Road extension could clear the way for major Shelton development

Photo of Brian Gioiele
The intersection of Shelton Avenue (Route 108) and Constitution Boulevard South in Shelton, Conn. April 14, 2021.

The intersection of Shelton Avenue (Route 108) and Constitution Boulevard South in Shelton, Conn. April 14, 2021.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

SHELTON — The city’s plans for improvements to Cots Street and Blacks Hill Road could open the door to a project that’s been on the drawing board for decades.

The Planning and Zoning Commission, at its meeting last week, offered a positive 8-24 referral for regrading and other improvements to Cots Street and Blacks Hill Road. The decision clears the way for the extension of Constitution Boulevard North to Cots Street.

The referral now goes to the Board of Aldermen for approval before work can begin.

“Constitution Boulevard North will intersect this road in the near future,” P&Z administrator Alex Rossetti said about the need for the road work. Extending Constitution Boulevard is necessary for proposed development of the city-owned Mas property.

Mayor Mark Lauretti earlier this year presented concepts for developing the nearly 70-acre parcel near Bridgeport Avenue, with plans that included extending Constitution Boulevard to reach Shelton Avenue/Route 108.

The Mas property extends about halfway to Route 108 from Bridgeport Avenue, and the city has secured the rights-of-way for the rest, he said.

The Mas property was a first Planned Development District in the 1980s, but the designation has expired. Lauretti said a new zone change request would call for the property to move to light industrial or another similar zone. Much of the land is currently zoned residential.

Lauretti has stated there is significant interest in the site from high profile national companies. One major manufacturer, which he declined to name due to the ongoing negotiations, is seeking a 270,000-square-foot building on the property, the mayor added.

While negotiating with that company, Lauretti said he has since been approached by two other companies that are eyeing 100,000-square-foot buildings.

In 1988, the P&Z approved a Planned Development District for most of the Mas property that included four 10-story office buildings and 82-units of residential condominiums.

That project collapsed in the real estate crash of the late 1980s. The lead development entity was Citytrust, a Bridgeport-based bank that no longer exists.

The city bought the land from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. after it went into foreclosure and got an adjoining smaller parcel from the FDIC once environmental remediation was completed.

The property is now vacant. It is mostly wooded with considerable stone ledges and several ponds, including one that is about 600 feet long and 250 to 300 feet wide. Part of the land abuts the back of the Perry Hill School property.

Preliminary plans on the city website show an extended roadway with seven separate lots, one of which is 10.6 acres of designated open space. Each of the remaining lots has one structure on it. 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 separate structure.

Constitutional Boulevard North would extend northerly, terminating at Shelton Avenue/Route 108 where it intersects with Nells Rock Road, according to Lauretti.

Lauretti said the road work would cost between $10 and $12 million. He said he plans to seek state and federal highway funding to cover roadway development.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com