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December 4, 2023

Waterbury launches second developer search for 15-acre former Anamet manufacturing site

Michael Puffer Thomas Hyde, executive director of the Waterbury Development Corp. and CEO of the Naugatuck Valley Regional Development Corp., inside a 220,000-square-foot high-bay industrial building Waterbury has kept for redevelopment at the former Anamet manufacturing complex.
Former Anamet site, 698 South Main St.
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The city of Waterbury has launched its second search for a developer to redevelop roughly 15 acres of the former Anamet manufacturing site.

The city issued its second request-for-proposals on Friday, with responses due back Feb. 16.

“The real (determining) factor is the long-term benefit to the city,” said Thomas Hyde, interim director of the Waterbury Development Corp. “What will provide the most long-term benefit – that’s what we are going to go with.”

A previous RFP had produced a tentative purchase offer with Waterbury-based aquaculture company Ideal Fish. Former Mayor Neil O’Leary broke off protracted negotiations earlier this year, opting to put the site back on the market.

Under the new search, a selection committee will weigh planned uses along with the proposed purchase price. Newly inaugurated Mayor Paul Pernerewski said he wants to see a job creator that puts the long-dormant site back into productive use.

The city has already spent several million dollars knocking down several failing buildings at the former metalworking industrial campus, and another $2.7 million replacing the roof of a roughly 190,000-square-foot, high-bay industrial building on the site.

The site’s industrial history stretches back to 1812, with a series of metal manufacturers in operation at the 17.4-acre property off South Main Street near downtown Waterbury. The city is proposing to sell the property, minus a couple acres needed for a planned “greenway” along the adjacent Naugatuck River.

The site is impacted by widespread contaminated fill, petroleum and “hot spot” areas of chlorinated solvents, according to a July 18, 2023, community relations plan developed by engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill.

The firm estimated it would cost $3.2 million for cleanup of 10 acres, which would include removal of 4,000 tons of petroleum-polluted soil.
The city has about $2.5 million in reserve from grants for cleanup of the site, and can seek out additional funding, Hyde said Monday.

Under Mayor Neil O’Leary, the city paid $650,000 for the site in 2017, then secured grants to knock down most of the crumbling and long-neglected complex. The city formed 698 South Main Street Inc. to hold and lead redevelopment of the property. 

The group is helmed by political appointees and staffed through the Waterbury Development Corp.

The site is located near the interchange of Interstate 84 and Route 8, in a traditionally industrial section of Waterbury’s south end that was the target of several ambitious brownfield cleanup efforts under the O’Leary administration.

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