City sells former brownfield site on Canal Street in Shelton
SHELTON — A prominent Shelton developer has purchased four parcels along Canal Street from the city with plans for a mixed-used structure on the former brownfield site, the old Chromium Process Company.
The Board of Aldermen, at its meeting Feb. 13, approved the sale of the city-owned land for $700,000 to John Guedes and Biaggio Barone. Guedes, a Shelton resident, is the owner of Primrose Companies Inc. and known for constructing The Birmingham Apartments as well as numerous developments in Bridgeport and surrounding communities.
As part of the deal, the developers and the city have a plan to finish the Riverwalk, a vision of Mayor Mark Lauretti since his early days in office nearly three decades ago when the downtown redevelopment now taking place was in its infancy.
“This whole deal is good for the city,” Lauretti said. “This area has been void of economic development for years. This was the vision 28 years ago, and it is all coming together.”
In all, Guedes and Barone purchased four lots totaling 1.63 acres along with a 40-foot strip of property, some 10,480 square feet. The Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting Feb. 11 unanimously approved an 8-24 application from the city for the sale. The commission is required make a recommendation for any project or major improvement proposed on city land.
Lauretti said the developer’s initial plans call for a five-story building, with commercial and retail space on the first floor of the proposed structure, with 75 apartments on the top four floors. Lauretti said he hopes the plans will soon be before the Planning & Zoning Commission for review and approval.
Regarding Riverwalk, Lauretti said the developer, during the excavation process for the new structure, would put in the base for the extended walk along the Housatonic River. Lauretti said the city would then finish off the project by completing the walkway.
The Shelton Riverwalk is a brick sidewalk that loops around the Slab, a park that borders the Housatonic River. Both the Slab and the Riverwalk are used for recreational purposes. The park is host to various events throughout the year, including the farmers market, Veterans Day celebrations and Fourth of July fireworks.
“The focus of my first election campaign was redeveloping the downtown,” the mayor said. “This is what I always envisioned. Once the area was cleaned up, it would evolve, and that is what is happening, with private investment.”
City Administrative Assistant Jack Bashar said that by selling the land, “the property will then be added back to the city’s tax rolls and will be a major part of the downtown redevelopment plan.”
“Ten years from now, people will be in awe of what they see,” Lauretti added.
The city acquired the Chromium Process property through foreclosure, and state and federal brownfields funding helped with the environmental cleanup.
The Chromium Process operation, part of an industrial area developed in the late 1880s, was once a thriving factory site in the heart of downtown Shelton. The plant building and adjacent garage were razed in the fall of 2016, replaced by a parking lot.