by Jim Fisher
BRIDGEPORT -- Planning Commission members unanimously approved Monday a plan by Cafaro Co. to sell the former Montgomery Ward building and surrounding parking to an unspecified company.
The pending sale is for 13.437 acres. The area is roughly guardrail-to-guardrail, from the point where the building meets the mall to a point between the building and Outback Steakhouse.
Meadowbrook Mall manager Marcello Lalama declined to comment what company is negotiating for the property and building.
"You'll know when everyone else knows. There will be a press release," he said.
Lalama said selling land as part of a potential deal was not uncommon for a developer. In fact, Cafaro Co. has sold land around Meadowbrook Mall before, including the plot for Toys 'R Us.
"You may have some tenants who prefer to own the land rather than lease," he said.
Bridgeport Economic and Community Development Director Randy Spellman said Monday the request approval has no effect on Bridgeport, but the reason for the request might.
"What we're hoping is that they have a reason for this subdivision," Spellman said.
The popular theory is that Target, which confirmed in April it had selected a site in the area for a new store, will demolish the building and construct a new one.
Norm Peters, senior vice president of Cafaro Co., mall owner, confirmed last week that a potential deal does include demolition of the building.
Peters declined to name the potential client.
Spellman said Monday he has spoken with "a couple of architectural and engineering firms" about possible construction at the mall. Those firms did not disclose their client, Spellman said.
"As far as actually speaking to someone from Target, I have not," he said.
Peters said last week Cafaro Co. is expecting to make an announcement within a couple weeks.
Staff writer Jim Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org