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April 20, 2022

Amazon developer offers $2.5M for 157-acre building site in Waterbury/Naugatuck

Contributed An aerial view of roughly 150 acres straddling the Waterbury and Naugatuck border that is the proposed site for a massive Amazon distribution facility.

Pennsylvania-based Bluewater Property Group is offering Waterbury and Naugatuck $2.5 million for a 157-acre site on the municipalities’ shared border, where the developer hopes to build a distribution facility for Amazon.

Officials in both communities will vote on the negotiated proposal in the coming weeks, but it contains a few caveats before a deal is finalized.

Bluewater will require a deal on local property taxes, must clear regulatory land-use reviews and must finish its own due diligence on site conditions before a purchase is finalized, according to a written summary shared with Waterbury’s Board of Aldermen ahead of its Monday meeting.

Representatives of Pennsylvania-based Bluewater will appear at a meeting of Waterbury’s aldermen Monday night to explain basics of their proposal, Mayor Neil O’Leary said. The company is still investigating the site so it won’t be ready to share details of the facility's size.

“They want to build a substantial building,” O’Leary said Wednesday.

Gov. Ned Lamont said the proposal had the possibility to create 1,000 jobs when Bluewater’s involvement was first announced in January.

Waterbury has sought for decades to develop a roughly 150-acre site it owns on either side of its shared border with Naugatuck. Plans for a dog track, mall and other developments were raised, but always thwarted due to difficult topography and a steep and difficult approach from Waterbury’s South Main Street.

O’Leary partnered with Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess to work out a plan to access the site through Naugatuck and share the tax revenue from the resulting development. The borough of Naugatuck and Waterbury jointly paid $390,000 in 2017 for a 10.5-acre property needed to complete the access.

O’Leary said the land-sale proceeds will go to Waterbury’s general fund, after Naugatuck is repaid $195,000 for its half of the 10.5-acre purchase.

Prior Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration authorized a $2.8 million grant to defray the costs of building an access road and utilities into the property to further development prospects. That money has not yet been tapped and the infrastructure not yet built. Officials want to tailor the infrastructure to the development ultimately secured for the site.

Bluewater’s founders were among the senior management and founders of KTR Capital Partners, a private equity fund that was sold to real estate investment trust Prologis for $5.9 billion in May 2015. Bluewater has repeatedly pursued projects for Amazon.

Bluewater is currently proposing Amazon facilities in Galloway Township, New Jersey; and is building a 3.8 million-square-foot warehouse in Johnston, Rhode Island, where a 20-year tax deal was approved for the project, according to media reports.

Bluewater is also involved in an effort to build a $300 million, 2.8-million-square-foot, Amazon facility in Charlton, Massachusetts. The project was approved last year for a tax-increment financing agreement expected to save Amazon nearly $12 million in taxes over the agreement’s 10-year lifespan. Charlton, meanwhile, expected to collect $65 million in new taxes and fees over 20 years.

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