Lauretti: Bids in for Constitution Boulevard extension work in Shelton

SHELTON — Three firms have expressed interest in the plan to extend Constitution Boulevard West — with bids coming in between $4.5 million and nearly $10 million, according to Mayor Mark Lauretti.

Extending the roadway and use of the Mas property has been on the table for years, but Lauretti began the most recent push in April when he presented preliminary plans for creating the road leading into the city-owned land, which would be developed into a manufacturing corporate park.

Lauretti would not identify the three firms interested in the Mas property, saying only that two are Connecticut based. In the end, Lauretti said these companies could bring some 400 to 500 jobs to the city.

“Representatives from two of the three interested (companies) walked the land Tuesday,” said Lauretti, adding that once a contract finalized, the city and companies would submit a joint application to the Planning and Zoning Commission for development of the site.

Lauretti said he expects the cost to be some $5 million for the road work, which would allow for access into the 70-acre, city-owned Mas property. Lauretti said three “good sized” manufacturers are interested and deals with two could be struck soon.

According to the mayor, state leadership has agreed to cover $5 million.

“We’re ready to go,” Lauretti said. “I will be going to the state and ask that this be moved forward as quickly as possible.”

“We’ve been talking about this for 30 years … this is coming as no surprise to anybody,” Lauretti added. “This just continues the economic boom for the city under our leadership. Shelton is an employment hub in Connecticut, and the governor’s office and state leaders recognize that, that’s why we are able to get money for the road work.”

The Inland Wetlands Commission, at its meeting last month, approved the city’s permit application for extension of the roadway, with street construction occurring within regulated wetlands areas.

Lauretti has stated that one major manufacturer — whose name he would not give because negotiations are ongoing — is seeking a 270,000-square-foot building on the property. Negotiations have been going on for about a year, and he said he hoped a deal could be struck within the coming days.

He said the plans remain in the initial stages, with proposals still needed to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the State Traffic Commission.

“We are working with the state on a grant for the road construction,” Lauretti said. “I have spoken to (Gov. Ned Lamont), and he said he’s onboard.”

The application approved by Inland Wetlands Thursday is for phase one roadway construction only, with a portion of Bridgeport Avenue to be widened along with intersection improvements. Portions of Cots Street and Blacks Hill Road will also be reconstructed as part of this project.

This work also calls for the city to purchase 55 and 56 Blacks Hill Road, according to the application submitted to Inland Wetlands.

Plans on the city website show an extended roadway with seven separate lots, one of which is 10.6 acres of designated open space. In all, there is a 276,250-square-foot building, two 105,000-square-foot buildings, and two 34,250-square-foot buildings, along with related parking for each structure.

The 70-acre parcel — known as the Mas property — sits near Bridgeport Avenue, and the roadway plans include extending Constitution Boulevard to reach Shelton Avenue/Route 108. Lauretti stated that a zone change would be needed, requiring plans to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission at some point.

The Mas property is now vacant. It is mostly wooded with considerable stone ledges and several ponds, including one some 600 feet long and 250 to 300 feet wide, and lies between Bridgeport Avenue, Cots Street, Tisi Drive, Sunwood Condos on Nells Rock Road, Regent Drive, Walnut Avenue, and Kings Highway. Part of the land abuts the back of the Perry Hill School property.