Successes, setbacks mark past year for NEDC
NAUGATUCK — The borough has had its share of economic development successes and set backs in the past year, but it continues to look towards the future.
That was the message during the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation’s annual meeting Tuesday.
“We’ve accomplished much. We’ve had some disappointments,” NEDC Chairman Jay Carlson said.
Carlson said the biggest disappointment of the year was the end of the five-year Renaissance Place project without any ground being broken. Carlson said that Alex Conroy, who was the developer behind Renaissance Place, found himself in difficult economic times which kept him from moving forward with the project.
“That is an unfortunate thing, but at the same time it is giving us, the community, a chance to move in different directions,” Conroy said. “Through the course of time we, as a community, have done a tremendous amount to get ourselves ready for whatever is next coming down the line.”
Carlson pointed out that clean-up is finished on Parcel C, at the corner of Maple and Water streets, and remedial action plans for the train station and the General DataComm property are done.
“We’ve got a very good handle when it comes to what we’re facing when it comes to future development and redevelopment,” Carlson said.
Carlson explained that, even though Renaissance Place no longer exists, the town is still moving in the direction of the creating a transit-based, mixed-use development downtown.
“Downtown Naugatuck will be redeveloped and it will be redeveloped in the fashion we have all envisioned for a number of years, and we will figure out how to make that happen,” Carlson said. “There are things that are going on at the [General DataComm] property that may make that easier for us going forward. Having control of our destiny is a good thing.”
The borough is currently pursuing buying the General DataComm property.
NEDC CEO David Prendergast also spoke to the successes that the borough and the NEDC have had over the past year.
“NEDC has had successes this year that should have long-term benefits for new business investment and job creation,” Prendergast said.
Prendergast cited the acquisition of grants and the complete environmental assessment of land that which may become part of the downtown redevelopment.
Prendergast added that businesses in the borough have been opening or expanding.
“This year’s projects include over 82,000 square feet of new construction, renovation, or new lease space in the Naugatuck Industrial Park. When we include other commercial and industrial developments, we are well over 100,000 square feet,” Prendergast said.
Some of that development was done by companies that were in the Enterprise Zone, Prendergast explained.
“I do want to point out that we certified five Enterprise Zone eligible companies this year. I don’t know where that places us in the state of Connecticut, but I know the full state of Connecticut had about 52 or 53. So we’re close to 10 percent of the whole state,” Prendergast said.
MJM Marga, a manufacturer created from the merger of companies in Oakville and Bethany, built and moved into a facility of nearly 20,000 square feet on Raytkwich Road in the industrial park, Prendergast said.
Electric Cable Compounds, another nearby manufacturer, completed a 20,000-square-foot addition.
YoFarm, the yogurt company whose offices were destroyed in a massive fire last year, added nearly 6,000 square feet to its new corporate headquarters on Sheridan Drive in the industrial park, Prendergast said.
Anomatic Corp., which specializes in precision metal stamping, expanded the property it leases at 50 Rado Drive by nearly 13,000 square feet, adding 17 jobs.
Flabeg Technical Glass, formerly the Naugatuck Glass Co., on the corner of Route 63 and Route 68, moved its auto glass division to the borough from Pittsburgh, adding 60 jobs, Prendergast said.
Prendergast said that new zoning regulations have been passed that allow lots in the industrial park to be subdivided down to two-acre lots. This will allow more businesses to move in to the borough, he said.
Robert Santy, president and CEO of the Connecticut Economic Resource Center and the evening’s guest speaker, was impressed with how well the borough and the NEDC were doing this year.
“You guys are doing great. I listened to that report and there is a lot going on in this town. I’m not sure there are many other towns that could give an economic development report like that,” Santy said.
Prendergast said he looks forward to the NEDC and borough’s continued progress in the future.
“We will continue the great working partnership with the borough of Naugatuck to bring new development and jobs to our community,” Prendergast said
The Republican America contributed to this article.