MERIDEN — The NYC Deli and Krispy Krunchy Chicken at Meriden Commons I could open next month, representatives for the developer said.
The full-service deli and convenience store chicken shop at 177 State St. had to undergo a redesign for an exhaust shaft and grease trap, said Charlie Adams, regional vice president of Pennrose Properties.
“Hopefully it’s going to open up in a month or so,” Adams said. “They finally got the grease trap.”
The commercial space on the first-floor of Meriden Commons I has taken longer to lease than the residential space, which now has a waiting list for tenants.
Filling commercial space has been a challenge for the city. The first floor of 24 Colony St., completed in 2016, has yet to see a commerical tenant despite marketing efforts by city economic development officials.
“Downtown needs more foot traffic to attract larger investment,” said David Cooley of Making Meriden Business Center. “We have great old architecture that needs significant investment to save and activate. We have new inventory that also needs investments to fit out — we don’t have a lot of restaurant spaces that are ‘plug and play’ like other cities have. We are trying to build foot traffic while simultaneously trying to attract investors who will think long term, perhaps taking advantage of our opportunity zones.”
Downtown experts say it takes 5 to 10 years to turn around a downtown and Cooley is confident the city is doing the right things and will get it done, he said.
“In the meantime we need residents to help do their part by being positive and patronizing the downtown to bring some foot traffic,” Cooley said.
Both 24 Colony St. and Meriden Commons I and II are part of the city’s transit-oriented district, located within a half-mile of the train station. The designation allows for more potential uses and flexible zoning. The developments are also included in the city’s opportunity zone tracts, which provide other incentives to investors.
Adams did not name the deli owner but said it’s an experienced operator, who is ensuring all code requirements are met. The deal for the deli and chicken eatery was announced in January.
The $25 million Meriden Commons I has 75 mixed-income apartments and 5,400 square feet of commercial space on the first floor.
Deli showcases and signs in the windows have been on the property for months, leaving some to wonder if the eatery would open.
A full-service deli would service tenants and walk-ins from surrounding businesses and the Meriden Green, said Cooley. The space has an outdoor patio with a view of the Meriden Green that could be enhanced when the city eliminates Mill Street to expand the Green.
Meriden Commons II consists of 76 row-style and townhouse units expected to be completed in October. According to Adams, 12 families moved into the townhouse units this month as workers complete the project. The townhouse units are among the largest with three and four bedrooms.
“Our target is 10 a month, so we’re ahead of schedule,” Adams said.