MERIDEN — The city’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital site appear to be moving forward, with officials now seeking the City Council’s authorization to pursue new state grant funding to demolish a significant portion of the building.
The city previously had agreements with a developer, One King LLC, to redevelop the home of the former hospital as well as the former medical office building at 116 Cook Ave. Those agreements expired in late 2021, with neither the city nor developer pursuing extensions of either pact.
City Economic Development Director Joseph Feest, in an email to the Record-Journal on Thursday, wrote, “My idea is to leave the old nurses hospital building up and the parking garage for future development. As you are aware we have spent a considerable amount of money to remediate the property in the past and I would like to see some type of development on this site in the future. We have no guarantee that we will receive this grant but the city is hopeful.”
According to a proposed council resolution that has been forwarded to the council’s Finance Committee, city officials seek $6 million in new state grant funding, established for competitive eligible projects in distressed municipalities, with a 25% match, “which would allow for the future development of this site.”
As Feest alluded to, the resolution notes officials deemed the site’s parking garage and nursing hospital “should stay with the rest of the building being demolished.”
The next Finance Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 27 at Meriden City Hall.
The city had previously expended $4 million in state and city funds to complete brownfield remediation work on the site, now referred to as 1 King Place. The city had obtained the property through a foreclosure sale from its former owner, Bradley Research Center LLC, in 2014. The sale price was just under $1.32 million. Two years later, the city would enter into a deal with One King LLC to develop the site.
The developer had proposed a $33 million project to repurpose the property as a potential senior citizen lifestyle campus, with apartments, medical offices and retail. But over the life of the development deal, the agency was never able to secure the financing needed to see that vision through, according to previous Record-Journal reports.
The site has sat abandoned and unused for too long, said City Councilor Michael Rohde, who chairs the Economic Development, Housing and Zoning Committee. Rohde envisions the site could provide the city with “an additional quality of life spot.”
“My sense is until we get flood control finished in that whole area, and we can tell a developer it’s clean and it’s going to be flood proof, it will be hard to market it,” he said. “I think it will be a nice space once it happens. I would like to see a whole neighborhood over there, quite frankly… It could be a nice neighborhood.”