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An empty industrial site may return as one of the town’s largest employers and taxpayers if plans proceed past a recent zoning approval for the former Pratt & Whitney site.
On Sept. 13, the Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) approved a site plan presented by 415 Washington Ave. Partners LLC for the Pratt & Whitney property on Washington Avenue for distribution and warehouse space. The property has been vacant since Pratt & Whitney sold the property in 2001 after operating there for nearly 50 years.
“We should know in the next few weeks whether the applicant—415 Washington Avenue Partners, LLC—can finalize the transaction,” said First Selectman Mike Freda. “We’ve done everything we can as a municipality to make this happen. I’ve met with property owners, I’ve met with the end user, and we’ve had some great meetings. I’m cautiously optimistic that this can get done.”
Rabina Properties now owns the property. According to its website rabinaproperties.com, Rabina Properties is a family-owned “real estate investment, development, and management firm based in New York.” Its portfolio includes residential, office, retail, and industrial real estate.
While the tenant of the property will not be named until lease agreements are finalized, Freda stated that the plan is to build an 855,000 square-foot facility, which will approach 1.5 million square feet including a planned mezzanine area. The plans also include parking spaces for 2,500 cars with an overflow parking area with 500 to 750 spaces.
During its time of operation, Pratt & Whitney was the town’s largest employer. The proposed facility will bring at least 1,000 jobs to town. Freda noted the facility is not moving to North Haven from another town, so these will be new job opportunities.
“If we can finalize this, this would be the largest job creator and taxable revenue creator in town for decades,” said Freda. “It will not only be one of the biggest job creators regionally, but in the State of Connecticut. It will represent a very significant amount of incremental tax revenue coming into the town for decades to come.”
The property is 165 acres and includes a rail spur and access to Interstate 91 and Route 15. The site plans include 47 trailer docks and parking for 245 tractor trailers. While there are no plans to use the rail spur at this time, it will remain on the property for future expansion.
Freda noted this will be a 24-hour facility and part of the plan is to open Valley Service Road onto Washington Avenue to ease any increased traffic flow.
If this deal is finalized, it will be a large piece in Freda’s economic development plan. One of his biggest goals since he has been in office is to bring more businesses to North Haven.
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