Anticipation builds for developments



A developer wants to spend $4 million on this property in downtown Naugatuck. He plans to build a residential and commercial project on the land. -RA ARCHIVE
A developer wants to spend $4 million on this property in downtown Naugatuck. He plans to build a residential and commercial project on the land. -RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — The borough is anxiously awaiting detailed site plans for three developments proposed for downtown.

Architectural renderings for redevelopment of the former train station on Water Street and developments on Parcels A, B and C should be making their way to Town Hall over the next few weeks, officials said.

So far, the public has learned several details about a medical facility and restaurant proposed for Parcel C — a vacant lot on the corner of Maple and Water streets — and a plan to renovate the train station building into a casual cuisine restaurant called “The Station.”

However, little is known publicly about developer Benjamin Zitron’s plan to build a large-scale residential and commercial development on Parcels A and B, the former industrial warehouse at 6 Rubber Ave. and its abutting 7-acre parking lot.

Mayor Robert Mezzo said he is excited to see renderings of the proposal, and he knows that is what the public wants, too.

“I think people tend to get more excited when they can see pictures and visualize the project,” he said.

Last week, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses agreed to enter into a contract with Zitron, who wants to spend $4 million on the abandoned, 320,000-square-foot former General DataComm, or GDC building and the parking lot. The plan calls for Zitron’s New Haven-based Sustainable Development Corp. to building 100,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet of commercial and/or retail space and between 250 and 350 residential units on parcels A and B.

The borough anticipates seeing retail, office space, market rate condominiums and apartments and parking on the land.

Zitron did not return messages seeking comment.

The big hurdle Naugatuck will have to overcome will be figuring out what environmental cleanup is necessary and how to do it, said Ron Pugliese, president and CEO of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corp. It has been estimated to cost at least $1 million, if not much more, though officials have no firm numbers.

“We’ve got to get some people in there to take a look and give us some real honest answers,” Pugliese said.

Currently, Naugatuck has $975,000 in grants for environmental cleanup. Pugliese anticipates receiving brownfields remediation grants from the state to clean the land.

“We’ve got to figure out how to remediate this, but we’ve got a plan, or at least the beginnings of a plan, that I think will work,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said, the borough will meet on Wednesday with developers John Lombard and Rob Oris, who want to build a 30,000-square-foot medical complex anchored by Saint Mary’s Hospital on Parcel C, and a 5,000-square-foot restaurant. They plan to see details of exactly what the project will look like that they plan to make public.

“These can be huge projects for Naugatuck,” Pugliese said. “Huge projects for the whole Valley, actually. It’s exciting.”