NAUGATUCK — Saint Mary’s Hospital will be the main tenant of the proposed medical office building to be built downtown.
“We have been serving the Naugatuck areas for some time and have been grateful to serve their medical needs for over 100 years. We’re excited to be able to continue to expand our ambulatory footprint here in Naugatuck,” said Saint Mary’s President and CEO Chad Wable flanked by borough officials Thursday at the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation’s headquarters.
Saint Mary’s will be the anchor tenant in a 25,000- to 30,000-square-foot medical office planned for Parcel C, the vacant lot 2.1-acre lot on the corner of Maple and Water streets.
Developers Robert Oris of Oris Inc. and John Lombard of Lombard Group have been granted exclusive rights to develop the property.
“This is a special moment for me because I am born and bred in Naugatuck,” said Oris during the announcement. “I can tell you I am very happy and excited to be involved in a partnership with the borough as well as Saint Mary’s Hospital to kick off downtown redevelopment with the building of this state-of-the-art medical office facility that we’ll see on the corner of Maple Street.”
Wable said Saint Mary’s will provide ambulatory care at the new office. Ambulatory care is anything that isn’t provided in a hospital setting, including physician office practices, physical therapy, urgent care, walk-in care, and all other types of outpatient services.
Wable said the hospital has not made any decision as to whether the new offices will replace the urgent care facility currently located in the Crosse Point Plaza on New Haven Road.
“We view this as an opportunity to expand our services and expand our footprint,” Wable said. “We’re here to serve the health care needs, so it’s most important that the citizenry of Naugatuck help us understand what services need to be there and we stand ready to provide to services.”
The plan for Parcel C also calls for a 5,000-square-foot retail building, which will most likely be a sit-down restaurant. Oris said he and Lombard have been in talks with potential clients for that space, but do not have any commitments yet.
The development of Parcel C is the first downtown redevelopment plan to materialize since the contract with developer Alexius Conroy for the $710 million Renaissance Place project expired two years ago. Saint Mary’s was in discussions with Conroy to be a part of Renaissance Place before the project faltered.
“The Renaissance Place initiative didn’t come to where we hoped it would be, but the amount of work and energy that was put in by a lot of people to make that happen wasn’t lost. We have a new era and we have new players in the game, which is a good thing. Now to have Saint Mary’s come and build what we’ve been thinking about for Parcel C for a long time … is a good thing,” NEDC Chairman Jay Carlson said.
Mayor Robert Mezzo said the development of Parcel C comes after 20 years of planning for what downtown will look like after factories, such as Uniroyal, moved out.
Both Mezzo and NEDC CEO Ron Pugliese called the announcement a big day for Naugatuck.
“We believe this presents an exciting end of this year, but, more importantly, a beginning of what we’ve talked about here of transit-oriented, high-quality development here in the Borough of Naugatuck,” Mezzo said.
Construction of the building is expected to begin in late spring and take approximately 18 months to complete, Oris said.
“We are working through the design phase of what the building will look like and we’re going to be working with the hospital to do their space planning relative to this facility,” Oris said. “I think 18 months from the time we begin is a reasonable timeframe. Obviously you can never guarantee what the weather does to you at different times throughout the year, but I think that’s a reasonable timeframe.”