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Ansonia begins demolishing deserted factory, as officials dream of new economic opportunities

Demolition at SHW Casting in the Ferrell complex
Joe Amon
/
Connecticut Public
Demolition work has begun in Ansonia on decaying industrial buildings at SHW Casting in the Ferrell complex on North Main Street in Ansonia, Conn., Jan. 18, 2023.

Ansonia officials began knocking down a vacant industrial building last week, as they start an effort to demolish a large tract of empty manufacturing buildings downtown.

Ansonia Economic Development Director Sheila O'Malley said "the roof had collapsed [and] there was pilfering” at the former SHW Casting plant, which is the site of a $2 million demolition project that received state and federal grants.

“It looked like a hot mess,” Ansonia Corporation Counsel John Marini said. “It was an industrial wasteland, as is the rest of the site. If you have ever seen [the movie] ‘RoboCop,‘ the scenes at the end in the deserted factory in old Detroit, that’s basically the site.”

The rest of the buildings on the site are going through foreclosure for unpaid taxes. If the city gets possession of the rest of the site, it said it would clear most of it and redevelop it.

That process could come to a conclusion in the spring.

“That 60-acre site can fuel the entire valley and beyond. Great potential,” O’Malley said.

“There’s just a lack of space, lack of space for uses like manufacturing in the valley area,” Marini said. “That’s a massive amount of space, and it’s just not available in other areas of the valley.”

The manufacturing businesses on the site left decades ago, at the same time as a larger trend of reduced manufacturing in the United States.

Ansonia officials said they received many inquiries from businesses interested in the property.

Matt Dwyer is a producer for Where We Live and a reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department.

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