The developer of a planned major commercial project in the borough said this week his firm soon plans to start site work at the 30-32 Church Hill Road property where more than 60,000 square feet of enclosed retail/office space would be built.
Alan Weiner, president of Mesa General Contractors, Inc, of New Milford, said March 18 said that within the next month, the firm plans to start work at the property which formerly held Lexington Gardens, a plant nursery and gift shop which went out of business in January 2011.
After Newtown Savings Bank received land use approvals for the commercial redevelopment project in 2012, the former Lexington Gardens building was demolished and the site where it stood was fenced off to deter trespassing.
Mr Weiner said that the tough winter season has resulted in frost penetrating deep into the ground, delaying the start of work on the project.
He said that under the best circumstances, the project, known as The Village at Lexington Gardens, could be constructed within eight to ten months. However, the project might take as long as 18 months to construct, he said.
As part of the redevelopment project, a four-way traffic signal would be installed at the congested intersection of Church Hill Road, The Boulevard, and the driveway for the planned retail/office complex. The state has approved traffic signal installation, Mr Weiner said. The new traffic signal would be synchronized with an existing traffic signal at the intersection of Church Hill Road and Queen Street.
Mr Weiner said he is seeking a mix of occupants at the planned complex which offers customers diversity. Office space would be located on the second story of the several buildings to be constructed, with retail space at ground level. The complex likely would have between 10 and 20 occupants which would enter into commercial condominium agreements, he said.
Firms doing business in office space at the complex could includes doctors, lawyers, accountants and surveyors, among other professionals, he said. Retail business would include specialty stores and possibly restaurants, he said.
Mr Weiner said that his general contracting firm would have offices there.
Elizabeth Stocker, the town’s director of economic and community development, said that the developer will install “significant streetscape improvements” on Church Hill Road near the complex.
Also, the complex will have a driveway connection with the adjacent shopping plaza which holds Caraluzzi’s Market. That internal-traffic linkage is intended to limit traffic flow on Church Hill Road.
After the new complex is constructed, it would provide a more complete set of businesses on Church Hill Road, Ms Stocker said.
In September 2012, the Borough Zoning Commission (BZC) swiftly approved the commercial redevelopment project for the 6.3-acre site at 30-32 Church Hill Road.
The approved plans call for adding 60,500 square feet of new commercial space at 32 Church Hill Road in the form of one 28,000-square-foot structure, two segmented 13,000-square-foot buildings, and one 6,500-square-foot structure.
Newtown Savings Bank potentially may occupy a planned 6,500-square-foot building near the street at 32 Church Hill Road.
Also, an existing flat-roofed, two-story, red-brick 16,000-square-foot commercial building at 30 Church Hill Road would receive a variety of external improvements to enhance its appearance, making it visually complementary to the planned new construction at 32 Church Hill Road.
Gable-ended roofing and other features would be added to improve the building’s appearance. That structure holds retail space at the ground level and office space on the second story.