The first tenant at an Ansonia industrial park nearly a decade in the making could be a company with roots that go back more than a century in the city.
The Farrel Pomini company, currently based on Main Street in downtown Ansonia, is in talks to consolidate operations at a new, 60,000-square-foot facility that could be built at the Fountain Lake Commerce Park off of Birmingham Boulevard about 2 miles away.
The Fountain Lake development has had a rocky history since being approved by the city in 2007 — the economy tanked in 2008, drying up its pool of potential tenants, with site work at the property suspended altogether at one point.
Work to remove earth and rock from the 44-acre property has since resumed, though the development hasn’t yet attracted official commitments from any tenants.
But on Oct. 27 officials from R.D. Scinto Inc., the property’s developer, presented plans to the PZC asking for permission to subdivide the property.
The plans the company filed with the PZC identify Farrel as the tenant of an 11-acre plot in the commerce park. An engineer working for Scinto also said Farrel would occupy the site while presenting the plans to the commission Monday.
But Robert A. Scinto, the company’s chief operating officer, told the PZC that a deal with Farrel had not yet been sealed formally.
The PZC scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m.
The engineer, Terrance Gallagher, of Middletown-based DeCarlo & Doll, Inc., said he’d be filing further plans for review by city officials in the coming weeks that will “tighten up some loose ends” from the PZC’s original approval of the project, in 2007.
Sheila O’Malley, the city’s economic development director, said any development at Fountain Lake would be significant, regardless of who the tenant is.
If the tenant is Farrel, she said the news would be all the more welcome.
“The name of the game is to retain manufacturing, and to hopefully retain it or relocate it to an area where it can expand,” O’Malley said.
The 6.2-square-mile city has to get the most out of what little developable space it has left, she said.
“The other reason that it’s significant is because it’s new industrial space, and it affords the city an opportunity to expand a little,” she said. “We are landlocked, we are out of land. This is one of the very few remaining parcels that can be developed, so it’s very important to see that space maximized.”
O’Malley said the city is trying to help pave the way, quite literally, for development at the site by applying for $2 million in grants that could be used to build a road into the property and clear a “site pad” for the development.
She said city officials — Mayor David Cassetti, Alderman Lorie Vaccaro, Corporation Counsel John Marini, and herself — went to the regional office of the federal Economic Development Authority in Philadelphia in September to lobby officials there for the funds.
Article continues after a schematic of the planned development prepared by Gallagher.
Scinto’s company is also seeking a special permit for excavating rock and earth from the construction site.
The PZC approved the removal of 60,000 cubic yards of earth and 300,000 cubic yards of rock from the property.
Gallagher said a surveyor is measuring how much material has been removed from the site, and how much is left to go, in order to provide the commission with updated numbers.
Scinto also added some fencing and sediment traps to its work site after Millie Rios, who lives on a neighboring property, raised concerns last year about possible erosion of her land.
Those changes will also be reflected in the new plans to be submitted to the city, Gallagher said.
Rios, a fixture at PZC meetings, spoke during the public comment portion of the commission’s meeting Oct. 27 and asked members to check in on whether proper controls had been put in place by Scinto’s company to control dust plumes during construction.
She said she just had her house re-sided and was concerned she would need to wash it.
PZC Chairman Bartholomew Flaherty said he’d made more than a half-dozen stops at the site recently and hadn’t seen much dust, but Scinto said he’d try to address Rios’ concerns.
Rios said she’d document her concerns with photos and videos she’d present to the PZC.
The PZC also did a site walk of the property in August to check out progress there.
PZC Commissioner Michael Bettini asked the company to provide details of permits it has obtained from the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection concerning work at the commerce park.
Fred D’Amico, the city engineer, told Bettini he had asked DEEP last month for details regarding the work there and was waiting to hear back.
Farrel Planning Move
The Main Street properties where Farrel’s operations are currently based were sold to a private developer in January 2013. Farrel has been renting space there.
In June the company, which produces plastic compounding and processing equipment, announced plans to move to another location in Ansonia or Oxford, where they currently operate a research and development lab.
Click here to read a press release published by the company.
A rendering of the new facility the company published along with the press release is pictured above.
The company, a subsidiary of HF Mixing Group, a global conglomerate based in Germany, said officials were working to finalize government incentives “without which the investment would not be possible” and that it hoped to open the new facility by next fall.