Search is underway for new developer at Greenway Commons

The Greenway Commons project has hit a snag, but town officials are hopeful that a new developer will be found for the 14-acre property. (Architect’s rendering, courtesy Crosskey Architects.)

By JEN CARDINES

STAFF WRITER

It’s been one year since the Planning and Zoning Commission approved site plan modifications for Greenway Commons, and the slow-moving project recently saw a major setback.

Last month, Town Attorney Mark Sciota reported that the contract between Greenway Commons owner Howard Schlesinger and Diversity Reality Advisors became null and void.

Now, Schlesinger, founding partner at Meridian Partners, is seeking a new developer to move forward with construction. While the town oversees some of the grants Schlesinger applied for, the property is not owned by the Town of Southington.

“The town never owned it,” Sciota said. “This is between two individual parties.”

The former site of Ideal Forging, above, has been abandoned since 2003.

Formerly the site of Ideal Forging (which closed in 2003), the property was purchased in 2007 by Meridian, and it was approved for development under the name Greenway Commons. The Ideal Forging buildings were not demolished until 2015, but the property has been abandoned since 2003.

Meridian handled the demolition and clean-up, remediating the historic 14-acre manufacturing plant for the mixed use property.

Last August, the PZC took action on a proposed plan change, which modified the number of approved units from 263 to 245 with the intention of building 180 leased units and 65 condominium units at 167 Center St., 217 Center St., and 66 High St.

At that time, Diversity was on board to develop high-end condominiums and food-related stores, according to the presentation founding partner Nick Minoia gave to the PZC the night they approved the modifications.

Talk of the project has been scarce since then, and once again, development is on hold.

Sciota said the plans approved by PZC are good for five years, so it’s just a matter of finding developers to jump on board the project.

“We have not, in any way, given up hope,” he said. “We have made progress if you look at what the property looked like even a few years ago.”

Meridian is marketing to enlist new developers, and town officials said that they hope for good news in the near future. The blighted area has been a concern for well over a decade.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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