SOUTHINGTON — The owner of the former Dominic’s Men’s Shop on Eden Avenue has improvements planned and anticipates other developments in the area such as nearby condominiums, a tax abatement program and municipal parking.
Louis Martocchio, a local attorney, owns the former clothing shop at 1 Eden Ave. The store, the last of Southington’s men’s shops, closed in 2012.
Martocchio said he put a new roof on the building when he bought it, made structural improvements and did environmental work. He’s considering whether to rent it as a single, nearly 4,000-square-foot space or divide it. He’s also commissioned architectural renderings of a new façade.
Other developments in the area could affect the timing of Martocchio’s work on the building. Just behind his property, crews are working on a 64-unit, three-story condominium building on Forgione Drive.
The future presence of residents within walking distance to other downtown businesses is a “great addition to that area,” according to Martocchio.
“It’s certainly going to jump start the Eden avenue area,” he said.
The parking lot just around the corner on Main Street near Dollar Tree could become municipal parking, Martocchio said, further attracting people to Eden Avenue. There’s also a plan under consideration to make the Derynoski School lot open to the public.
“I was really waiting to see what was going to happen with the Derynoski parking lot and” the Dollar Tree lot, Martocchio said.
A plan to allow public parking during certain hours at the rear Derynoski school lot was met with resistance from some parents and others. The council referred the proposal to the Board of Education for further study.
Chris Palmieri, Town Council chairman and a Democrat, wasn’t in favor of allowing it.
“I think we heard the residents’ concerns loud and clear about mixing municipal parking with the school parking,” he said.
Palmieri was more in favor of the large lot nearby on Main Street becoming municipal parking.
Local developer Mark Lovley and partner Anthony Valenti, a real estate broker from Newington, bought the 200 Main St. property last year. Lovley said he’s in preliminary talks with the town for a municipal lot arrangement. Similar agreements have been reached between the town and other property owners in which the spaces are made public in exchange for the town maintaining the lot.
Lou Perillo, the town’s economic development coordinator, also anticipates a tax abatement for downtown property owners.
“I think the Town Council will be aggressive with coming out with a future tax abatement for that area,” he said.
Palmieri said the possibility of a downtown tax abatement came up at a council subcommittee meeting but hasn’t yet been discussed at the council level.
Both Southington and Plantsville downtowns are a focus for Palmieri.
“We want to try to keep it vibrant, welcoming for our residents and hopefully bring people from out of town as well,” he said.