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November 13, 2023 Deal Watch

Developer proposing massive Amazon facility in Waterbury/Naugatuck gets extra year for due diligence

RENDERING | CONTRIBUTED A rendering of the Amazon distribution warehouse planned for Waterbury/Naugatuck.

A developer looking to build a massive Amazon distribution facility on a 157.1-acre site in Waterbury and Naugatuck continues to express confidence in the project, but also said it needs an extra year to vet the location and pursue local permits.

Pennsylvania-based Bluewater Property Group in May 2022 reached a $2.5 million purchase agreement with Waterbury and Naugatuck for the mostly forested property, on which it proposed to build a warehouse as large as 3 million square feet.

The deal gave the developer 18 months for due diligence, a timeline that was set to expire this November.

However, the city of Waterbury and town of Naugatuck recently agreed to give Bluewater an additional year for due diligence and permitting.

Thomas Hyde, interim director of the Waterbury Development Corp., said while Amazon has walked away from some projects in other states, the e-commerce giant has recently expanded its presence in Connecticut, opening new distribution facilities in Glastonbury and South Windsor.

And, both Amazon and Bluewater have shown sustained interest in the Waterbury/Naugatuck site, he said.

An Amazon-affiliated company last year paid $4.8 million for an 8.5-acre Naugatuck property abutting the 157.1-acre development site. That property was to be used as an access point, and its purchase seemed to indicate Amazon’s commitment.

Bluewater has agreed to give the city a $100,000 nonrefundable deposit in exchange for the extension, Hyde said.

“Amazon has continued to expand in Connecticut,” Hyde said. “We just saw two new distribution facilities open up. They are not walking away from it. We are optimistic the project is going to continue to move forward.”

Bluewater has proposed a roughly 130-foot-tall, multi-level robotic-sort facility at the Waterbury/Naugatuck Industrial Park that could range up to 3 million square feet.

Bluewater Vice President Christina Bernardin said the need for additional time is understandable, given the site’s “very challenging” topography that shifts by 250 feet. The company will also need more time to pursue local permitting, she said.

“We are super confident about this,” Bernardin said. “We are excited about moving forward and think the one year will get us to the finish line. We just require another year to assess it for construction feasibility and to obtain project approvals.”

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