Naugatuck May Purchase Downtown Industrial Property

Saying the General DataComm. property at 6 Rubber Ave. is key to the future of downtown revitalization, the Naugatuck Economic Development Corp. recommends Naugatuck purchase the property.


The Renaissance Place downtown revitalization project is a distant memory, but Naugatuck officials still have dreams of making downtown a better place to live, work and play.

And on Monday, the Naugatuck Economic Development Corp. took what it believes is a major step toward making that dream a reality. The NEDC voted unanimously to recommend that the borough acquire the General DataComm. property at 6 Rubber Ave. Officials would not reveal how much they would offer for the property, saying they are still in negotiations with the owners. Any formal action to purchase the property requires approval from the Board of Mayor and Burgesses. 

In a resolution recommending the acquisition, NEDC members said the property, which consists of two land tracts known as Parcels A and B, is “key to the future revitalization of downtown Naugatuck and the redefinition of Naugatuck as a regional center.” To this point, officials have released no plans for reuse of the property.

“By purchasing the GDC property, the borough drastically increases its control over our destiny in downtown Naugatuck,” Mayor Bob Mezzo wrote on his blog Monday. "...While there is disappointment that Renaissance Place did not come to fruition, the borough’s acquisition of the GDC property is a game-changer for the future of Naugatuck’s urban core.”

The GDC property includes a more than 400,000-square-foot building on roughly 10 acres. The listed sale price is $12 million, according to Showcase.com, an industrial and commercial realty site; the property is appraised at $8 million, according to Naugatuck land records. However, the borough is not expected to spend anywhere near either of those amounts, though officials are being mum on the details because of ongoing negotiations. 

The GDC property was supposed to be the focal point for the original first phase of the Renaissance Place project, a $710 million downtown revitalization plan. That public and private partnership was supposed to be completed in four phases over several years and was anticipated to bring thousands of construction jobs, hundreds of on-site jobs and millions of dollars in annual net tax revenue. The GDC property was supposed to become home to shopping centers, a movie theater, upscale condominiums, office space and other amenities. 

On his blog, Mezzo states that Renaissance Place developer Alexius Conroy made various offers on the downtown property but was never able to strike a deal with GDC, a communications technology company that has operated at 6 Rubber Ave. since the departure of Uniroyal Rubber in the 1980s. Acquisition of that property was crucial to the success of the Renaissance Place project, and without a deal, the project floundered. Conroy tried to reshift his focus to developing other downtown parcels in the first phase, but those plans also fell through.

Finally, last month, after more than five years of planning, the borough and Conroy split ties, agreeing to release each other from their respective obligations as spelled out in a development agreement for Renaissance Place.

Even while Conroy was still involved, borough officials say they were approached by Atlas Partners, LLC, a third-party creditor for GDC. In the fall of 2011, Atlas Partners reached out to Naugatuck officials about a possible deal to buy the property, Mezzo said.

“While conversations initially focused upon the possibility of Conroy Development purchasing the GDC property, they ultimately shifted to the borough as the buyer when a deal could not be reached" (with Conroy), Mezzo’s blog states.

In that blog, Mezzo also discusses the complexities of reuse of the GDC property, including underground contamination from years of industrial use that likely needs to be cleaned before construction can begin. 

“It is unlikely the economics of redeveloping the site would work for any private developer, without financial assistance to remediate the property from the public sector,” Mezzo wrote. “In essence, the property will likely never redevelop to any productive use without the borough’s investment.”

Read Mezzo’s full blog post here.

