City of Shelton takes ownership of key downtown parcel

The city has taken ownership of the Chromium Process Co. property between Canal and West Canal streets, considered an important parcel in downtown revitalization efforts.

“We own it,” Mayor Mark Lauretti said Wednesday. The city acquired the property through foreclosure earlier this week, Lauretti said.

The Chromium Process plant is an old, large brick structure with multiple windows and delivery doors. Some have considered the building an eyesore, particularly due to its visibility from Center Street and the Farmers Market Building.

The company's plant was no longer in operation and, in the past, has been a source of industrial environmental concerns. More recently, graffiti and broken windows have been a common sight on the outside of the building.

“It’s a blight and has been a drag on downtown and economic development,” Lauretti said.

Connects Canal Street with downtown

Some officials working to revitalize downtown have said the property — almost one acre in size — is key to connecting the development activity taking place on Canal Street with the central business district.

Some have said it would be an ideal place for new municipal parking.

During the past day or two, city workers have boarded up some windows at the Chromium Process building and taken out some fixtures.

Lauretti said they also have removed a large piece of plating equipment that now belongs to the state because of a lien related to a state grant given to the Chromium Process Co.

The property

According to the Shelton assessor’s office, the Chromium Process Co. property consists of two parcels.

The building is on a 0.61-acre lot at 113 Canal St. that is assessed at $268,590. An adjoining vacant lot, with no street address, is 0.3 acres and assessed at $15,750.

The old industrial site will be cleaned up

Lauretti said constructing a parking lot is one of the ideas for the land. “It will be cleaned up, but exactly what happens will be part of the overall downtown master plan,” he said.

The city is following a general plan to redevelop the Canal Street area, with two residential projects having taken place in recent years — the 103-unit Birmingham on the River condominium complex and the 250-unit Avalon Shelton apartment complex.

Developer John Guedes, who did the Birmingham project, now has a plan in the conceptual stage to develop the Sponge X and Rolfite properties on Canal Street.

‘Comes with liabilities’

Lauretti said the Chromium Process Co. property does have environmental issues. “There’s no question it comes with liabilities,” he said.

Still, the mayor said the city is the best entity “to remedy the situation” and put the land to productive use in future.