Board grants option for GDC building

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Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo looks over an agreement with Art 6 LLC for the General DataComm building downtown Tuesday night. The Board of Mayor and Burgesses granted Art 6 a six-month option to develop and buy the property. –LUKE MARSHALL
Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo looks over an agreement with Art 6 LLC for the General DataComm building downtown Tuesday night. The Board of Mayor and Burgesses granted Art 6 a six-month option to develop and buy the property. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — The revitalization of the borough’s downtown took another step forward this week.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses Tuesday night unanimously granted Art 6 LLC a six-month option on the General DataComm building, 6 Rubber Ave., and 2.5 acres of land known as Parcel A. The option gives Art 6 exclusive rights to develop the property and an option to buy it.

The agreement does not cover the General DataComm parking lot, known as Parcel B.

The option to purchase the property under the agreement states the price will not exceed $2 million, which is subject to further negotiation. The borough purchased the property, which includes both Parcels A and B, for $2 million last year.

Joseph Migani, of the Seymour-based O’Riodan Migani Architects, is the man behind Art 6. He’s looking to renovate the building to have 96 studio-style apartments for artists on the third and fourth floors. His plan also calls for office space on the second floor and a mix of retail and parking for the first floor of the building.

“The board of has heard various aspects of this proposal within executive session. We’re looking forward to moving forward with the developer and exploring this in greater detail,” Mezzo said.

Mezzo said the agreement allows for site control by Art 6, which will be able to vet any proposals and seek out a variety of funding sources.

Migani will have to provide copies of all the documents and drawings related to the work and quarterly updates to the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation and the board, according to the agreement.

The agreement allows the borough to grant Art 6 two additional six-month extensions.
The NEDC favorably recommended the plan to the board.

“I’m not surprised the board supported the option agreement. There’s been a tremendous amount of cooperation and mutual respect between the NEDC board and the Board of Mayor and Burgesses,” Mezzo said.

Mezzo said there was not one specific thing about this proposal that made it stick out, but rather the fact that it was consistent with the vision of combining residential and retail the board has had for the downtown for many years.

“It would also put the focus of housing on artists’ lofts, which puts something into the market that doesn’t exist,” Mezzo said. “So it’s not something competing with something already here, but it adds a net new to the downtown experience.”

Mezzo said this project, along with the proposed medical building and restaurant on Parcel C at the corner of Maple and Water streets, will help drive foot traffic into the borough’s downtown and increase opportunities for existing businesses.

“We should all be excited we are seeing movement not only on Parcel A but more movement on Parcel C as that agreement continues to be pursued,” Mezzo said.

Although the board approved the agreement Migani will still need approvals from various commissions and departments as the project moves forward.

“There are still a lot of moving pieces to it but it’s another step in the process,” Mezzo said.