Retail interest high in Route 7 site
The owners of the former Webster Bank building at 291 Danbury Road (Route 7 South) are hoping to attract a national retailer to the site.
The former bank building, which sits on more than two acres adjacent to some of the highest traffic counts in town, was purchased by a private investor group last week for $1 million, according to Todd Payne, owner of Goodfellow Real Estate.
Payne was the Realtor who represented the buyer, 291 Danbury Road LLC.
He said the group is looking to the long term and is interested in redeveloping the site into a retail use. Feasibility studies have been done on several uses, including a restaurant or pharmacy, he said.
"They would really like to have one tenant on the property, if at all possible," Payne said.
The 11,000-square-foot building on the site will likely be torn down to make room for new development, he said.
The building was originally constructed to serve as the headquarters for NewMil Bank, which was taken over by Webster Bank in 2006. Webster has since opened a new and smaller branch north along Route 7 in the shopping center anchored by Kohl's.
"The investors are certainly leaving their options open," Payne said. "While the building could potentially have some good medical uses, more than likely the site will be used for retail development."
The property, he said, has more than 30,000 cars passing by each day.
"It's definitely one of the best remaining corners in New Milford," he said. "And the retail market is really hot in New Milford right now. Retail has taken the lead in terms of leading us out of the down market caused by the recession."
With the retail mile quickly filling up along Route 7 near the border with Brookfield and Danbury, Payne said more and more interest is being paid to commercial zones in New Milford, particularly now that the Route 7 connector allows quicker access to the area from all points south.
"There is no question that the shorter travel time makes it easier for people to shop here and it also makes it a more attractive place to live," said Luigi Fulinello, the town's economic development director. "We're not in the same economic climate we were before.
"People have more confidence in the economy today and they're looking to make investments in a market where they still see some good opportunities," he added. "I'm sure, given the location, there will be a lot of interest in that property."
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