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State to release $24 million to help restore brownfield sites

Funds will help with the for assessing and remediating 41 blighted parcels of land.

HARTFORD, Conn. — The state will release nearly $25 million in funds to investigate and clean up 41 parcels of land in 16 towns with the goal of returning them to productive use.

Brownfields will be made green. Not just environmentally, but economically. The state is working with private developers to put blighted properties back on the tax rolls and to build more affordable housing.

The sites include open lots to old factory buildings across the state. Others include a former hotel and a dry cleaner. See the interactive map here.

The grant and loan funding is from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Brownfield Remediation and Development Program. Officials said the state assistance is expected to leverage approximately $625 million in private funding and will help in the investigation and clean-up of approximately 86 acres of land.

“If we remediate these properties now, we can turn an eyesore into an asset, revitalize neighborhoods, and transform otherwise unusable property into new space for businesses and residents," said Gov. Ned Lamont.

Meriden is one of the 16 communities where properties will be redeveloped. The Aeolian Organ and Music Factory on Tremont Street will be transformed into mixed-income housing.

“We have a project with 82 mixed-income apartments," property developer Dan Drazen told FOX61. "It’s going to be a $52 million investment.”

But before the blight becomes beautiful, the brownfields need to be made green again.

“It was subject to numerous solvents and contaminants over the years that we need to clean up,” said Drazen.

The project will also require the relocation of more than a dozen small businesses that currently occupy the old factory.

“We will be working right alongside Trinity Financial to help the businesses that are here right now relocate inside Meriden. We’d like to keep them all within our community,” explained Joseph Feest, the Director of Economic Development for Meriden.

In addition to boosting neighborhood property values, the investment will create more, much-needed affordable housing.

“We need more housing. Not only in Meriden but all over the state,” said State Rep. Hilda Santiago, a Democrat representing Meriden.

 The Meriden redevelopment also includes a facelift for the nearby little league ball field.

“This is going to be a catalyst that is going to spearhead development all across the North End of our city,” said Mayor Kevin Scarpati.

In the past 18 months, the state has released $17 million and $19 million for a combined total of 71 properties.

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The grants and loans announced today under this round include:

