Developers present picture of project

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Developer Robert Oris presents preliminary architectural drawings of a project for Parcel C to the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation Monday night. –LUKE MARSHALL
Developer Robert Oris presents preliminary architectural drawings of a project for Parcel C to the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation Monday night. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Borough officials got a look at what the future of Parcel C could hold Monday night.

Developers Robert Oris of Oris Inc. and John Lombard of Lombard Group presented preliminary architectural drawings to the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation and the Board of Mayor and Burgesses for a medical office complex and a retail/restaurant facility they plan to build on Parcel C, the vacant lot at the corner of Maple and Water streets.

The presentation was given in separate meetings. Both boards voted unanimously in favor of the project, which will now have to go through the land use approval process. If everything goes as planned, construction is expected to start in the spring.

“We’re all excited. We’re ecstatic, quite honestly. We’ve all been talking about getting a shovel in the ground for many years,” Burgess Robert Neth said. “Once that shovel goes in the ground the energy is going to get crazy.”

Oris said the medical office building will be three stories and approximately 30,000 square feet. The first and second stories are approximately 11,000 square feet and the third story is approximately 7,500 square feet, Oris said.

Oris said at this point St. Mary’s Hospital has committed to filling half of the building. Oris said they are being selective about who to bring into the building, but expect that by the time construction begins it will be fully leased.

“We could fill this building now, but it may not be the right mix of tenants. We want to make sure they feed off of each other and bring the type of services the community deserves,” Oris said.

The second building will be approximately 5,100 square feet. Lombard said he and Oris are currently in talks with Starbucks Coffee to take about 2,000 square feet of that building.

Both of the buildings are moved up to sit along the edge of Maple Street, with parking behind them. Oris said this was done in order to keep in concert with the area since the buildings on the other side of Maple Street are the same way.

“We wanted to make sure we brought the two buildings up to the road to be in keeping with what downtown redevelopment looks like. Aesthetically it is more pleasing. You don’t see a sea of parking in front of the facilities,” Oris said.

Oris said there will be two points of ingress and egress. One will be at Maple Street across from Old Firehouse Road and the other will be on Water Street near the post office.

The plan does call for two drive-throughs, one for the proposed Starbucks Coffee and one for a proposed bank in the medical building.

Oris said he has heard concerns that a fast food chain would be part of the project. He said that is not the case.

“As you can see from these aesthetics, there will certainly not be a fast food operated on this site because these aesthetics will not suit themselves to that. These will be higher-end users,” Oris said.

Lombard said he and Oris have been working to ensure the buildings are designed at high standards and will attract higher-end clients to fill them.

“Depending on how we finish this, and if we keep our standards high enough, we will attract a higher-quality tenant,” Lombard said. “Whatever you do, if you keep your standards high you will attract someone who is going to pay more rent, who will want to be here, and who will want to join in on this type of thing.”

Lombard and Oris want to keep their standards high because they feel this project is going to set the mold for the rest of development downtown.

“This is the lead way that’s going to change all of downtown. This is going to catch fire to anyone else who is going to come in,” Lombard said. “This is going to set the bar on rental rates. Rental rates are going to take a leap here and it’s going to carry forward to anything else that happens in town.”