Last June, the commission approved a plan for the building that included brick on the first two floors and drivet on the top floor.
Progress remained stalled as officials waited on approvals from the state, and Lombard and Oris had discussions in executive session with borough officials about potentially changing the plan. No changes were ever submitted.
A plan for the building submitted to the land use office in March shows the entire building will be brick. No plans have been submitted so far for the second building proposed on the land.
A message left with Lombard was not returned as of this post. Oris could not be reached for comment.
Pugliese was pleased to finally complete the closing.
“I think it’s a great accomplishment on a very difficult project. We had a lot of challenges,” Pugliese said. “I can’t tell you how excited I am. I think it is great for the town.”
Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the closing shows that the revitalization of downtown is indeed moving forward.
“I think it is a good psychological boost for the naysayers who say things can never get done,” Hess said.
Pugliese said construction can begin once the building permits are in place. He expects the groundbreaking to occur soon.
While Pugliese and Hess are pleased about the closing, they pointed out it is just one of many projects the borough is working on.
“I look at it in the totality of the entire town,” Hess said. “The people before me, especially Ron, the NEDC, and Mayor (Robert) Mezzo, should get the credit for Parcel C. I’m focused on parcels A and B, Uniroyal, General DataComm, and about 25 new projects that will really help us bring back our tax base and reduce the mill rate.”