SOUTHINGTON — Town leaders accepted $200,000 in state money this week for additional cleanup at a former factory site on North Main Street.
The Beaton & Corbin property, 318 N. Main St., has been derelict since the copper plating business closed in 1989. The vacant building caught fire in 2003.
Despite its prominent location, developers weren’t interested in buying the property since it had extensive contamination, the defunct company was still in possession of the land and the town had tax and sewer liens on it.
Work started in 2020 when local developer Mark Lovley agreed to buy the property for $1 through the Connecticut Brownfield Land Bank, a strategy to reduce the liability a builder faced tackling the project. Lovley was the only one who wanted to develop the land following a town request for proposals. He’ll close on the property this summer.
On Thursday, Lovley said he’s a few weeks away from starting on the first of two buildings on the site.
“The remediation is all done pretty much,” he said. “Everything’s going good. We’re in the building permit (stage) for the first building.”Additional cleanup money
It’s taken more than $1.3 million in developer funding, town money and state grants and loans to clean the 1.6-acre site.
Lou Perillo, the town’s economic development coordinator, said the project was complicated by the shutdown of courts during the pandemic, which delayed the town’s foreclosure on the property. Other complications, such as a defect in the property title, also made the legal situation challenging.
“You name it, we had it,” he said of the seven-year effort.
The funds approved by the Town Council on Monday come from the state Department of Economic and Community Development. During remediation, Lovley said the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection required the remediation of PFAS, a chemical compound, from ground water.
“We hit some more remediation that needed to be done over by an old septic tank that we hit,” Lovley said.
He’s already done the work as well as more material removal than the original plan. The $200,000 approved Monday will take the form of a reimbursement grant for Lovley.
The developer has spent about $150,000 on cleanup and received an additional $400,000 in cleanup loans. He’s also responsible for any additional remediation costs, site testing and other expenses. The town has spent $150,000 on getting the property to a usable state while the DECD has contributed $600,000 to cleanup efforts.Medical buildings, tax incentives
Perillo and other town officials were concerned about a contaminated site so near the town’s Mill Street wellhead as well as the Quinnipiac River. Not only will a clean property contribute to the town’s economy, it’s important for the health of residents.
Lovley will receive a tax abatement for his portion of the remediation work. He’s planning to construct one medical building by the end of this year and another next year.
“We’re not going to see much (real estate) taxes for the first 10 years but we will see personal property taxes,” Perillo said. “The big part is we got rid of a gasoline tank in the ground, an oil tank, all the remediation issues that were there.”
Lovley said he’s got a doctor’s office interested in the location once the building is constructed.
“I’m excited to get that portion of the town cleaned up and looking good,” he said.
Reporter Jesse Buchanan can be reached at email@example.com.