Work resumes on Shelton's Fountain Square development

SHELTON — Work on Fountain Square, - which has remained dormant for more than a year, is back underway.

The site’s developers, Fountain Square, LLC, recently announced that construction of the 710 Bridgeport Ave. property has resumed. The site, at the intersection with Parrott Drive, was formerly occupied by the United Illuminating Co.

“The developers of Fountain Square have secured all necessary funding and investors needed to complete the project,” the company said in a written statement. “The restart of construction has already commenced and should be in full swing over the next few weeks.”

This update on the site’s status comes as many residents have spent months questioning the development’s future in letters to the editor and social media posts.

In early 2020, prior to onset of the pandemic, Daniel Witkins, Sr., of DFW Building Co., who has been the construction manager for the Fountain Square project, said lease agreements were in place for about 70 percent of what will be the available space at the 19.1-acre site.

Since that point, little to no work has taken place on site, leaving residents clamoring for answers and asking why the city has not forced the issue.

The Fountain Square project was first presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission in 2017. The project was split into five phases, and final development plans for all phases were approved separately between 2018 and 2020.

Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Virginia Harger said some of the final development plans were also modified during that time due to tenant changes. After detailed development plans were approved, the plans were treated as an approved site plan, in accordance with city regulations, Harger said.

Harger said state statutes and city regulations give an applicant five years to complete construction from plan approval.

“If the applicant does not do so, the commission may invalidate its approval of detailed development plans,” Harger said.

That leaves a minimum of two years left for the Fountain Square project to be completed, Harger said. In addition, due to COVID-related executive orders issued by Gov. Ned Lamont, a 15-month grace period may be in effect.

“In view of the significant site improvements and building construction completed to date, it is very unlikely that the developers would have any intention of abandoning the project,” Harger said.

The original approval allowed for three restaurants, a pharmacy, bank, coffee shop, other retail, a small office building and a 123-room Marriott hotel. Since that time, there were changes in the list of tenants, headed by the addition of a Chick-fil-A.

In early 2020, along with Chick-fil-A, other tenants were to be Panera Bread, which will have a drive through; Jersey Mike’s Subs; Mission BBQ; DQ; The Goddard School; Pokemoto, along with an unnamed jewelry store, a hair salon, a Korean BBQ restaurant, a fitness operation and an Italian wood-fired tapas restaurant.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com