Borough closes on sale of former school

The former Prospect Street School in Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE
The former Prospect Street School in Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — The former Prospect Street School is about to take on a whole new life.

The borough and the Southington-based Format LLC closed on the sale of the property at 100 School St. last week.

Under the agreement, which was signed in May, Format will pay $300,000 for the property. Format paid $100,000 at the closing and will pay $50,000 a year for the next four years, according to the agreement.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the closing is a step in the right direction for Naugatuck.

“It adds a significant building to the grand list and it furthers our plan of economic development and growth,” Hess said.

Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation CEO and President Ron Pugliese said he was pleased with the closing, even though it took a while to finish.

“I’m very, very happy with the progress and I’m very exciting about the new development happening at Prospect Street School,” Pugliese said.

The 41,000-square-foot former school was built in 1953 and closed its doors as a school in 2012. The borough has had the building listed for sale for several years. It was originally listed at $900,000 and later reduced.

The plans for the building call for a fitness center, which will feature areas for cardio and areas for strength training, on the first floor and up to 18 residential apartments on the second floor. The apartments are planned to be either studio or one-bedroom apartments and would be between 400 and 600 square feet.

Mat Florian, the owner of Format, previously said that he would prefer to have all commercial in the building, but left the option of residential in case he did not find enough commercial tenants.

Florian was on vacation last week, according to representatives of Format, and could not be reached for comment. A message left with other company representatives seeking comment was not returned as of press time.

According to his company’s website, Florian has developed various projects in downtown Southington, including Geno’s Grille.

“He came very highly recommended. I have been very impressed with him and his work. I am thrilled to have him in Naugatuck,” Hess said.

The borough and Florian did hit a snag in July when it was discovered that the site used to contain an underground oil tank and soil remediation might have to take place. The borough agreed to pay half the cost of remediation up to $25,000. If the cost was over $25,000, the two sides would renegotiate the contract.

Although the number was not readily available, Hess said the cost would be under $25,000 and Florian would receive a credit on one of his future payments.

Pugliese said this closing marks the second of three closings the borough hopes to complete this year.

Naugatuck closed on the former train station, 195 Water Street, in March. The building, which housed the Naugatuck Historical Society, is expected to reopen before the end of the year as The Station, an Italian restaurant.

The borough is looking to close on the sale of Parcel C this year.

The vacant parcel, located on the corner of Maple Street and Water Street, is slated to become to site of two buildings: a 30,000-square-foot medical building and a 5,000-square-foot restaurant.

The medical building received approval from the Zoning Commission in June.

Pugliese said the process is being held up because the borough received state grant money for remediation work on the site and is waiting on releases from the Department of Economic and Community Development to go ahead with project.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this article.