Bond Commission approves money for Renaissance Place

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The state Bond Commission approved $500,000 for the planning and designing of a 500-space parking garage to be built on Parcel C. FILE PHOTO
HARTFORD — Naugatuck’s Renaissance Place project received an infusion of cash from the state to help move forward on the construction of a parking garage on Parcel C.

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced on Friday that the state Bond Commission approved a grant of $500,000 to assist with the architectural and engineering design services for the parking garage.

“This project will result in an overall reshaping of downtown Naugatuck, creating a vision that will spur revitalization, growth and job creation,” Malloy said, in a prepared statement. “This funding will help the project move forward so that it can accomplish these important development goals.”

A parking garage is the first part of phase one of the development and it’s needed for a planned Saint Mary’s medical complex to be built downtown.

“It’s a very important part of Renaissance Place. Essentially, our development agreement calls for us to provide the infrastructure to support the redevelopment and for our developer, Alex Conroy, to create the job-creating and tax revenue generating portion of it, which in this case would be the medical offices. … The ratio of public to private investment is about three to one so we’ve been very grateful in working with the state, the Department of Economic and Community Development, to get this as far as it has to the Bond Commission. We’re grateful to Gov. Malloy for putting it on the agenda this month. We’ve been working on it an awful long time to get this to this stage,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said.

As part of the agreement with the Conroy Development Company, the borough is responsible for the garage. The garage is a $10 million project and will hold 500 spaces.

Mezzo said one of the conditions of the agreement would be that the town won’t build the garage without the medical center.

The medical facility will need 300 spaces and the state Department of Transportation is discussing getting 200 spaces to support the Metro North Train line, Mezzo said. The town currently leases 75 spaces to the DOT at the train station on Water Street. The transportation department did a study of the line and anticipates increased ridership, he said.

“We’ve had discussions with them that not only do we think people would ride the train more if they had better accommodations in terms of more times to take the train to and from, but with Renaissance, there is eventually the residential component of that that will add a market for people to use that train,” Mezzo said.

With the money in hand, Mezzo said the next step is to finalize the assistance proposal with the Department of Economic and Community Development and then to solicit qualified candidates to perform the planning and design of that parking structure.

“This is happening simultaneously with the design of the medical facility as well. One of these can’t happen without the other,” Mezzo said.

The news about the funding was music to the ears of members of Naugatuck’s state delegation.

“This is good news for the people of Naugatuck,” said David Labriola (R-131), in a written statement. “It will pave the way for the promise of Renaissance Place to become a reality.”

State Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) and state Sen. Joan V. Hartley (D-Waterbury) expressed gratitude for the Governor’s office approving the money.

“This is a huge step toward redeveloping and revitalizing Naugatuck’s downtown and I want to thank the Governor’s office for recognizing the true potential of this project. … I also want to thank St. Mary’s Hospital for their patience and willingness to reinvest in Naugatuck,” Rebimbas said, in a prepared release.

Hartley said, in a prepared release, “I am grateful to Gov. Malloy and the Bond Commission for recognizing the significance of continued economic development projects for central business district in Naugatuck. It is critical we provide safe and secure parking for the Naugatuck train station.”

Renaissance Place will be a green, mixed-use, transit oriented development encompassing 60 acres along the Naugatuck River that is expected to create thousands of new construction and support jobs in addition to the creation of new permanent jobs.

“Final approval for this funding is yet another example of good progress underway toward completion of the downtown redevelopment project, to the benefit of all Naugatuck residents and those from neighboring towns,” state Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D-Woodbridge) said, in a prepared release. “It’s important to note how the collaborative effort of the Naugatuck legislative delegation and Mayor Robert Mezzo and his administration led to this funding plan.”

Laraine Weschler contributed to this article.