Developers hope to break ground before winter

A sign at the corner of Maple and Water streets in Naugatuck proclaims a new building will be coming to the site, known locally as Parcel C, soon. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — A large sign on the corner of the vacant Parcel C in downtown shows a drawing of the proposed building and announces, in all capital letters, that it will be coming soon.

According to developers John Lombard and Rob Oris, construction of the building shown on the sign will begin before winter.

The Zoning Commission in July gave its blessing to plans for a 34,923-square-foot, two-story building with medical offices, retail space and apartments to be built at the corner of Maple and Water streets, locally known as Parcel C.

The land is owned by developers Lombard and Oris, who are working under the name Heritage Downtown, LLC. They bought the land from the borough for $150,000.

When the revised plans received approval over the summer, Oris told the commission it would take about three weeks to draw up construction documents, and they wanted to move forward with the project as quickly as possible.

On Tuesday, Oris said they have been working on multiple pre-construction aspects of the project over the past few months, including testing the soil and finalizing the drawings.

“There is a lot of work that has to get done before you can start construction. We have been moving forward,” Oris said.

Oris expects to obtain a building permit for the project within the next 30 days, with construction expected to begin by late November or early December.

Oris said the first step will be pouring the concrete foundation.

“The reality is once you get into cold weather makes it more difficult to pour the concrete. We want to complete the foundation while we have decent weather,” Oris said.

Oris said the framing work of the building will continue throughout the winter.

Once it begins, construction of the building will signify the culmination of a project that has been years in the making.

Oris and Lombard began working with Naugatuck on Parcel C in 2014, and the original plan called for a three-story, nearly 30,000-square-foot building.

In May, shortly after closing on the property, Lombard and Oris brought new plans before the Zoning Commission that reduced the building from three stories to a mixture of two stories for the medical offices and one story for retail.

The commission rejected those plans, saying that the building would look too much like a strip mall. The plans the commission approved added apartments over the one-story retail section of the building.

Oris said the medical offices, which will be occupied by St. Mary’s Hospital, will be completed in seven to nine months after construction starts. The rest of the building will be completed within a year of the start of construction, he said.

Oris said there has been interest in the retail spaces, but nothing is set yet.

“The reality is that, because it took so long to get through the approval process, it will take the building starting construction before we finalize leases,” Oris said.

Oris said he and Lombard are excited about finally getting a shovel in the ground.

“We are looking forward to getting it started. It is certainly long overdue,” Oris said.

Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ronald Pugliese echoed Oris’ comments, saying the borough is looking forward to the start of construction.

“At some point we will have a building,” Pugliese said. “Has it taken a long time? Yes. But we will get it done.”