Vacant Meriden plaza to be rebuilt under Dunkin’ franchise owner’s plan



reporter photo

MERIDEN — Batista Companies Inc., owner of the city’s Dunkin’ franchise, has filed an application to redevelop a vacant plaza on South Broad Street. 

According to plans filed with the city’s Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, Batista wants to convert the existing Dunkin’ on South Broad Street into a company headquarters and build a new drive-through Dunkin’ and commercial building to the north. 

Commission members heard details of the plan earlier this month before tabling the discussion pending more information.

The plan involves five parcels on South Broad Street amounting to 2.6 acres total. Attorney Dennis Ceneviva, who represented Batista, told commission members the intent is to build a new Dunkin’ and a 37,000 square foot commercial building for an undetermined user.  

“The properties that are part of the application and shown on the project’s existing conditions survey, 43 and 51 South Broad St., are owned by the applicant and the houses have already been demolished,” said City Planner Paul Dickson. “The application is currently in front of the IWWC and was deemed a summary application (no significant impact) and tabled due to statutory time requirements and a few staff comments.”

According to Ceneviva, there are no wetlands or watercourses on the parcel, however there are forested wetlands to the east. City staff had requested further information regarding the installation of a retaining wall, the construction sequence and a clear impact statement from the soil scientist. 

There is an existing retaining wall behind Dunkin’ and Batista proposes to build a retaining wall across the rear and fill between the two high points, Ceneviva said.

Austin Dowd, civil engineer at SLR Consulting, told commission members the parcel is actually a compilation of six properties because there is a small sliver of land to the north that does not have an address. Dowd said for this project these parcels will be combined into three parcels and the boundaries will remain the same. 

 The existing commercial property will be demolished and the pavement to the rear will be removed and restored with topsoil and native seed mix, according to city records. There is a brook that feeds into Meetinghouse Brook with most storm drainage going to the wetlands. The site plans have been adjusted per comments from the state Department of Transportation regarding the main access drives.

Batista will return before the IWWC on July 6 with an impact statement from the soil scientist and a floodplain permit. 

The project is similar to another commercial plaza Batista developed on the city’s east side that includes a Dunkin’ drive-through and a Jake’s Wayback Burger and a medical office building. 

Commercial development on the Route 5 corridor in Meriden is challenged because of shallow lot sizes and wetlands on the east side, city officials have said. Projects such as the Dollar General store required the acquisition of several residences and grading the lot. But the corridor remains a priority for the city and the Dunkin’ and newly remodeled Atlantis Food Mart are traffic generators.

“The redevelopment along one of our major corridors will have a positive impact on the city,” stated city Economic Development Director Joseph Feest. “Many retailers are looking for high traffic counts and this area would fit in nicely into that category. You have a D&D and a newly remodeled gas station in that section along with a car dealership. We look forward to Mr. Batista’s plans  once approved.”

Reporter Mary Ellen Godin can be reached at mgodin@record-journal.com.



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