Borough mulling offer for former school

Naugatuck officials say they are in discussions with someone who may be interested in purchasing the Prospect Street School building. The building is currently vacant. –RA ARCHIVE

Naugatuck officials say they are in discussions with someone who may be interested in purchasing the Prospect Street School building. The building is currently vacant. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — Someone has offered to purchase the vacant Prospect Street School building, but that person’s name is not being revealed by local officials.

Officials said they don’t want to reveal the name of the potential buyer until a deal has been finalized for fear of harming negotiations.

“We’ve got an on offer on the table but it’s not something we’re in love with at this point,” said Ron Pugliese, CEO of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation. “We plan to bring it to our borough attorney and make a counter offer.”

The borough has been searching for a buyer for the 41,000-square-foot school for the past year. The building used to house elementary-aged children until the Board of Education shuttered it following a restructuring of schools about three years ago. The borough, which owns all of the school buildings, decided to put Prospect Street School on the market last year for $900,000.

In August, it appeared Naugatuck had a bona-fide offer from a potential buyer: ICES Inc., a human services company that operates out of a former manufacturing building in Naugatuck’s downtown, was looking to expand into the Prospect Street School building, located at 100 Prospect St.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses agreed to refer the ICES offer of $800,000 to the Planning Commission, which must approve a reuse of the property. However, months later that deal fizzled.

Pugliese said it is possible that ICES could still end up being the buyer, but officials are not banking on it.

“We are actively showing that building and will continue to until we have a deal,” he said.

Mayor Robert Mezzo said the borough won’t settle on just any offer. He does not want to see a residential development in that building, and he said the occupant must add to the tax base.

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