Full speed ahead for The Station

The former train station on Water Street in Naugatuck. -RA ARCHIVE
The former train station on Water Street in Naugatuck. -RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — A proposal to turn the former train station on Water Street into a casual dining restaurant has scooped up the last of the necessary land use approvals.

The Zoning Commission approved the site plan for the restaurant Feb. 17 and the Water Pollution Control Authority approved a special permit application for the restaurant the following night.

Carlos Santos, an attorney with the Naugatuck-based Fitzpatrick Mariano Santos & Sousa law firm, plans to develop a restaurant called “The Station” at the building with Jim Perzhilla, owner of Spartan II Pizza Restaurant & Lounge in Southington.

In November, the Zoning Commission approved a zone change for the property, which was originally split into two industrial zones I-1 and I-2, to a business zone of B-1. This rezoning allowed the property to be used as a restaurant.

In December, the commission granted Perzhilla and Santos a variance for a patio and outdoor seating.

Santos and Perzhilla can start pulling building permits and renovating the building. Construction will be ongoing while liquor permits are pending.

Santos anticipates being open by late summer.

“We are committed to making The Station a restaurant that Naugatuck will be proud to call its own,” Santos said.

According to attorney Michael McVerry, who represented Perzhilla and Santos during the Zoning Commission meeting last week, the restaurant will have seating for 288 people, including 68 on the patio and 10 at the bar.

McVerry said the patio was important because Perzhilla and Santos are not allowed to make any significant changes to the train station building, as per the contract with the borough.

“What we wanted to do, based on the historic significance of the building and the fact that we can’t add onto it, was look at something that maintained the symmetry of the design,” McVerry said.

Perzhilla and Santos have offered to purchase the building for $300,000. They plan to put $60,000 down and pay the remaining $240,000 in installments over four years, according to their proposal. They also plan to put $502,500 worth of upgrades into the building to turn it into a restaurant.

Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation CEO and President Ron Pugliese said last week the sale of the building hasn’t been officially completed yet but is expected to be finished soon. Once the closing occurs, he added, it will put a property back on the tax rolls that has been owned by the borough for more than 20 years.

“It’s not just a good thing, it’s an unbelievably great thing,” Pugliese said. “It’s this iconic building and turning into what will be a successful and well-received restaurant.”

Borough Attorney Ned Fitzpatrick told the commission last week the restaurant will be a good fit for the borough, especially in conjunction with the development of Parcel C, the vacant lot at the corner of Water and Maple streets.

“It’s a perfect development for this [site]. This is what we are looking for in the town,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Republican-American contributed to this article.