Aldermen give OK to possibly sell city land for corporate park in Shelton

The Board of Aldermen has authorized Mayor Mark Lauretti to negotiate the possible sale of the city-owned Mas property to a private developer.

The aldermen unanimously approved the action at a meeting Thursday night. “The discussions are general in nature,” aldermanic President John F. Anglace told his colleagues.

The land is west of Bridgeport Avenue, and where Constitution Boulevard could potentially be extended to connect Bridgeport Avenue with Shelton Avenue (Route 108) near Shelton Intermediate School.

The property is considered an ideal spot for future corporate development, similar to the type of development that has taken place on Constitution Boulevard South during the past few decades.

Other properties in the mix

The 66-acre Mas property, named for a previous owner, extends about halfway from Bridgeport Avenue to Shelton Avenue and abuts Walnut Avenue and Kings Highway to the north (these roads are off Perry Hill Road/Meadow Street), and some condominium projects off Nells Rock Road to the south.

A developer would still need to acquire two smaller, land-locked properties near Bridgeport Avenue to create a corporate park area, and the city could play a role in securing those parcels for the developer in the future.

The city also owns a piece of land that connects to Bridgeport Avenue, which would be sold to a developer with the Mas property.

Many future approvals needed

As part of the negotiation phase, the city is expected to get an appraisal of the Mas property done and also investigate the cost of building an extension of Constitution Boulevard onto the property.

Anglace noted that any possible transaction and development would require various approvals from city agencies in the future, such as the Board of Aldermen and Planning and Zoning Commission.

“We have to start someplace,” he said of enabling the mayor to discuss the terms of a possible sale with a developer.

It’s likely any actual development of the property is still many years away. Among other issues, a new road would probably cost $5 to $10 million to build.

Exempt from regular process?

Alderman Jack Finn asked if the city had received a letter of interest from a private developer, noting that is a required step in the process of selling city property.

Finn was told the Mas property is exempt from the normal procedures for selling city land, based on prior action by the aldermen.

Lauretti has said a few developers have expressed interest in possibly buying the Mas property from the city.

“This is a deep-pocket developer, who has the financial wherewithal,” Lauretti has said of at least one of the interested parties.

Lauretti was not at last night’s Board of Aldermen meeting due to a recent death in his family.

City bought land two decades ago

The city purchased the Mas property from the FDIC in the early 1990s after the real estate collapse of the late 1980s ended private plans to develop it for commercial purposes.

The city became the owner of an adjoining five-acre parcel through the FDIC after environmental remediation work was done on it.

Access to an extended Constitution Boulevard off Bridgeport Avenue would be near the current intersection with Constitution Boulevard South (close to Route 8’s Exit 13), although it might have to be slightly north of that (toward downtown) due to where the property lines are located.

Blasting would be necessary to eliminate ledge near Bridgeport Avenue to build the road.

On the western side, a new section of Constitution Boulevard would likely intersect with Nells Rock Road just before Shelton Avenue.