MERIDEN —The city recently received interest in three pad sites for restaurants with drive-thru windows on East Main Street, an area that has seen an uptick in economic development.
An application for 1125, 1127 and 1133 E. Main St. will be going before the Zoning Board of Appeals next month.
“Three parcels are going to be developed,” said Economic Development Director Joseph Feest. “They are proposed fast food with drive-thrus. Two pad sites are for fast food restaurants.”
Developers have been asking for sites on the west side of the Interstate 91 intersection but Feest is hoping to see more activity on the east end closer to Taino’s Prime and Huxley’s Bookmark Cafe. East Main Street is expanding its strip of national fast food and restaurant chains reminiscent of some stretches of Route 5 in Wallingford and the city’s incentive zone program is helping it grow, Feest said.
Feest and City Planner Paul Dickson gave the City Council’s Economic Development Housing and Zoning Committee an update on recent planning and development activity throughout the city this week.
In addition to the three pad sites, the city doled out about $150,000 in grant money to 38 struggling business during the pandemic, Feest said.
The department also assisted hundreds of small business owners fill out applications for Payment Protection Program loans in addition to other grants and opportunities available.
City restaurants, who were particularly hard hit during the COVID-19 shutdown, were left out of federal relief dollars when a federal program designed for restaurants ran out of money.
“Please support your local restaurants,” Feest said. “These guys really need help.”
Additionally, about a dozen individual property owners have taken advantage of the Neighborhood Property Preservation program to make repairs on their homes. The program is for repairs such as siding and roofing. Downtown activity
In other economic news, two buildings at 81 W. Main St. and 107 W. Main sold for $1.6 million, and 51 Colony St. sold in April for more than $200,000.
Two blighted buildings at 9-11 and 13-17 Colony St. go on the auction block today over blight liens and back taxes. If there are no takers, the city will own the buildings.
Committee Vice Chairman Dan Brunet spoke out against the prospects of more city-owned buildings and requested an update about the former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital on 1 King Place.
Brunet was told there were recent discussions between the property owners and city staff about plans for the building. The former hospital has been vacant and decaying for more than 20 years.
“Ownership of One King’s Place has not been beneficial as a city owned property,” Brunet said. “I think not taking on any new properties would be beneficial to the city. “
Warehouse and office distribution in construction at 850 Murdock Ave. boosted economic development in the city, as has the planned transformation of the Macy’s department store at the Meriden Mall into a medical center.
“We’re getting to a point where we’re gaining some properties and have a vision of where we’re going downtown,” said Committee Chairman Michael Rohde.
“We waited a long time to get our city going downtown. We’ve heard all the complaints and now it’s time to turn that around.”