MADISON — A Guilford developer has purchased an 11-acre vacant parcel at 155 New Road for $1.1 million and hopes to develop it within two years.
Straddling New Road, at the intersection with the Hammonasset Connector, the land was purchased in July by Kenny Horton, president of 155 New Road, LLC, a part of Horton Group, LLC.
At the initial site visit, Kenny Horton said he knew he wanted to acquire the property, 8 acres on the north side of New Road and 3 acres on the south side.
The northern piece of property sits about 6 feet above New Road.
“We looked across and we said, ‘…60,000 people drive by here every day, this is a great piece of property,’ ” he said, referring to its proximity to I-95. “We made an offer and purchased it that day.”
While this is the first Madison project for the Guilford-based company, Horton Group’s Guilford projects include The Residences at 66 High Street and an office park at 350 Goose Lane, the home of the former upscale Wilber & King Nurseries.
The Horton Group went before the Planning and Zoning Commission in July to discuss creating a Planned Development District in the Town of Madison.
"It’s a floating zone, which means that if you meet certain criteria you can apply to designate an area as a Planned Development District,” Town Planner Dave Anderson said.
“Right now, the property at 155 New Road, if you looked at our 2013 Plan of Conservation and Development, has a big red target around it and it was labeled as an opportunity area because its underlying zoning is for single family residential, but due to its location and proximity to the highway, proximity to EverSource, the commission recognized there’s likely a higher and better use for that property.”
Horton Group’s hope is that 155 New Road can be rezoned as a Planned Development District.
“It’s a way for the town to get something developed, encourage development,” said Kenny Horton. “It gives the developer the opportunity to build something on the property that will make it financially worthwhile.”
Kenny Horton envisions an office park, office or retail space or condominiums at 155 New Road, which has sat vacant for over 15 years.
The house on the property burned to the ground on July 24. While arson is being investigated, said KC Horton, an acquisitions analyst with Horton Group, the police have not narrowed down any suspect.
The structures on the property, including a barn, which remains standing, are not insured.
“It’s a complete loss for us and we would have bulldozed it in a day.” said Kenny Horton.
Standing on the site last month, KC Horton said the remains of the house and the barn will be completely demolished before sitework commences on the property, including tree clearing, grading and leveling of the property.
While he said development on the property could be two years away, they are excited about its location in close proximity to Hammonasset State Park and biking and hiking trails.
“The only reason we’re marketing the site right now we want people to know this is something coming down the pike that could be approved in the future, get people to start thinking about it and start creating relationships with people,” KC Horton said.
KC Horton said working with town officials, in particular Anderson, has been a positive experience.
“Everyone in town has been nothing but supportive of us,” he said. “Everybody, all the stakeholders involved, want to see something that benefits everyone.”
Anderson stressed that residents will be a part of the process.
“It’ll involved a high level of public involvement,” he said. “People will be aware when something comes in for that and hopefully, they’ll be excited about it. Some of the stuff that Kenny’s hoping to bring forward I think people will be happy about.”