SOUTHINGTON — Owners of the former Ideal Forging site downtown are hopeful about an upcoming auction for the 14-acre property.
Meridian Development Partners has owned the factory site since 2005. The company tore down the buildings and cleaned up much of the land but didn’t develop the residential and commercial space approved for the site.
Howard Schlesinger of Meridian said a buyer could bring “a fresh look, a fresh set of resources” to the Greenway Commons project.
“We’ve had it a long time. We feel it’s time to move on,” he said. “The issue is really that the carry on this has been significant.”
The company got the property to the point where a new owner could start development on the 245 residential units and 22,000 square feet of commercial space allowed by the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
“If there’s somebody out there that can take it from here, there’s a lot in play. A lot’s been done,” Schlesinger said.June auction
HilCo Real Estate is overseeing the auction. Bids are due June 18 and on-site inspections will start later this month.
Schlesinger said Meridian has had many buyers interested in the property and nearly sold it in 2016.
An auction is more likely to result in a completed sale.
“We’ve had so many people at the table,” Schlesinger said.
Despite the pandemic, he’s hopeful that the economy is rebounding and that buyers are interested in land in a growing town.
There’s remediation work to be done around utility corridors, Schlesinger said, but that work didn’t make sense until it’s determined where buildings will be placed. There is still some state remediation money available that will transfer to the new owner.
The property is also in a tax increment financing district, which provides a loan that’s paid back by future taxes.
Strong rental market
The town’s economic development coordinator Lou Perillo said the project rests on the strength of the rental units. Other housing developments in town have shown there’s strong demand, he said.
“Now would be a good time to develop,” he said. “Interest rates are low.”
Perillo estimated the purchase price and construction costs could make Greenway Commons a $50 million project.
“You’re only going to have so many players in the market,” he said. “For the right person, the right company, I think this is an opportunity.”