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October 24, 2023

Developer proposing up to 3M-sq.-ft. Amazon facility in Waterbury/Naugatuck seeks extra year for due diligence 

A rendering of an Amazon distribution warehouse planned for Waterbury/Naugatuck.

A developer targeting a 157.1-acre site in Waterbury and Naugatuck for a massive Amazon distribution facility continues to express confidence in the project, but is also asking for an extra year to vet the site and pursue local permits. 

Bluewater Property Group reached a $2.5 million purchase agreement with Waterbury and Naugatuck in May 2022. The deal gave the developer 18 months for due diligence and was set to expire in November.  

On Tuesday, the Naugatuck Board of Mayor and Burgesses unanimously agreed to give Bluewater, a company with offices in New York and Pennsylvania, an additional year for due diligence and permitting.

Thomas Hyde, interim director of the Waterbury Development Corp., said Waterbury’s Board of Aldermen is scheduled to take up the one-year extension during a special meeting on Monday, Oct. 30.

Hyde noted while Amazon has walked away from some projects in other states, it has recently expanded its presence in Connecticut. And both Amazon and Bluewater have shown sustained interest in the Waterbury-Naugatuck site, he said.

An Amazon-affiliated company paid $4.8 million in August 2022 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 was taken as a sign of 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 of up to 3 million square feet.

Meeting with Naugatuck officials Tuesday, Bluewater Vice President Christina Bernardin said the need for additional time is understandable, given “very challenging” topography that shifts by 250 feet. The company will also need the additional time to pursue local permitting, she said.

“We are super confident about this,” Bernadin told Naugatuck officials. “We are excited about moving forward and think the one year will get us to the finish line.”

Naugatuck officials were emphatically supportive of the extension and approved the request within seconds and without question.

After the meeting, Bernadin told the Hartford Business Journal the extension request should not come as a surprise as the site is “very challenging.”

“We just require another year to assess it for construction feasibility and to obtain project approvals,” Bernadin said. 

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