Redesign of downtown Naugatuck excites developers

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Naugatuck Economic Development Corp. President Ronald Pugliese and Pennrose Regional Vice President Charlie Adams (middle and right) talk to Armando Paolino III of Advanced Energy Efficiencies at the NEDCs 19th annual meeting at the Naugatuck Event Center on October 20. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — Pennrose Regional Vice President Charlie Adams said the real estate development company’s “sweet spot” is working with a municipality on a shared vision and the transit-oriented development (TOD) project to transform downtown Naugatuck is one of them.

Back on July 21, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses chose Pennrose, a real estate development company with its headquarters in Philadelphia, and the Cloud Company, a Hartford-based firm, to develop 7.75 acres at the corner of Maple Street and Old Firehouse Road, also known as Parcel B.

Pennrose’s regional office in Boston would be working with the borough for the project.

The project will connect the existing downtown area to the TOD project on Parcel B. Parcel B adjoins the Waterbury Branch Line adjacent to the location of the new train platform to be relocated by the state Department of Transportation. The state DOT has allotted funding for the relocation of the Naugatuck train station from Water Street near The Station Restaurant to Parcel B. This also comes after improvements and expansion of service to the Waterbury branch line of the Metro-North Railroad have taken place.

Naugatuck Economic Development Corp. President Ronald Pugliese said he and many other people in the borough are excited for the project. Parcel B has been vacant for at least three decades, he added.

“Parcel B will change a piece of the unused property to a beautiful, beautiful transit-oriented development,” Pugliese said.

The NEDC is a quasi-public agency that oversees economic development efforts in the borough.

Another feature in the redesign will include the addition of retail and commercial buildings.

According to Adams, the buildings will have ground floor retail and units for renting.

Developers would also maintain Water Street as one means of entering and exiting the site. The road already partially runs parallel to the Waterbury Branch Line along Parcel B. Parking would still be included but it wouldn’t be the sole focus, Adams said.

“The idea is not to emphasis cars or parking,” Adams said. “It’s really to emphasize the buildings.”

Adams said one of the things developers tried is to not have the buildings be “cookie cutter” but to really form the buildings in ways that pull people into the site. The site will have over two acres be designated for open space. Buildings will be setback 10 to 20 feet from the sidewalk to create space and a courtyard in between buildings, he added.

“One of the things we really focused on with our landscape architect is wellness,” Adams said. “Really making it a place where there could be active recreation, some social recreation and passive recreation as well.”

Adams said the first thing developers tried to do is think about how they could make this a gateway into the community while thinking about some of the historic elements from an architectural perspective.

Plans and designs for Parcel B are still being worked out as the Land Use department hasn’t received any formal site plan applications for Parcel B.

“Naugatuck is doing very well in economic opportunities,” Pugliese said.