  • Ansonia: $990,000 grant for the abatement and remediation of the 2.84-acre former Farrel Corporation building located at 501 East Main Street and 65 Main Street. The adaptive reuse project by the property owner, Shaw Growth Venture, Inc., as per their redevelopment agreement with the City of Ansonia, envisions redevelopment of the existing buildings with a mix of approximately 200 affordable mixed-income residential and 20,000 square feet of commercial space.
  • Brookfield: $1,207,938 grant to remediate contaminated soil and to abate and demolish the former dry cleaning business located at 20 Station Road to enable the construction of a three-story affordable mixed-income apartment building by Brookfield Village Station Road, LLC.
  • Cheshire: $925,000 grant for remediation and abatement of Building #1 of the 3.02-acre, former Ball and Socket Manufacturing Co. property located at 493 West Main Street to ready the building for redevelopment.
  • Derby: $650,000 grant to remediate the 0.73-acre property located at 67-71 Minerva Street by the Connecticut Brownfield Land Bank, Inc. Plans by the developer, Cedar Village Minerva Square, LLC, are to demolish the building and construct a four-story, 90-unit mixed-income apartment building with ground-level parking.
  • Haddam: $1,500,000 grant to complete remediation of the 4.35-acre former Cutaway Harrow Company manufacturing complex property located at 300 Saybrook Road. Following remediation, plans are to construct medical and retail-related buildings along the street frontage.
  • Meriden: $1,490,000 grant to remediate and abate a 2.19-acre historic mill complex site, the former Aeolian Company, maker of player pianos, located at 85 Tremont Street. This will allow the creation of 82 units of mixed-income housing by Trinity Financials.
  • Meriden: $2,000,000 grant for cleanup and demolition activities is required prior to the site redevelopment of 116 Cook Avenue, the former home of the International Silver Company that was recently damaged in a fire. The city will be marketing the site for future redevelopment.
  • New Britain: $995,000 loan to WinnDevelopment Company LP for abatement of hazardous building materials and remediation of the 200,000 square foot underutilized mill structure at 321 Ellis Street, former home to Landers, Fray and Clark. The proposed redevelopment will convert the existing mill into 154 units of workspace and mixed-income housing.
  • New Haven: $2,000,000 grant for remediation and demolition of structures on 13 parcels of land across 7.6 acres at Dixwell Plaza (157-230 Dixwell Avenue) to enable redevelopment by ConnCORP. Phase 1 includes the construction of the headquarters for the Connecticut Center for the Arts and Technology, a healthcare clinic, a daycare facility, 184 units of mixed-income housing, a food hall, a grocery store and retail. Phase 2 will consist of a performing arts center, office buildings, and townhomes.
  • New Haven: $1,300,000 grant for remedial excavation activities at the 4.42-acre property located at 16 Miller Street. Plans are to construct 56 mixed-income rental apartments by West River Housing Company, LLC, including a clubhouse community center, meeting space, management offices, a coffee shop, interior parking, a playground, and a community gazebo.
  • New Haven: $985,000 grant for investigation and remediation activities at the former New England Linen Supply Company properties located at 149-169 Derby Avenue. The redevelopment by Monarch Apartment Homes, LLC will include 67 affordable housing units with a combination of one, two, and three bedrooms.
  • Norwalk: $2,000,000 grant to remediate a 4.97-acre, city-owned parking lot located at 55 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Redevelopment plans by Quarterra (formerly LMC), include approximately 472 affordable mixed-income apartment units, 57,786 square feet of retail space, and 25,000 square feet of office space. In addition, plans include a pedestrian-only alley lined with restaurants, cafes, and shops.
  • Putnam: $2,000,000 grant to remediate the former Belding Masonry Mill complex, a 1.85-acre site located at 107 Providence Street. Redevelopment plans by Camden Management Partners, Inc., include a mixed-use development with 120 affordable mixed-income residential units and 5,000 square feet of commercial office and recreational space.
  • Rocky Hill: $999,000 grant for remediation and demolition of all structures on the site of the former Ames Corporate Headquarters located at 2418 Main Street and One Dividend Road. Redevelopment plans by Rocky Hill Gateway, LLC (Belfonti Companies), include a mixed-use luxury apartment community with up to 213 units and 10,000 square feet of first-floor retail.
  • Stratford: $973,000 grant to complete the remediation of the 10.5-acre site of the former Contract Plating Company property located at 540 Longbrook Avenue. Immediate redevelopment plans include the installation of a fuel cell on a portion of the property.
  • Torrington: $1,500,000 grant for the abatement and demolition of the former Hotchkiss & Sons Saw Mill buildings (3.55-acre site located at 199-237 Water Street and 229-239 Church Street) to enable redevelopment by Pay Dirt, LLC. Of the five existing buildings at the site, it is anticipated that three buildings will be demolished and two will be preserved to remediate and redevelop.
  • Waterbury: $2,000,000 grant to complete investigation and the cleanup of 777 South Main Street and 359 Mill Street (total of 3.25 acres) located in the Mad River Redevelopment Corridor. Remediation will help expand the existing food hub and include the construction of approximately 50 raised community garden beds, an outdoor kitchen, a beekeeping area, native plant landscaping, and a market and retail cafe.
  • West Hartford: $998,000 grant to investigate and remediate the 0.67-acre property located at 900 Farmington Avenue that currently houses a vacant restaurant and underutilized inn. Following remediation, the property will be redeveloped by WHI Camelot, LLC, as a 44-unit affordable, mixed-income, multifamily residential complex.
  • Windham: $123,000 grant to remediate the former Knight’s Oil Property located at 1248 Main Street. Redevelopment plans by Lyman Development Corp., include the construction of a new retail building that will be built-to-suit based on the selected tenant.

Additional funding for the Brownfield Remediation Program is available at www.ctbrownfields.gov.

Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.

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