Middletown moves forward on warehouse plan

600,000-square-foot building on Del. 299 OK’d by planning commission

By Rachel Sawicki
Posted 10/23/21

MIDDLETOWN — Despite traffic concerns, the town’s Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved a proposal for a 600,000-square-foot warehouse on Auto Park Drive, off Del. 299, on Thursday.

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Middletown moves forward on warehouse plan

600,000-square-foot building on Del. 299 OK’d by planning commission

Posted

MIDDLETOWN — Despite traffic concerns, the town’s Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved a proposal for a 600,000-square-foot warehouse on Auto Park Drive, off Del. 299, on Thursday.

The Home Depot, Grotto Pizza, Holiday Inn, Lidl and Crooked Hammock Brewery are located in the area, and the construction of the warehouse would add 495 employee parking spaces and 238 truck bays, adding to traffic volume in the area.

Project developers Anthony Maras from PRDC Properties and Ring Lardner from Davis Bowen & Friedel Inc. said the parking lot will contain multiple access points, so vehicles on Auto Park Drive could cut through it to get to the other side.

“It’s more likely that the truck storage areas will be secured because that’s where the valuable materials are,” Mr. Maras said. “And because of the changing shifts, it would be difficult to have the top lot gated or secured because that would impede that flow, and we want to try to avoid backing up Auto Park Drive and impairing any of our neighbors getting their traffic in and out.”

He added that the lot is offset, so the exit on the opposite side of the entrance would not be clear and may discourage drivers from trying to drive through. One of the commission members, Frank Bailey, noted that many drivers already “fly” around the road by the lot.

“We have to address that safety concern,” he said.

The commission suggested that the town could eventually designate a specific truck route, but Mr. Maras had concern for interference with vehicles from the nearby Amazon warehouse in that case.

“I don’t want to set people up for failure, so that every truck driver feels like they’re going to come into Middletown and get whacked,” he said. “And if ours is the only truck-designated route, then if the Amazon guy leaves, happens to swing out the wrong way, all of a sudden, are our drivers getting popped?”

Mr. Maras added that the shift schedules will depend on the tenant of the complex, but it likely would not be a 24-hour operation. He also suggested that the tenant could create shift schedules around peak traffic hours, so employees are not arriving and leaving when traffic flow is already heavy.

On Oct. 4, mayor and Town Council approved rezoning the land parcels from employment/regional retail (C-3) to manufacturing industrial (M-I).

Overall, it would be about a year-and-a-half build that would begin after this winter, when the ground softens up and the foundation can be laid.

Mr. Maras said developers are negotiating with two potential tenants, and the final decision will be made around the end of the year.

Additionally, Mr. Lardner said the sanitary sewer would need to be rerouted around a nearby pond. He added that they are working with the current owner of the pond in the hopes of taking possession of it.

Mayor and Town Council still need to approve the construction, which will likely go to vote Nov. 1.