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Developer Wants Your Ideas for Church Hill Road Property

What would you like to see built here? Photo Credit: Gary Jeanfaivre
What would you like to see built here? Photo Credit: Gary Jeanfaivre
In its heyday many decades ago, the property at 57 Church Hill Road was a feed, grain and hardware store owned by R.H. Holcomb.

The name Holcomb may sound familiar to locals, as he later started a fuel business that is currently located on South Main Street in town.

Over the years that Church Hill property saw different owners and occupants, including Apex Glass, which is now located on Riverside Road, and American Wire Corp. It aged, too. 

Eventually, it fell into a significant state of disrepair and became the target of Newtown's recently enacted, and somewhat controversial, blight ordinance.

On Friday, it was demolished.

Now the new owner of the property, Greenwich-based Wilnin Capital LLC, wants to hear from the Newtown residents about what they'd like to see there, according to an article published on the Newtown Bee's website.

Before jumping in with your ideas, consider these facts:

  • The 1.2-acre property is in an Industrial Zone.
  • It's served by the same driveway as an abutting 5.22-acre parcel that is also owned by Wilnin. 
  • It's situated between Newtown Hardware and the railroad tracks, just off I-84.
  • It has 250 feet of frontage on Church Hill Road.
So, what do you think? What would be a good use for this property?
Steve Bowers February 09, 2014 at 02:00 PM
How about a music store because there isn't any in newtown or a 3d printing place, or a concert venue which honestly would be better in Fairfield Hill's
MarkT145 February 09, 2014 at 02:22 PM
Turk is correct. This will never be developed more than likely and will be sold. It took a village to get it demolished I doubt the person forced to demolish will be in good spirits to develop anything there. Should it ever be developed I would avoid catering to elderly baking crowds and think about what will attract young couples who spend money, have kids, and buy houses. We need those people to increase housing prices, increase enrollment, and increase tax bases. Just a thought. And Steve, no offense but it's 2014 not 1985. We all buy digital music now. Even grandparents. I haven't even touched a CD since 1995. They don't even make good coasters.
KR February 09, 2014 at 03:01 PM
Honestly, we need more recreation in this town. Something for the kids to do. I love the idea of bowling or duckpin bowling, something modern and clean and family-oriented. You could even put a few fun, non-violent video games in there, and a cool little snack bar.
Newtown Resident and Teacher February 09, 2014 at 03:06 PM
As Turk 182 pointed out, this property is zoned Industrial, and there are plenty of Retail properties all over town to the businesses described in the comments. (Don't forget - Make a Home Foundation was housed on an Industrial property and they were catching heat for behaving like a Retail establishment.)
NewtownMark February 09, 2014 at 03:16 PM
Ok - the how about a nail salon?
Paul Alexander February 09, 2014 at 04:40 PM
Here's a radical thought...how about you simply allow the property owners...you know, the people risking THEIR capital...to put in whatever the hell business they want within the zoning restrictions already in place. And let them hire whoever they want and let them pay whatever amount they want. 100 bucks says that Betty J NEVER owned her own business. Her comments are pure lunacy.
Sam Mihailoff February 09, 2014 at 05:00 PM
we had a bowling alley
Anne Openmind February 09, 2014 at 05:20 PM
Paulo, No comprende Ingles? Now the new owner of the property, Greenwich-based Wilnin Capital LLC, wants to hear from the Newtown residents about what they'd like to see there, according to an article published on the Newtown Bee's website. ps: here is another radical thought: Let Newtown residents decide what is right for Newtown !
Turk 182 February 09, 2014 at 05:46 PM
Again, keep in mind real developers do not take a survey for what is a good fit for any particular property. Wilnin Capitol is a loan shark who is trying to recover their interest in a foreclosed potentially contaminated property due to non payment on a bad loan. You are kidding yourselves if you think their intentions for that property has anything to do with the community or its needs. The fact is it is zoned industrial M-1 for the front lot and M-5 for the rear. The motive here is to maximize value of the parcels, not to do what the community wants. Develop within the zoning regulations and don't waste anymore time on hypothetical uses.
Paul Alexander February 09, 2014 at 08:55 PM
Anne Openmind...you start allowing "the community" to dictate what a property owner may or may not do with his property...beyond what zoning already limits...and you drive businesses AWAY and end up with a low business tax base... JUST like Newtown has today. No soup for you!
Anne Openmind February 09, 2014 at 09:17 PM
Paul Alexander... which part of " what they'd like to see there" , don't you understand?
Barbara Gambino February 09, 2014 at 10:28 PM
This is simple...we need to bring merchants to the town that are profitable which means they will stay.. Bring back a store like Tre Reggaze, a small boutique type store. If the goal is to have Sandy Hook be a village type retail area you need more shops/boutiques jewelry stores. I mean why were the sidewalks built if no one was going to walk on them? I am still shaking my head over that one.
Claudia Cooper February 10, 2014 at 07:08 AM
Gosh, the last thing we need is yet another gift shop. Or fast food. And I beg your pardon, it's not just "the elderly" who might like a quality bakery. Someone mentioned if you put a Trader Joe's in there, Caraluzzi's will be gone. So, umm, you're suggesting that the only reason Caraluzzi's is doing ok is because there are not other (equivalent) choices? Doesn't say much for Caraluzzi's if they couldn't compete.
