New owner plans major work at North Haven Shopping Center

New owner plans major work at North Haven Shopping Center


The new owner of the North Haven Shopping Center will change its name to Washington Commons and perform major renovations.

“I love turning eyesores into something pretty,” said Joe Moruzzi, the real estate developer and owner of Diversified Unlimited in Hamden. “This is my first property in North Haven and it’s all about the plaza.”

The sale was completed March 30 at a price of $6,140,000.

Moruzzi said the shopping center’s nine businesses will stay and he will work with The Proto Group to rent out additional spaces. “It’s been hard to rent out space, so we’ll offer shorter spaces that are 50-feet deep,” he said. “It will be much nicer and the looks will attract new tenants.”

The renovation of the shopping center will include everything from new store fronts to new sidewalks, a parking lot with new islands and additional lighting. “The whole facade will be re-skinned and we’ll install new columns and pylon signs. There will be a new roof and a massive cleanup. You won’t recognize it when it’s done,” Moruzzi said.

Lou Proto, principal of The Proto Group, said, “Joe reached out to me. At the time, the property wasn’t for sale but now it’s closed and is no longer owned by the Luciani family, who built the center over 50 years ago. It’s one of the oldest shopping centers in Connecticut.”

Larry Lazaroff, owner of Arnold’s Jewelers and president of the North Haven Shopping Center Merchant’s Association, said the renovation of the plaza will benefit the entire town. “It’s been in disrepair, but now that will change. This is the renaissance of the shopping center,” Lazaroff said. “Merchants and the town wins and it will create new jobs for townspeople. It’s a win, win, win for everybody.”

Renovation will start at the plaza as soon as the business permit is signed, which should happen any day, according to Moruzzi.

First selectman Mike Freda hailed the sale and the upcoming renovation as “one of the town’s most important economic development projects.” “I really enjoyed working with the Lucianis, Lou Proto, Joe Moruzzi and Larry Lazaroff to bring this exciting plaza renovation forward,” Freda said. “It’s been a major priority since I’ve taken office.”

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