NAUGATUCK — The Board of Mayor and Burgesses on Tuesday authorized the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation to market the Metro-North railroad station at 195 Water St. for redevelopment.
“For years we’ve heard about, it would make a great place for a restaurant,” Mayor Robert Mezzo said, adding, “we’ve never heard that from restaurants.”
The NEDC earlier this year sent out a request for expression of interest in developing 15 acres of borough-owned land downtown. Mezzo said Monday the borough had received three formal proposals and several informal responses to consider, but nothing that included the train station.
“This would allow us to singularly market that property,” Mezzo said.
The NEDC could work with a commercial real estate broker to put the building on the market, Mezzo said. It could be listed in one or multiple places, he said.
The borough took ownership of the 12,000-square-foot building on approximately 2 acres in the 1990s, Mezzo said. It has stucco walls, a gable roof and is home to the NEDC and the Naugatuck Historical Society. The land and building are appraised at about $951,000.
Borough officials are planning to move the historical society to the Tuttle Building on Church Street, where the Board of Education is currently headquartered, in 2015 when the school system’s offices move into the newly renovated Naugatuck High School. The Tuttle building has a deed restriction that prevents it from being used for commercial purposes.
The borough is in the process of completing an environmental assessment of the train station with a grant from the state Department of Economic and Community Development, Mezzo said.
“Nothing’s been discovered yet that would serve as a major obstacle to developing that parcel,” Mezzo said.
No decision has been made regarding where the NEDC’s offices would be located, but they occupy a relatively small space and could conceivably also move to the Tuttle building, Mezzo said.
The NEDC expected to receive downtown development proposals that included the train station property, but the organization is not too worried that the building will end up vacant, Mezzo said.
“There’s excitement for a potential opportunity,” he said.