NAUGATUCK — Two area real estate developers are looking to build a medical complex and restaurant on a vacant downtown land tract known as Parcel C.
Robert Oris, a Naugatuck native who now lives in Cheshire, and John Lumbard are looking to make the plan a reality.
Tonight, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses will discuss the plan behind closed doors in executive session, and may vote on whether to give the developers a 180-day option to build on the land, as recommended by the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation.
The option means the property would come off the market for 180 days, giving the developers time to solidify plans.
Despite many proposals for development over the years, the 2.1-acre Parcel C land on the corner of Water and Maple streets has sat vacant since the mid-1980s.
It used to house factories for the U.S. Rubber Co., but those buildings were torn down decades ago as the factories shuttered.
Plans for other medical offices, a movie theater, a Walgreens and several other projects have come before borough officials, but none were built.
The parcel was supposed to be a focal point of the $710 million downtown revitalization project known as Renaissance Place that the borough focused on for the better part of the last 10 years.
After years of inactivity due, in part, to a shaky economy, the borough pulled the plug on that project almost two years ago. Now, officials are looking for something on a smaller scale to bring people downtown, create jobs and boost the tax base.
The borough plans to tear down a vacant former industrial building on Parcel C that has been an eyesore for several years. Building 25, as it is known, used to be an office complex for the U.S. Rubber Co.
Plans to save it over the years have failed, and the borough has allocated money to demolish it next month. That should make the property more marketable, officials say, and it may lead to development of a new road to connect to Old Firehouse Road.
Few details have been given about the Oris and Lumbard plan. Ron Pugliese, CEO of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation, said the developers are talking about a two-to-three-story medical facility and a free-standing 5,000-square-foot restaurant on the property. The restaurant would not have a drive-thru, officials said.
“I’m very happy about the fact that we’re making a start and that we have something concrete,” Pugliese said. “We’ve worked very hard to get something going on any one of the vacant parcels we have downtown, and this is a beginning which I’m very excited about.”
Mayor Robert Mezzo said the borough has been working on this proposal for the better part of a year. He said Naugatuck is actively seeking proposals for three land parcels downtown, including Parcel C.
Oris and Lumbard could not be reached for comment Monday.