Wetlands OK brings Shelton’s Mas land development one step closer

SHELTON — Extending Constitution Boulevard West is one step closer to fruition — and with it the development of the city-owned Mas property.

The Inland Wetlands Commission, in a 6-0 vote in a special meeting Thursday, approved the city’s permit application for extension of the roadway, with street construction occurring within regulated wetlands areas.

Extending the roadway and use of the Mas property has been on the table for years, but Mayor Mark Lauretti began the most recent push in April when he presented preliminary plans for creating the road leading into the city-owned land, which would be developed into a manufacturing corporate park.

Lauretti has stated that one major manufacturer — whose name he would not give because negotiations are ongoing — is seeking a 270,000-square-foot building on the property. Negotiations have been going on for about a year, and he said he hoped a deal could be struck within the coming days.

He said the plans remain in the initial stages, with proposals still needed to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the State Traffic Commission.

“We are working with the state on a grant for the road construction,” Lauretti said. “I have spoken to (Gov. Ned Lamont), and he said he’s onboard.”

Lauretti has stated that the road work would cost between $10 million and $12 million. Bids are out now, he said, and once those come in, he will have a better idea what the state will cover and what the city will pay. He said he expects a groundbreaking for the extension this spring.

The application approved by Inland Wetlands Thursday is for phase one roadway construction only, with a portion of Bridgeport Avenue to be widened along with intersection improvements. Portions of Cots Street and Blacks Hill Road will be also be reconstructed as part of this project.

This work also calls for the city to purchase 55 and 56 Blacks Hill Road, according to the application submitted to Inland Wetlands.

Plans on the city website show an extended roadway with seven separate lots, one of which is 10.6 acres of designated open space. 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.

The 70-acre parcel — known as the Mas property — sits near Bridgeport Avenue, and the roadway plans include extending Constitution Boulevard to reach Shelton Avenue/Route 108. Lauretti stated that a zone change would be needed, requiring plans to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission at some point.

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

The 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 after it went into foreclosure and got an adjoining small parcel once environmental remediation was completed.

That Planned Development District designation has since 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 zoned residential.

The Mas property is now vacant. It is mostly wooded with considerable stone ledges and several ponds, including one some 600 feet long and 250 to 300 feet wide, and lies between Bridgeport Avenue, Cots Street, Tisi Drive, Sunwood Condos on Nells Rock Road, Regent Drive, Walnut Avenue, and Kings Highway. Part of the land abuts the back of the Perry Hill School property.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com