Melisi prepares downtown Shelton site for retail and apartment project

Angelo Melisi has leveled his vacant lot at Howe Avenue and Bridge Street in anticipation of pursuing a long-awaited retail and apartment building at the main intersection in downtown Shelton.

Construction equipment was used to eliminate the hill on Melisi’s property, readying it for future construction activities. “I’m preparing the site for development,” Melisi said.

Melisi said his project’s engineer and architect are meeting with city officials to go over details before a site plan application is submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which could happen as soon as July.

His team also is touching base with utility companies on requirements to build on the property. “We’re going to finalize the plans soon,” he said.

When digging up and regrading his property, Melisi said workers found the remnants of three foundations as well as old piping and granite stones. He may reuse some of the granite in the new project.

The Melisi site is known to many longtime Shelton residents as Kyle’s Corner, based on a previous structure on the property. Buildings were likely first erected there in the early or mid 1800s due to its proximity to the Housatonic River.

Polish Club deal in the works

Melisi said he’s also close to reaching a deal to purchase the abutting Kazimir Pulaski Club building, which would allow him to enlarge the project site as it was originally envisioned when zoning approval was received a number of years ago.

“I’ve been talking to them a lot,” he said, and this includes in-person meetings with the club’s board members.

The building that houses the Kazimir Pulaski Club — better known as the “Polish Club” — is in disrepair and parts of the structure have been condemned as “unsafe” by city building officials. The portion occupied by the club itself still is considered safe.

Melisi has said he wants to buy the Polish Club building, but it’s unclear if Polish Club members are willing to sell the site.

Mayor Mark Lauretti has said the city could step in to buy the club building in order to facilitate development of the site, whether that should involve Melisi or not.

Offer on table for club property

Melisi said he has offered a specific price to the Polish Club to purchase their building, given them a 1% purchase deposit, and provided them with a possible sales contract.

He also is willing to help find them a new location for the club, which essentially is a members-only drinking establishment. “I made a formal offer through their attorney,” he said.

Melisi said the Polish Club needs to review his offer and its own appraisal of the land, and then take a vote among its membership on whether to accept his offer. “We’re making a lot of progress,” Melisi said.

He’s confident his project will move forward, and that could be with or without the Polish Club parcel being part of the overall development site. “We’ll be moving forward in some way,” Melisi said.

Lauretti is eagerly watching to see what happens with the property. He’s expressed frustration at the lack of any actual construction.

“We’re going to make something happen there,” Lauretti said. “I can’t sit around and lose the economic cycle because of obstructionists. Nothing has happened for six years.”