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The former Pratt & Whitney site, with ready access to I-91 and I-95 as well as featuring a rail spur, appears to be a prime spot for a distribution hub. As the proposal for redevelopment of the site works its way through the system, officials are keeping mum on the identity of the company that’s expected to bring more than 1,000 jobs to the region. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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More than four months after the Planning & Zoning Commission approved plans for a major redevelopment of the property at the old Pratt & Whitney site, the town is still awaiting major news: Will the development proposal clear state hurdles, and just who will the tenant be on this prime piece of property?
The proposal, which has cleared local commissions, is moving through state agencies. Early this month, First Selectman Mike Freda, Police Chief Thomas McLoughlin, representatives of property owner Rabina Properties, and the project engineers traveled to Hartford to meet with the state traffic authority.
“We had a good meeting with the state,” said Freda.
The project engineers presented their plans for traffic enhancement, including access in and out of the property and traffic signals. After the presentation, the state responded with a recommendation to replace the existing traffic light, which was installed in 1994. The property owner agreed to have it installed.
“They wanted a more modernized version,” said Freda. “That was the biggest issue so I was delighted with how the meeting went.”
Now the property owner and project engineers are required to resubmit the new plans in writing as the project moves toward full approval from the state.
“I fully anticipate that we will sail through step two of the three-step process,” said Freda.
While the tenant of the property will not be named until lease agreements are finalized, the plan is for the new company to occupy a yet-to-be-built 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, but sold the property in 2001 after operating there for nearly 50 years. Officials said the proposed facility will bring at least 1,000 jobs to town.
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