Yes, they are building — with good reason: Five new construction projects alter the commercial landscapeAnd the Old Will Be NewBlake Street Center495 Blake Street, New HavenBy next spring, New Haven's historic Westville section will be an even bigger draw to shoppers. Blake Street Center, located at the intersection buy ambien and Blake streets in the Old Geometric Tool building, is currently being redesigned to accommodate retail, office and restaurant tenants.While the retail order valium banquet facilities won't be open until the spring of 1996, office space, according to Vicky Chastain of Levey Miller Maretz, the property's listing agent, should be ready. many of its original features, including a beautiful oak staircase and a six-foot high, walk-in safe on the first floor (it still bears the Geometric Tool name). Other turn-of-the-century industrial details include exposed original brick, high wood-beam ceilings and original window holes. The renovation by Brophy, Ahern Construction Co. of Chester is estimated to cost $5 million when it is finished.
“It was good real estate investment,” explains Vicky Chastain. “They got the building at a favorable price. And Frank Perrotti is committed to the area. He wants to make the building something New Haven is proud of.”
Blake Street Center Associates is a partnership headed by Frank Perrotti Jr., owner of the restaurant 500 Blake Street. That's no detail: One of the motivations for the project was 500 Blake Street's need for larger banquet facilities.
The restaurant has committed to 15,000 square feet in Blake Street Center for a banquet facility to seat 500 people not counting an outside patio (boasting magnificent views of West Rock). Currently, 500 Blake Street can seat 200-300 people. But, according to Chastain, larger banquet facilities in New Haven County are much in demand. “I've been told that there is no place that can seat that many people in the area,” Chastain says. “The new banquet facility, which is scheduled to open April first, has six weddings booked already.”
of One's Own
Classic Labels Inc.
10 Research Drive, Woodbridge
Lou Santarella Jr., owner of Classic Labels Inc., is moving his manufacturing plant and warehouse from Seymour to Ten Research Drive in Woodbridge. Santarella wanted to buy the Seymour building he now occupies, but couldn't come to an agreement with the landlord.
The company, a manufacturer of pressure-sensitive labels servicing other manufacturers nationwide, has been in business for eight years. Santarella is building rather than buying, in part because he wants to make certain he gets exactly what he needs and wants in a site. Building now is also feasible due to the favorable economy. “Hopefully, I'll be in business for a long time,” Santarella explains. “I could afford to build right now, and this way I can build exactly what I want.”
His new building will be a single-story, 14,500-square-foot structure. Most of the space will be used for manufacturing or as warehouse space. About 2,000 square feet will be used for Santarella's offices.
Santarella is moving the company to Woodbridge because of price considerations. The property, most recently owned by the Bank of New Haven, was “a good deal,” he says. “If the price of land was what it was five to seven years ago, I couldn't afford to do what I'm doing.”
The foundation and half the floor of the new Classic Labels building have been poured, and Santarella expects the project to be finished sometime around November. Estimated construction cost is $500,000.
For Workers, a Pain Reliever
400 Morgan Lane, West Haven & 141 Frontage Road, Orange
If you're looking to go to the movies in Orange, be careful you find the right place - the old Showcase Cinemas has become the site for Bayer Corp.'s major expansion. The company's pharmaceuticals division markets, researches and manufactures prescription drugs. Bayer currently leases office space in buildings in New Haven and Orange.
The 230,000-square-foot expansion will actually be two connected buildings (with 59 percent of the floor space in Orange, and 41 percent in West Haven) with a capacity for 700 people, including divisional administration, biological and pharmaceutical sales and marketing, and medical affairs.
Project cost is close to $50 million. But Donald Hyman, Bayer's director of corporate communications, says the expansion is integral to staying alive in the highly competitive pharmaceuticals market.
“The company's management feels it's essential to have all its employees together in one campus,” Hyman says. “We're going to have to have the kind of hallway dialogue to compete effectively in the market.” And while separate offices discourage a sense of community, Hyman also mentions the inefficiency of commuting. “These buildings will allow us to bring back employees from our offices in leased sites,” explains Hyman, “which means about 400 employees will be able to come back to the mother ship.”
Bayer employs some 1,500 people in Connecticut, roughly double the number six years ago. “Because the company keeps expanding,” Hyman adds, “we're able to put money into our development. We've introduced new drugs which were well received. These drugs allow us to reinvest into our facilities.”
The building is scheduled to be completed in May 1996.
Super Times Two
Super Stop & Shop
2335 Dixwell Avenue, Hamden
If you're driving up Dixwell Avenue in Hamden, don't be surprised by the tell-tale A-frame of the new Super Stop & Shop being built in the old Sears Plaza across from Hamden Mart. The new, $18 million Super Stop & Shop will replace the conventional Stop & Shop now located across the street.
The project is a joint venture between local builders Fusco-Gottlieb Corp. and the Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.
“Hamden will have two Super Stop & Shops,” notes Mary-Jo Anderson, Stop & Shop spokesperson (the other is at the intersection of Dixwell and Putnam avenues). “We've done this in other towns and cities,” she explains. “A market isn't specific to a town line - a store may be on the outskirts of the town, but draw from other towns.” With more than 70,000 square feet, the new store does not have a specific opening date, although the company says it will open before Thanksgiving.
According to Anderson, Stop & Shop pioneered the “super” supermarket concept in New England, and the company is moving toward replacing many of its conventional stores with superstores where real estate is available and market conditions justify.
“The current Hamden store is a very popular and busy conventional store,” Anderson says. “We do a lot of research before we decide to invest this kind of time and money, so we're very confident the new superstore will also be successful.”
Route 5, Wallingford
“What used to be Neal Road is now the driveway to Wal-Mart,” explains Linda Bush, Wallingford's town planner. She is talking about the new Wal-Mart under construction on Route 5. The project is being developed by W.S. Development, an affiliate of S.R. Weiner Associates in Boston. Wal-Mart is a tenant in the development.
The new store will be 120,000 square feet covering 20.9 acres. Total cost, including cost of land and site construction, will approach $10 million by completion, $1.5 million of which paid for a major restructuring of Route 5. “We have a local zoning regulation which requires that any use in town which generates [significant] traffic has to have a special permit and do a traffic impact analysis for the town,” Bush explains.
Says Bob Frazier, vice president of development at W.S. Development, “We had to work with the town planner, the town engineer, the safety officer and the police department. It also took the cooperation of a lot of the abutting land owners to implement the improvements.”
Betsy Reithemeyer, public relations coordinator for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., says the project should be completed by January or February. “We're excited about coming to Wallingford,” explains Reithemeyer. “Wallingford is in a convenient location between Hartford and New Haven. The project will be good for the people of Wallingford as well as Wal-Mart.”
According to broker Toby Brimberg of H. Pearce Co., Realtors, Wallingford is ripe for a Wal-Mart.
“There's plenty of room for big box retailers in greater Wallingford,” Brimberg says, “and the land was available. The area on Route 5 has a lot of commercial development, and a lot of the retailers like the proximity of one another to draw off the traffic.”