NAUGATUCK — In the long term, borough officials are hoping the former General DataComm building on Rubber Avenue becomes the focal point for a transit-oriented development. In the short term, they are looking to use the building to bring a little more shopping to downtown Naugatuck.
The borough is considering using the first floor of the vacant building at 6 Rubber Ave. for an indoor flea market. Officials are seeking vendors who are interested in participating in the market.
Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the idea came about because the borough is trying to sell off the contents of the building.
“I felt that we have a great opportunity to get some revenue while we liquidate the contents of the building over next several years by inviting other vendors to come in,” Hess said.
The borough purchased the GDC property, which includes the building and adjacent parking lot, for $2 million in 2013. The plan, ultimately, is to turn the property, locally known as parcels A and B, into a transit-oriented development with housing and retail.
The borough is waiting for the state to complete improvements to the rail line and move the Naugatuck train station closer to the GDC building before it can redevelop the site. It will probably be a few years before the borough can sell the building, Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ron Pugliese said.
Pugliese said he’s confident the long-term goal to redevelop the site will happen, but it will take a few years to get everything ready.
“We want to use the building instead of it just sitting there,” Pugliese said. “I think it’d be a great opportunity for us.”
Recently the borough has allowed town departments, local nonprofits, and businesses to come into the building and buy items in there, such as desks and chairs.
Mayoral Aide Ed Carter said the borough doesn’t have a type of vendor in mind for the potential market.
“We’re not looking for anything specific. We are looking for people to come to us with their ideas,” Carter said.
Carter said the market will likely start out just on weekends, like most flea markets around the state. However, because it will be indoors, the market can be open regardless of the weather, he said. Vendors will also likely be able to leave their booths set up in the building when the market is closed, he added.
“We are hoping that it would be more of a permanent set up for people than outdoor flea markets,” Carter said.
The first floor of the building is 87,000 square feet, which will allow for a variety of vendors, including those selling automotive parts, Hess said. He added the market would also help to bring people downtown.
“I felt this would be a good opportunity to use this space while we liquidate the building. Also realizing it will be a destination for people to come and get exposed to our restaurants and stores in the downtown area,” Hess said.
Those interested in being a vendor or who want more information can contact Carter at 203-720-7208 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Constituent Aide Shelby Lineweber at 203-720-7011 or email@example.com.
The Republican-American contributed to this article.