Crabtree site in Shelton, approved for large retail complex, may be sold

The owner of the former Crabtree car dealership on Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton may have found a buyer.

A large retail shopping center has been approved for the 12.5-acre site through the creation of a Planned Development District (PDD), but that approval requires a more detailed site plan be submitted by Feb. 11 of this year.

That deadline will not be met, so the owner — an entity involving the Blakeman family — requested a one-year extension, possibly to finalize the sale of the property to a new owner.

“The good news is that [the owner has] found a potential buyer,” Stephen R. Bellis, an attorney for the current owner, told the Planning and Zoning Commission {P&Z) on Tuesday.

Bellis said an extension is needed on submitting final plans because of “a concern there’s not enough time” to get that done by next month’s deadline, especially if a new owner is involved.

The P&Z unanimously approved extending the deadline for receiving final site plans to Feb. 11, 2016.

It is not uncommon for developers to seek deadlines on projects from land-use boards for various reasons, such as financing issues and real estate market shifts.

National tenant?

The possible sale by the Blakeman entity is dependent on the new owner securing “ a national tenant” for the site, Bellis said. “It’s all contingent on the national tenant moving into that [proposed shopping center],” he said.

The property is 405-407 Bridgeport Ave., at the corner with Nells Rock Road. It backs up to Buddington Road. The site once housed a sprawling auto dealership and now is mostly vacant.

Large retail complex approved

In 2011, the P&Z approved creating the PDD for the property. There had been opposition due to concerns about traffic, impact on nearby residential areas, having too much retail on Bridgeport Avenue, and other issues.

The concept plan calls for about 130,000 square feet of retail space and 660 parking spaces.

Based on the PDD approval, the original deadline for detailed or final site plan submission was February 2013, but the P&Z later agreed to a two-year extension until February 2015.