BZK February 10, 2014 at 07:12 AM
Can this property be re-zoned for a retail establishment?? My vote would be for a Trader Joe's! Newtown could certainly benefit from increased jobs..including teens and elderly, healthy food options and a good community neighbor. TJ's would also draw folks from the Southbury area to our town. Sounds like a win-win to me!
Jennifer Reilly February 10, 2014 at 07:57 AM
I'd like to see light industrial...a place that provides real jobs, not part time retail jobs at minimum wage...that doesn't increase traffic on Church Hill Rd, but does increase our tax base.
A. G. P. February 10, 2014 at 08:42 AM
Why all this talk of contamination? the last article I saw said there wasn't any known. And of course they don't care about the community, but they are interested in what it feels is missing and would financially support. Also, I've actually talked to people at Trader Joes and they don't want to compete w/ Caraluzzi's. Finally, while industry is a nice goal, the tax structure of CT is unfriendly toward it
Janice Rossi February 10, 2014 at 11:35 AM
Claudia, I said if you put trader joes in Newtown Caraluzzis will go out of business. If you knew anything about that business you would understand margins. When you buy a gallon of milk at caraluzzis for $3.99 did you know Caraluzzis doesn't make $3.99 in profits? These stores survive on volume. Take 30% of volume out of the store and they can't survive
Paul Alexander February 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM
Excellent comment Jennifer!
Chris G February 10, 2014 at 12:18 PM
I've got to veto against the Wendy's idea Newtown has enough restaurants as is as well as a new establishment opening up directly across the street from my place pizza. Newtown popularity as well as traffic as certainly increased since the Sandy Hook tragedy (god bless) and I personally think the last thing we need is commercial revenue contributing to the hectic traffic on church hill. If you want my personal opinion how about opening a home and gardens store in that location fitting as a replacement for Lexington gardens?? I'm talking starter kits for indoor gardening as well as starter vegetable plants for tomatoes, squash, and many more not to mention fruit trees! The closest potential gardening store I can think of would maybe be Lowe's or Home Depot but as far as I can remember Lexington had it all. I truly think this would be something that would bring great income to Newtown as well as more people growing there own fruits and vegetables especially if they sell starter kits..all while trying to keep the commercial traffic low on church hill.
Adam Tilbe February 10, 2014 at 05:49 PM
Newtown could really use a carwash!
Glenn February 10, 2014 at 06:56 PM
Glad to see the respectful, rational, objective discussion Newtown! And we wonder why Fairfield hills sits and rots. You people need to get hobbies or something...
Gary Jeanfaivre (Editor) February 10, 2014 at 07:56 PM
Folks: this has been a great, civil exchange of ideas so far. Please, let's keep it that way.
porter gladstone February 10, 2014 at 09:48 PM
could use a gun shop. and also a U.S Immigrations office to help with deportation.
Paul Alexander February 11, 2014 at 08:03 AM
Porter, you erase my comment then comment on my erased comment so I'll repeat it. You're a recreant masquerading as a simple coward. And you think too much which keeps you from thinking clearly. And you def talk too much.
paramountresidential February 11, 2014 at 12:23 PM
It doesn't make any difference what the residents of Newtown want to be located in that space. The question asked is a rhetorical one, we all know the answer already. The money that owns the property will sell it to another investor or a developer (if they're lucky) or the existing owner will build it out to what they envision to be the best application. The property will sit vacant for years (just like the old gas station further down the street) while many entities will attempt to pass something through zoning and building amidst much outcry from residents who have no concept of what works in reality. Eventually, the local tree huggers (or the town) will buy it at a discount and make another open space with the intent for people to walk around on and smell the fumes from traffic.
Ryan K. February 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM
Reach out to Western CT Health Network and see if they have any plans to to build another research facility
Claudia Cooper February 12, 2014 at 07:26 PM
Doraozios's fine but i'd like a bakery that actually bakes bread! All they seem to have is sweets, if you look at their menu.
Lauryn Hutchinson February 14, 2014 at 12:50 PM
How about another school we don't need? We can always use schools that we can not fill with students. It helps increase my tax burden and insures that what money I have left goes the big box stores (and Amazon) as opposed to mom and pop stores. Keep up the good work Newtown!
Newtown mom February 14, 2014 at 03:23 PM
Why such immature comments? Why such negativity? I was shocked when I first went on the Patch by the way grown adults talk to each other. I feel sorry(truly)for you people who live life so down in the dumps and so angry. You should try to see the good in life and be grateful for what you have and be supportive of your neighbors. Life is too short for such meanness and pessimism.
Steve Bowers April 07, 2014 at 06:39 PM
when I said music store I ment more of an instrument store like a guitar shop or something along the lines of the but acd/record store would be cool as well and yes im 26 and still listen to vynal

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