Lauretti talking to possible buyer of large city property

Mayor Mark Lauretti said discussions are ongoing with a potential buyer for the city-owned Mas property, a 66-acre parcel that is the key to extending Constitution Boulevard from Bridgeport Avenue to Shelton Avenue (Route 108).

“I can’t divulge too much on it, but my goal is to get that road completed,” Lauretti said.

The Board of Aldermen recently voted to allow Lauretti to negotiate a tentative deal to sell the property, subject to the aldermen’s final approval.

Constructing a road would be costly

A key is to find a developer who has the financial ability to make a project happen, including perhaps paying to construct the road — or part of the road — and make related infrastructure improvements.

“We have to make sure we get the right person,” Lauretti said.

It has been estimated a road could cost from $5 million to $8 million, although no one is certain what the exact cost might be.

Financial wherewithal

Lauretti said he is speaking to someone and an initial agreement with a purchaser could happen this year.

He said there aren’t many developers “out there in this economy with the wherewithal” to pursue such a large undertaking.

Mixed use?

Lauretti indicated he is open to mixed-use development on the Mas property, not just corporate development. “It will probably be a mixed use,” he said.

When asked, he said this potentially might include some combination of residential, office, light manufacturing, and retail.

The Mas property — named after a previous owner and acquired by the city after the late 1980s real estate market collapse — is zoned as a Planned Development District.

New connection

The goal is to have the new road go from Bridgeport Avenue, near the current intersection with Constitution Boulevard South and Route 8’s Exit 13, to intersect with Nells Rock Road close to Shelton Avenue.

This would create a new connection between two main roads, and likely lead to less through traffic on Nells Rock Road, which is hilly and curvy in some locations.

The part of Shelton Avenue near Nells Rock Road is close to the high school, intermediate school, police station, and EMS headquarters.

There has been talk for decades of extending Constitution Boulevard in this area.

Making it happen

The former Mas property extends about halfway from Bridgeport Avenue to Shelton Avenue, on the eastern side. The land is heavily wooded with a few small ponds.

The property 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.

Lauretti said the city has secured the needed rights-of-way to get a new road from the Mas property to Shelton Avenue, on the western side.

Connecting with Bridgeport Avenue

'The city or developer would still need to acquire two small, land-locked parcels near Bridgeport Avenue so the new road could connect to Bridgeport Avenue.

It’s also believed the new part of Constitution Boulevard would start on Bridgeport Avenue slightly north (toward downtown) of where the current Constitution Boulevard South is located.

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