NAUGATUCK — The borough is considering three possible locations for a new industrial park that could be built within the next year or two.
A committee formed to explore potential locations met for the first time last week and decided to focus on land parcels all larger than 10 acres apiece at: property near 900 Prospect St. on the Naugatuck/Prospect line; a second off South Main Street in Waterbury near the Waterbury/Naugatuck line; and a third at 912 New Haven Road.
“While they are looking at those three parcels, I’ve encouraged everyone on the committee to scour the rest of the borough looking for industrial sites of larger than 10 acres that could be developed,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.
Building a second industrial park here was a stated objective in Hess’ campaign for mayor. While it has been discussed by officials for several years, this is the first time a mayor has organized a committee to look into potential locations. Hess was elected in November.
Currently, the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation fields two to three calls a week from potential investors looking to build businesses here, NEDC President and Chief Executive Officer Ron Pugliese said. However, he said, there are very few borough-owned buildings and flat land parcels to show the developers. He believes Naugatuck would have no problem filling a new industrial park.
Naugatuck’s current industrial park, off Union City Road, has three vacant lots and none of them are flat. They would require a significant amount of leveling work before someone could build upon them, officials say.
Burgess Laurie Taf Jackson, who is on the committee, said she believes Hess is moving in the right direction to focus on this initiative right away.
“I think it’s important to try to get some new businesses in town and to build the tax base,” she said. “It may take a while, but you have to start somewhere and the committee is moving forward.”
One of the locations that the committee is exploring is flat and has already been approved by land use boards as a planned design district, which allows owner James Warren to potentially develop the property for industrial condominiums. Warren, who operates Fulling Mills Development, owns the property in the 900 block of Prospect Street.
The second potential location is at 912 New Haven Road. It is owned by Matty’s Paving and Construction, whose chief executive officer is Patrick Graziano of Watertown.
And the third location is a piece of property that is largely in Naugatuck but is owned by the City of Waterbury. That property, near the base of the current Naugatuck Industrial Park and behind the new Veterans of Foreign Wars hall on South Main Street in Waterbury, has been discussed as a potential location for new commercial or industrial development for several years.
Hess said the borough is working with Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary to determine ways to develop the site.
Hess would not say which site he prefers but said he is confident the project can be built in the short term.
“In my mind, this is a project that I would like to see commence” in 2016, he said. “In a longer term and in a larger fashion, we’re looking hopefully toward the Uniroyal piece in the future. I look at this project that we’re talking about now as more of an immediate project that would be ready to go hopefully in a one-to-two-year time frame.”