Shelton developer moves to increase his downtown parking stock

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — With parking at a premium downtown, one developer has taken steps to increase his stock.

Angelo Melisi, owner and developer of Bridge Street Commons I and II, finalized the purchase Tuesday of the lot at the corner of Center Street and Howe Avenue, across the street from his newest development and home to Chaplin restaurant.

That lot was home to about a dozen spaces that had been leased by the city, but now it is roped off as Melisi prepares to create a private lot for patrons of Chaplin and employees of his retail tenants.

“I need parking for those in my buildings to be successful,” said Melisi, adding that he has had an agreement to purchase the lot from former owner Ralph Sylvester since 2018.

“There is not enough parking downtown. That’s it. And if the Chromium Process site is lost, it will only get worse,” Melisi said. “I am protecting myself here. This had to be done.”

Melisi said work on the lot will begin next week, with the plan calling for increasing the paved area to allow for 26 spaces as well as installation of an electronic gate and fencing.

Bridge Street Commons I, on the corner of Howe Avenue and Canal Street West, has 44 apartment units. Bridge Street Commons II, on the corner of Howe Avenue and Center Street, has 72 units and the popular Chaplin restaurant.

Melisi said that those patronizing Chaplin would receive a ticket which would be certified for exit from the lot. Tenants will get a code to use to enter and exit the lot.

Many on social media reacted with confusion about the lot being closed off, with many believing the city owned the lot. Melisi said he thought it was “common knowledge” that it was privately owned.

“The owner notified the city months ago (about the sale),” Melisi said.

Melisi added that he “felt bad” for surrounding businesses, specifically Porky’s Café, which sits across the street from the lot, which was used by those patronizing the longtime local establishment.

“I feel for them, but I must protect what I own,” Melisi said. “The city is not doing anything (about parking) and only making it worse with some of its decisions.”

Melisi said he is open to working on an agreement with the owners of Porky’s Café so they could have some use for the lot.

Melisi, who has invested millions of dollars in downtown redevelopment over the years, has been the most outspoken critic about what he calls the dearth of parking downtown.

He has stated he feels the situation will only worsen if the Planning and Zoning Commission approves the proposed construction of a mixed-use building on the former Chromium Process site, which is presently vacant and used for parking downtown.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com