Polish Club site in downtown Shelton is being sold

This article on the Polish Club's future was written on June 24:
The Polish Club may be moving out of Shelton soon.

Angelo Melisi, who plans to build a combined retail and apartment complex downtown, is expected to close on the club property sometime this week.

“They signed the contracts an hour ago,” Melisi said on late Tuesday. A formal real estate closing was expected to follow within a few days.

“It’s been a long road,” said Melisi, who now should be able to expand a project on the abutting site he owns to include the Polish Club property.

'Coming to a conclusion'

“The Polish Club issue is finally coming to a conclusion,” said Melisi, who first tried to purchase the property about seven years ago.

This, however, will not be the end of the Kazimir Pulaski Club, the official name of the entity known to most as ‘”the Polish Club.”

Melisi has helped broker a deal for the Pulaski Club to move across the river to Derby, purchasing a facility now operated as Over the Hill Tavern on Hawkins Street.

The Polish Club should be able to open at the new Derby location fairly quickly — perhaps within 30 days — because it already is a bar and restaurant, Melisi said.

John Liptak, Polish Club president, said he preferred not to comment when reached on Tuesday evening.

Club history

The Kazimir Pulaski Club datesto the 1930s or so, and the building may have been built in the 1880s.

Before becoming the Pulaski Club, parts of the structure appear to have been used as a railway station, tobacco/liquor store, blacksmith shop, market, inn, restaurant, plumbing shop, and hardware store.

Liptak has said it’s important that the Kazimir Pulaski Club continue as an organization. “For the namesake, I’d like for us to be relocated and carry on the name,” he said in the past.

Casimir Pulaski (the more common spelling of the first name is with a “C” and “s”) was a Polish nobleman and military hero who fought on the American side during the Revolutionary War. He is credited with reforming the American cavalry and also with saving George Washington’s life during a 1777 battle.

Pulaski was killed in the United States during a 1779 battle against the British.

Buys another downtown parcel

Also in the past few weeks, Melisi has purchased the Schaible property on Howe Avenue at Center Street, which includes Dunkin’ Donuts, adjoining retail space and offices, and a rear parking lot.

He plans no immediate changes to this new property, which has a number of long-standing tenants. “I want all the tenants to stay,” he said.

This means Melisi will own most of the half block bordered by Howe Avenue, Center Street, West Canal Street, and Bridge Street. “I have all four corners,” he said. The overall holdings are about an acre in size.

Melisi does not own the former Downtown Danny O’s building, which houses Bricks & Barley Tavern and upper-floor apartments. It is owned by members of the Orazietti family.

He has no current interest in purchasing this other building, Melisi said.

Demolition and reusing

Melisi is taking steps to take down the Polish Club building once he’s the owner. He’s now researching how much of the building material can be salvaged — such as bricks, wood, granite and bluestone.

He is using the word “dismantle” to describe what he plans to do with the building.

He said most of the material in the building may be reusable in some way. “There’s a lot of material there,” he said. “The brick is beautiful once it’s cleaned up. It’s historical. It’s also an environmental way of doing things.”

Melisi expects to submit a detailed zoning application for his new retail and apartment building — covering his current lot plus the Polish Club parcel — in the next week or two.

He has hired an architect, engineer and attorney to assist him on the project, which involves a large new structure.

Melisi said owning the Schaible property will allow him to create tie-ins with the new project, such as possible outdoor stairs to connect the existing rear parking lot with the new project site. He said the new building may have a restaurant.

“It’s a win-win,” he said of buying the Schaible site. “It increases the value of both. It just made sense.”

Melisi said people should begin to see activity soon on the Polish Club property. “We’re going to start right away,” he said. “You’ll see lots of changes. I am looking forward to being able to get going on this.”