SOUTHINGTON — A Branford-based development company is working to take over the Greenway Commons project in downtown Southington.
Meridian Development Partners, a New York-based company that’s had the former Ideal Forging property for years, is selling the land. While the town long ago approved the downtown parcel for residential and retail development, Meridian hasn’t been able to get to the building stage.
Last December, Michael Massimino of GR Realty asked for a tax abatement to help offset the costs of lead, oil and PCB abatement on the former factory site. GR Realty is based in Branford.
The Town Council granted the tax abatement a year ago and members hoped the change of ownership would spark progress at the Center Street location. The value of the abatement will depend on how much the developed property is worth.
Howard Schlesinger, of Meridian, is president of the Greenway Commons improvement district. On Thursday, the district board met via telephone to appoint new directors and accept the resignation of previous ones.
Schlesinger couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. Town Manager Mark Sciota said the meeting was held for a vote on new district board members who will take over once the property is transferred to GR Realty.
“The Greenway Commons Improvement District was set up by state statute because this is a special taxing district,” Sciota said. “It is not connected with the town but the council under the statute appoints one member to the district board.”
The town’s board member is Michael Riccio, a former Town Council chairman and a real estate professional. He didn’t return a call for comment Thursday on the makeup of the new board.
Michael DelSanto, a Town Council member, said he’s encouraged by the prospect of a new company taking over the Greenway Commons project. In an email to DelSanto and other councilors, Sciota said the closing should take place within the next few days.
“They’re forging ahead,” DelSanto said. “I’m very excited to see something get done down there. It’s been a long road. This is a step in the right direction.”
While the former Ideal Forging factory buildings were demolished and some of the property remediated, environmental cleanup work may not be complete. Late last year, Massimino estimated the land cleanup would cost $10 million to $13 million.
When GR Realty buys the property, the company will also inherit a $3 million state loan that Meridian used for initial cleanup.