Bruce October 23, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Can't complain. It's a needed step to shape Naugatuck into whatever it is to become. Hopefully can do something imaginative to it and not quite as pipe dreamy as Renaissance Place was.
fish October 23, 2012 at 03:04 AM
"the property will likely never redevelop to any productive use without the borough’s investment.” Why is that? If the private sector won't touch it even with a ten foot pole,why would us tax payers? If the town could afford 10 million for real estate renovations.why can't they afford a property tax cut for us residents.Im confused is this one of those deals where we spend money to lose money.And how do you plan to buy the land when there's no plan for it........?
Grumpy Guy October 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Cant see the sense in the town buying a likely contaminated property at ANY price. Once its bought it becomes a money pit to get remediation done. My taxes are more than high enough already. Where would the money come from anyway? All we keep hearing is that there's no extra money to be found anywhere in the budget and they had to go penny-pinching just a couple years ago to "find" money to get shifted into the BOE budget when that dept was looking at a very large shortfall. Correct me if I'm wrong but I havent seen any armored cars dropping off bags of cash at town hall lately.
SuperDave October 23, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Great. Another black hole like Parcel C. How can anyone even think of this? I can see if it had a plan or purpose. I would back this if someone would do something first with Parcel C. For that matter, kick the historical society museum out of the train station and sell that to a restaurant, or some other retail purpose. We keep giving up useful properties to non profit enterprises. That needs to stop.
Geoff October 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM
My taxes are too high now! Almost $7000 for a home in Naugatuck? Ridiculous. No money in the budget for anything, no tax break for homeowners, no trying to get commercial business back into town to help the homeowners taxes. ANd now they want to buy a money pit downtown? Coming into town from Rt 8 all you see is the geese on Parcel C. Horrible sight. How about getting someting done there first?
Vox Populi October 23, 2012 at 12:33 PM
I would suggest everyone read the Mayor's blog which puts this development in a better perspective. It appears we are paying for the environmental sins of our grandparents and great grandparents. Much as our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be paying off our finanacial sins demonstrated by the national debt that we are running up today.
boyscout October 23, 2012 at 01:48 PM
My question is does it cost more to clean the property than the property is really worth? We need to stop with these dreams that naugatuck downtown is going to be this mecca for new businesses and a place to work and play.The town keeps feeding us with these hopes and dreams without any solid plans for growth,Why don't they renovate our tax code first and set us up to grow.We already have alot of empty space downtown.End the pipe dream,wake up and focus on us!
Paul Singley October 23, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Hello Vox. I linked out to the mayor's blog so people could read more about his opinion.
Andrew Hanson October 23, 2012 at 02:26 PM
How is it that we allow companies to have contaminated property and they are not forced to clean it themselves? Why do towns & taxpayers have to foot the bill all the time? Where's the previous owner's responsibility? Make them clean it. We're getting stuck again!
Ronald J Merancy October 23, 2012 at 05:38 PM
How much "past due" taxes are owed on this property? Paul, I beleive you can access that information, no? regards, Ron
citizen October 23, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I think it's worth a shot. Anything to get the town going
Anonymous October 23, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I remember when we were going to "build" our way out of our economic troubles when this eyesore was put up. Put another 5 wal-marts on this site and we should be all set.
Vox Populi October 23, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Anonymous - This eyesore was built in 1952 when the GDC parking lot and all of Parcel C ( including where the PO is today) was populated by some 30+ active Uniroyal buildings. The eyesore was the sneaker warehouse. What economic troubles were we having back then?
Mr Mike October 24, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I am tied of hearing all these great plans Past, Present and Future to spend money Naugatuck does not have, resulting in tax increase or special assesments when we pay way too high a tax already for which we get very little.Who ever is coming up with all these suggestions needs to check out the state of the economy and try reducing taxes and spending instead.
hi lewis October 30, 2012 at 08:03 AM
It is another scam. There is great corruption now. Follow the money!
hi lewis October 30, 2012 at 08:08 AM
Another naugatick valley scam. Whose paying for this brownfield? The taxpayer, that's who ..
Jerry Kuchyt August 13, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Just watch they will acquire it out of the taxpayer's pocket then demolish it out of the taxpayer's money and it will sit as an empty lot for decades unless someone finally takes notice of naugatuck and his or hers views of the future create an economic stimulus and economic development boom, unlikely but maybe someday not on the track its going now there must be drastic changes in politics and taxes before the economy can stop being suffocated and allow to grow.


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