NEWINGTON - A $10 million development broke ground on a long-vacant parcel of land off Fenn Road this week.
An official groundbreaking ceremony took place Monday at “Fenn Road Square” – the future site of a 9,000 sq. ft. retail complex, 122-room extended stay hotel, four-story, 238-unit apartment complex and car wash.
Elected officials and project developer Hayes-Kaufman Partnership put shovels in the ground to commemorate the new construction.
Mayor Beth DelBuono later told the Herald she and fellow elected officials were very proud their administration was able to bring this long-awaited project to fruition.
“We are very proud that we will be seeing not only this 9,000 square foot retail complex on this corner but also will soon be seeing a car wash, hotel and housing development,” DelBuono said.
The town seized the former National Welding site for unpaid taxes back in the 90s and previous administrations secured funding to demolish and abate contamination at the former factory site. However, efforts to secure a developer were unsuccessful until recently, following the appointment of Town Manager Keith Chapman by the Town Council in Jan. 2020.
Seeing the town’s high mill rate, Chapman made economic development a priority and was able to successfully negotiate an agreement with Hayes-Kaufman for a 10-year, 40% tax abatement to develop the site.
“Mr. Chapman and his economic development team have shared our message that Newington is open for business and we now have numerous projects coming forward,” the mayor said. “All of this means more people coming to Newington to support these new businesses as well as our existing businesses. We look forward to the increased tax revenue and grand list growth helping our community.”
During Monday’s groundbreaking Hayes-Kaufman partner Richard Hayes told the media his father built the Stop & Shop that sits in the plaza to the north.
“I want to thank him for getting us here to begin with,” Hayes said. “My father was the general of the project at that time and was able to get us all down here looking at the town of Newington.”
Construction is expected to continue for the next 18 months.
A man who only identified himself as David, riding his bicycle by the new construction Tuesday, shared his thoughts on the future complex.
“If people can benefit from it then that’s good,” he said. “They transformed this property when they built the busway and that’s when those pad sites first became available. I’m not sure what stores they’re putting in here but if they can be of use to me I’m sure I’ll be shopping there.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.