SOUTHINGTON— A local developer, the town and a non-profit agreed on a plan to clean up and develop a polluted factory site on North Main Street.
The Beaton & Corbin factory property at 318 N. Main St. is worth less than the cost of cleanup, estimated at more than $1 million, according to town economic development coordinator Lou Perillo.
The council unanimously approved the deal at its meeting Monday night.
Under the agreement that required new state legislation, the Connecticut Brownfield Land Bank will take ownership of the property before turning it over to local builder Mark Lovley. State grants, town money and Lovley’s money will be used to remove polluted soil, underground gasoline storage tanks and other health hazards.
“This is a gateway to the town adjacent to the Fire Department (headquarters). It’s something we’ve been trying to get clean,” Perillo said.
The defunct Beaton & Corbin Inc. still holds title to the property. The land bank will start a foreclosure on the property after the town sells its tax liens to the land bank for $1. Through the foreclosure process, the land bank will extinguish all liens against the property.
Council members had concerns about the town’s liability, including what would happen if the deal fell apart.
Town Manager Mark Sciota said Lovley and the land bank have money lined up.
“They’ll be taking title to it with the funds necessary to clean it up,” he said.
The town’s contribution of $150,000 towards the project has been mostly used up, Sciota said. The money was used for testing the extent of the pollution.
Arthur Bogen, president of the land bank, said this deal would be the first in the state. His group pushed for the state legislation that allowed such agreements.
Perillo said the “clock will be ticking” for Lovley to develop the land once it’s cleaned, both to repay government loans and to make his money back.
“The only way to get a return on the money is to start developing it,” Perillo said.