Seymour-based Thule expands operations to Shelton site

The building at 710 Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton has sold in a deal worth more than $26 million.

The building at 710 Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton has sold in a deal worth more than $26 million.

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

SHELTON — Thule Inc., known worldwide for its outdoor and transportation products, is expanding into space at 710 Bridgeport Ave.

Thule presently occupies space in Seymour. Company Facilities Manager Stewart Semararo said the move to the remaining space in the building that is presently occupied by PerkinElmer and Panolam Industries International is needed to handle the business’ continued growth.

“We looked at several locations in Shelton, and this one caught our eye,” Semararo told the Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting Tuesday.

The commission approved the new tenant, which will occupy space that was intended to house Bronx, N.Y.-based Gary Plastic Packaging Corp. That company recently backed out of plans to move into the building.

Thule Inc. will occupy 127,883 square feet of the 452,414 square feet of space at 710 Bridgeport Ave. The company intends to conduct manufacturing, office and warehouse and distribution operations there.

In this location, Semararo said there will be two shifts, with workers on-site from 7 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., 5 days per week, plus Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. A total of 60 employees will work at the site. First shift will consist of 50 employees, and the second shift will be 10 employees total.

Plans call for 100 parking spaces on the property to be allotted to Thule employees.

Thule will use six dock doors located at the south corner of the building. The site will have 15 tractor trailers coming and going between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week, according to plans.

Traffic will consist of shipping containers being delivered, dropped off to unload, and tractor trailers being loaded with outgoing products, Semararo said. Truckers will be instructed to enter and exit at the southwestern driveway off Bridgeport Avenue.

This is the latest move on the site. The current plans from the property owner, AA Shelton, LLC, call for a Planned Development District approval for the property, with the goal of constructing three separate buildings.

The application calls for construction of one 17,680-square-foot building for light industrial, office or warehouse uses on a 4.5-acre section at the rear of the site. The other two buildings would house restaurants and be located on eight acres in the front of the property. One building would be 8,000 square feet, the other one 4,000 square feet with a drive thru.

The application states that additional parking for the existing uses will be constructed near the office and light industrial uses.

According to the application, “The development can be performed in phases and the property divided into separate parcels provided reciprocal easements for access and utilities and maintenance agreements for the entire parcel are in place.”

The application further states that the parcel could be subdivided to create separate ownership of the proposed use areas, subject to the approval of a subdivision plan.

This move comes after the commission denied a zone change request last year for the property that would have allowed the construction of 272 apartments.

That plan had called for four buildings and 272 units with 10 percent of the units, 27 total, listed as affordable housing. The structure where PerkinElmer is located was to remain, with the four buildings built in the current parking area.

The commission cited concerns about the project’s density, with residential and industrial uses mixed on the site, and an increased traffic burden on Bridgeport Avenue.

The proposed development of two apartment buildings would have been inconsistent with the city’s Plan of Conservation and Development and, if approved, would hurt ongoing downtown development, the commissioners said.

It was in February that, with commission approval, Gary Plastic Packaging Corp. announced it would move its operations from Bronx, N.Y., to occupy 207,000 square feet of the structure for manufacturing, office, warehouse and distribution services. That company has since pulled out of that move.