Center St. caterer weighs options

SOUTHINGTON — With business going well for Niles Pierson, co-owner of Paul Gregory’s Caterers on Center Street, he will be weighing his options over the next nine months on whether or not he is going to expand his business or create a new building.

Pierson is a tenant in the building, owned by Landmark Properties, and he is working to purchase the property, if all goes well, by next month, he said.

“The business has the potential to grow and economically it makes sense to buy the building from a cash flow perspective,” said Pierson. “My landlord has been fair in this process and it has always been in the lease to have right of refusal to buy the property.”

With the purchase comes an “opportunity and an obligation,” Pierson said.

“The obligation was within four years of purchase to pave the lot,” Pierson said.

Pierson has been in the building for nearly four years and his lease is coming to an end.

There is also an opportunity to subdivide the property and construct another building up to 3,000 square feet.

“Whether or not I’ll do that, I’m not really sure,” Pierson said.

Southington Economic Development Coordinator Lou Perillo said the town purchased 148 Center St. in 2008 for $387,500 and sold it to Landmark Properties for $328,000. Because the town sold it for less, Perillo said a few restrictions were put on the property. One stipulation was that it could no longer be a bar café and the other was the landlord had to create a number of spaces for municipal parking behind the building.

Town regulations require 42 parking spaces for the approximately half-acre site at 148 Center St., but the Parking Authority granted a waiver for 16 spaces as part of an agreement with the town that calls for the owner to pay for construction of the new lot.

At the last Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Pierson asked for an extension on the site work to solicit bids for the paving, since he hasn’t closed on the property yet, and to decide what he wants to do with the area.

Town Attorney Mark Sciota said during the commission meeting Sept. 17 that, despite the site plan’s stipulation that a municipal parking lot be completed this year, he felt comfortable giving Pierson time. He also mentioned there is no point enforcing the creation of the parking lot now if it might be ripped up with Pierson’s plans in the future.

The extension was unanimously granted by the commission and is through June 30, 2014.

Perillo said he hopes to talk to businesses next to Pierson’s to see if they would want to create a lot together.

“What we’re trying to say is hey look, instead of everyone having their own parking lot, can we achieve a greater number of parcels if people work together,” Perillo said. (203) 317-2212 Twitter: @FollowingFarrah

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