GEORGETOWN, CT-Now that it has obtained approval for its master plan for the property, Georgetown Land Development Co. plans to begin construction in a few months on the first phase of its planned $300 million redevelopment of a former wire mill here. Last month the Redding Zoning Commission unanimously approved Georgetown Land Development Co.’s master plan for the redevelopment of the 55-acre former Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill site.

Stephen Soler, president of Georgetown Land Development Co. believes the firm can break ground by year’s end on the rehabilitation of “the Weaving Building,” which will contain 48 units of live-work loft space. Also part of the first phase will be the redevelopment of an existing 35,000-sf building on the property. The Weir Farm, a division of the US Forest Service, will occupy the building.

“After two years of hard work the Redding Zoning Commission has approved the master plan for redeveloping the former Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill,” Soler says. “When we began this process we wanted to ensure the town had an active voice in deciding the final outcome of this project.” He adds that the firm has actively encouraged and solicited feedback from the entire community. “Last fall we held seven days of public meetings dedicated to understanding what residents and neighbors would like to see built.”

In early 2005, Georgetown will begin the second phase that calls for the demolition of some buildings not deemed historically significant. Once removed, the land will serve as part of the footprint for the mixed-use development that will consist of 416 residential units, a large parking structure, more than 300,000 sf of mixed-use commercial space and a performing arts center. The plan also calls for a new train station on the Danbury spur of the Metro North Railroad line.

Soler says that the cost of the necessary infrastructure work will approach $50 million. The third phase will feature the construction of the residential housing component. The final phase will entail the development of the commercial buildings.

Remediation of the brownfield property will mainly involve capping of the lead and zinc that have been found in the soil. The property was the site of a wire mill plant from 1838 until its closure in 1989.

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