SOUTHINGTON — A self-service car wash could be coming to a long-vacant Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike corner.
Owners of the corner properties off Interstate 691’s exit 4 are hoping to get town approval for the car wash after successfully rezoning a portion that was residential.
Michael Riccio, Michael Fasulo and David Carabetta own three parcels on the corner of Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike and Meriden Avenue. When the partners had first bought the property about seven years ago, Riccio said they’d intended to market it to a drug store chain but that those companies began to slow their growth around that time.
The corner had several houses and an appliance repair store as well as other buildings. The owners tore down the appliance repair store and one of the houses as part of remediation efforts that cost half a million dollars. Marketing for the property near I-691 was unsuccessful though.
“We had a lot of interest from drug stores and gas stations and all kinds of stuff but nothing ever came to fruition,” Riccio said. “When the drug stores started pulling back, it shrunk our pool of potential buyers.”
Carabetta owns Class Act Auto Wash on Research Parkway in Meriden, a self-service car wash with a 1950s theme. He plans to build a similar business at the corner and told town planners it’s conveniently located for town residents coming or going from work. While he plans the Southington location to be open 24/7, Carabetta said most users are there during the day.
Construction could start in the spring
Riccio and at least one area resident was glad that development is imminent for the busy corner.
“We are beyond excited to finally clean it up,” Riccio said. “We know it’s been an eyesore for a long time. It was a product of the market.”
Plans submitted to the planning department show an entrance on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike and exits on Meriden Avenue. There’ll be five wash stations including automatic wash, truck and self-service areas.
Riccio said it’ll be similar to the one in Meriden.
“It’s very high end, very well maintained,” he said. “Very nice, classic look to it.”
Sharon Blanchette, a Meriden Avenue resident adjacent to the proposed car wash, said it wouldn’t bother her. She was glad to see something other than an empty lot on the corner.
“Right now, the way it looks, it’s just an eyesore,” Blanchette said. “I’m glad they ’re going to put something there.”
The Planning and Zoning Commission has a public hearing via video conference scheduled on the proposal for next month.