Your Stories: Progress Made in Plan to Fix Up Blighted Milford Building

There may finally be progress in sight for neighbors frustrated by a blighted building on Milford’s Naugatuck Avenue.

A new permit has been granted for construction of a split commercial and residential building.

NBC Connecticut first investigated the building at 257 Naugatuck Avenue in October. Neighbors and nearby business owners were sick of looking at it, and expressed concerns about the roofless, boarded-up building attracting graffiti, crime, and possibly affecting their property values and overall neighborhood perception.

The property is well-known to the city. Blight complaints on record with the city's health department date back more than 10 years. The health department is responsible for the enforcement of Milford’s anti-blight ordinance.

But every time it’s come close to accruing fines or being demolished, the property has either been sold or promises to fix its various issues have been made, according to City Health Department director Deepa Joseph.

NBC Connecticut spoke to the current owner in October. Christopher Saley is a local real estate developer who bought the property in 2013 before he became Public Works Director for the City of Milford in 2014.

At the time, he detailed plans for a split commercial and residential building.

“We’ve had a few hiccups with it, a few starts and faults, right now we plan on starting construction in the next month and a half, that’s my goal,” Saley said.

But neighbors recently contacted NBC Connecticut once again to complain that more than four months later, nothing has changed.

New records obtained from the health department show Saley explored selling the property, but that didn’t work out. A blight violation extension was granted through mid-December based on a promise to either sell or develop the property. Failing that, the city would begin charging fines of $100 per day.

Saley notified the Health Department in mid-December that he was no longer pursuing sale of the property, that an application was pending for a new building permit, and construction would begin upon its approval.

Milford’s Building Official, Joseph D. Griffith, confirmed to NBC Connecticut that permit was approved and issued on February 13 for the same plans Saley showed in October -- a new three story building with apartments and commercial space.

When reached for comment this week, Saley told NBC Connecticut that personal family matters also played a role in the delay.

His new timeline for the project is to break ground in the next three weeks. He hopes to have the new building framed in four months and have it open to residential and retail tenants within six to eight months.

Saley said he is hopeful the 3,000 square feet of first-floor retail space could be used as a market or butcher shop for the neighborhood and said he welcomes interested tenants.

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