Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

August 31, 2022

Amazon deepens commitment to massive Waterbury/Naugatuck distribution center with $4.8M land purchase

A rendering of a massive distribution center Amazon is planning on the Waterbury-Naugatuck line.

An Amazon-affiliated limited liability company recently paid $4.8 million for an 8.5-acre industrial property in Naugatuck, deepening the e-commerce giant’s commitment to plans for a massive distribution warehouse on the Waterbury-Naugatuck line.

The property at 191 Sheridan Drive will help Amazon access a massive distribution center planned on roughly 160 acres of currently undeveloped land straddling the city line.

For Waterbury and Naugatuck officials, the purchase – logged Aug. 22 – is a major reinforcement of Amazon’s commitment. Officials have touted the project as a jobs and tax revenue generator.

“This $4.8 million purchase is a very positive sign and strong commitment that this project is going in the right direction for the people of Waterbury and Naugatuck,” Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary said Wednesday.

Waterbury owns the roughly 160-acre property that is the focus of Amazon’s aspirations for a 130-foot-tall, “robotic-sort, multi-level fulfillment and distribution center.”

City officials have tried to develop the land for decades. Proposals for a mall, dog track and casino fell through due to resident opposition and steep topography that made it difficult to access the area without infringing on roads in residential neighborhoods.

 A major turning point came several years ago when O’Leary and Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess agreed to work together to solve the challenge of property access. Both communities later agreed to evenly split tax revenue.

Waterbury will get the $2.5 million Bluewater Property Group – Amazon’s developer – will pay under a purchase-and-sale agreement approved in May.

That agreement gives Bluewater 18 months to inspect the 160-acre property, study construction feasibility, finalize land-use approvals and reach a tax agreement with Waterbury and Naugatuck before closing. After closing, Bluewater Property Group would have another year to begin construction.  

While those deadlines are a long way off, Amazon’s $4.8 million purchase of the abutting property has further cemented commitment to the project.

“I look at it as a good strong sign,” Hess said Wednesday. He has another reason to celebrate as Amazon paid off $375,000 in back taxes owed on 191 Sheridan Drive.

A site overview of where Amazon plans to build a massive distribution center on the Waterbury-Naugatuck line. Services LLC, which lists an address at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, purchased the Sheridan Drive property from Westport-based Bluewater Hill South LLC, according to land records. Bluewater Hill South acquired the property for $2 million in 2007, according to assessing records.

In its state business filing, Services LLC lists Michael D. Deal as its president, secretary and treasurer. That filing also lists Deal’s address as Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. A 2017 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lists a Michael D. Deal as vice president, associate general counsel and assistant secretary for Amazon.

Attempts to reach an Amazon spokesperson were not immediately successful.

Hess said the Sheridan Drive property is needed for access roads to the planned distribution center.

The 8.5-acre property currently hosts a 55,349-square-foot industrial building that was completed in 1980. A conceptual site plan Bluewater Property Group shared with residents at a June information session shows two driveways moving through that property – absent any building – and connecting with the major artery of South Main Street in Waterbury.

The June information session by Bluewater Property Group came as the developer sought to change height restrictions in zoning. That effort was successful, clearing the way for Bluewater to submit detailed plans.

At the June forum, Alex Escamilla, head of development for Bluewater Property Group, said the 130-foot height allowance would allow a “robotic-sort, multi-level fulfillment and distribution center” in a more efficient and feasible layout. If it were a single story, such a facility would spread out over 2 million to 3 million square feet, she said.

In exchange for the increased height, Bluewater proposed increasing setbacks to a 150-foot minimum and requiring a 75-acre minimum lot size to access the taller height limits.

This planned facility would store goods delivered from manufacturers, which would be sorted and then sent to delivery stations, Escamilla said. Sorting on the upper levels will be largely performed by robotics using a “massive conveyor system,” with most employees working on the ground level, she said.

Goods will leave the Waterbury-Naugatuck facility in pallets on trucks, no sprinter vans, Escamilla said.

“This is not a last-mile,” Escamilla said. “This is more of a first-touch in the e-commerce network.”

The investment on the site would result in a project that typically assesses around $150 million, according to a slide Bluewater shared during its presentation.

“Because of its access to the roadway network, because of the demographic workforce here, it’s a great site for this burgeoning e-commerce demand,” Escamilla said. 


Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF