By Michael Puffer, Republican-American
WATERBURY — City officials are working on a deal to bring an “environmentally clean” manufacturer to a roughly 150-acre property straddling the Waterbury-Naugatuck border, a development that would bring hundreds of employees to the area, Mayor Neil M. O’Leary said.
A single developer submitted a proposal by a deadline that had been set for April. O’Leary said he was pleased and relieved to get a call Jan. 7 confirming the developer’s continued interest in moving forward. He had worried the COVID-19 pandemic might prompt a change in plans.
South Main Street runs along the property’s western border, while the Naugatuck Industrial Park is on its southern side.
O’Leary said he’s hopeful to have a letter of intent to purchase the property signed by the end of March. At that point, O’Leary said, he’d be able to announce the specifics of the deal and end user. He said he couldn’t reveal the name of the company yet because the company still needs to announce to its employees that it will be occupying a facility in Waterbury.
“It’s a big deal on a piece of property that has just been sitting for decades and decades and nobody could get it to the finish line, so I’m particularly proud of it,” O’Leary said.
In the past, there have been proposals for a mall, a dog track and a casino at the city-owned site. These had been foiled by political opposition and the steep terrain between the property and South Main Street.
Development efforts hit a breakthrough in 2018 when O’Leary and Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess agreed to cooperate.
Now the plan is to push an access road out through the Naugatuck Industrial Park. The city and borough have agreed to evenly split taxes, while Waterbury would collect the proceeds from the sale of the land.
The administration of former Gov. Dannel Malloy came through with a $2.8 million grant to build a road and extend utilities into the site.