NAUGATUCK — Contractors for Hershey finished demolishing the Peter Paul factory six months ago in a move to improve the market value of the 36 acres where the candy factory once stood. Yet the company apparently has come no closer to finding a buyer for the land on New Haven Road.
Hershey is asking for $9.5 million for the parcel, down from the $11.5 million it wanted in 2008, said David Prendergast, CEO of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corp. They might not get that price in this economy but can likely afford to hold out and wait for the economy to improve, Prendergast said.
“I think Hershey is in a financial position where this is a very small asset for them, in their world, so it’s not like they need to get rid of it for cash flow,” he said.
Prendergast said he is in contact with the real estate broker for the property, Matthew O’Hare of C.B. Richard Ellis in New Haven, but has not heard of any new interest in the property.
Hershey is still trying to market the property to developers who would build a big-box store and possibly one or two smaller retail establishments, such as restaurants, Prendergast said. It could be a long time before the sector improves enough to bring forth interested developers, he said.
“I think that retail is still very soft in this economic market,” Prendergast said. “I think it’s going to be, in my opinion, another year or two before we start seeing new retail expansion.”
Borough officials wanted to see an industrial company buy the abandoned factory building, but Hershey’s price was too high for local manufacturers or industrial investors.
Hershey will still have to pay about $45,000 in taxes on the building this year because it was still standing Oct. 1 when assets are tallied, Tax Assessor George Hlavacek said. The company will not receive a tax bill for the building starting next July, Hlavacek said, meaning lost revenue for the borough.
This year, the company has to pay nearly $86,000 in land taxes.