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City awaits cleanup funds for former medical office building

City awaits cleanup funds for former medical office building

MERIDEN — City officials are awaiting $1 million in funding to continue environmental cleanup at a former medical office building on Cook Avenue.

The city applied for a state brownfields grant for 116 Cook Ave., but was denied in December. Since then, officials have contacted U.S. Rep. Johanna Hayes for assistance in securing a federal grant, said Economic Development Director Joseph Feest.

“There are some building (asbestos) materials remaining on site,” Feest said.

The City Council voted in April to extend the preferred developer contract for the property to One King Place, the same developer chosen for the nearby former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital.

The state Bond Commission voted last fall to award $3.5 million to the city for continuing flood control efforts. The work at Butler, Cooper and Cook streets directly impacts the redevelopment at 116 Cook Ave., because the brook runs through the rear of the parcel.

The city acquired 116 Cook Ave. in 2009 and has spent $580,000 cleaning it up. The 2.8-acre parcel includes the 72,000-square-foot vacant building. In 2016, the city used a brownfields cleanup grant to remove an underground storage tank and approximately 200 tons of debris.

Preliminary plans show an apartment and commercial complex called “Bridgewater Village” — which would span more than 10 acres across 116 Cook Ave., 77 and 85 Cooper St., and 104 Butler St. It also calls for a 32,000-square-foot
commercial complex and eventually, two additional two-story apartment buildings.

The planned complex would total 124 apartments. The first phase is expected to cost $11.7 million, according to a development proposal.

In a shift away from other downtown projects, the 116 Cook Ave. development plan is among the first to charge market rates for apartments. It did not qualify for low-income housing tax credits or historic tax credits. One King LLC says funding is possible without tax credits.

“We are convinced that the project is finance-able without the support of governmental subsidies,” a development proposal states.
Twitter: @Cconnbiz

Broken windows on the former medical office building at 116 Cook Ave. in Meriden July 8, 2019. | Richie Rathsack, Record-Journal
A sign in front of the former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital on Cook Avenue in Meriden, Fri., June 28, 2019. One King LLC signed an agreement in June 2017 to transform the blighted, city-owned 325,000 square-foot structure and two-story parking garage into a housing and commercial complex. Dave Zajac, Record-Journal