Published January 18. 2013 4:00AM
New London - The owner of a former wholesale seafood business in Fort Trumbull wants to bring a five-story, stacked-boat storage facility and marine repair shop to waterfront property on Trumbull Street.
Peter Foss, who owns a 0.88-acre lot with an empty brick building on it, is teaming up with William Engdall, who owns and operates Niantic Bay Mobile Marine. The pair would tear down the existing building and replace it with a 153-by-125-foot galvanized steel building which would accommodate 104 boats up to 34 feet long.
Boats would be stored year-round and put into the water at the owner's request with a specially designed forklift, Engdall said. He would operate the business, which would also include a marine retail store.
"Nothing is final yet," said Foss of Race Rock Capital of Mystic, who owned the former Foss & Bourke Wholesale Lobsters in Fort Trumbull.
Foss said he is working with the Renaissance City Development Association, the former New London Development Corp., to negotiate for parking on RCDA property.
While Foss owns the land on the waterfront, his other property across Trumbull Street, where he is proposing parking, was taken by eminent domain more than 10 years ago. He received $330,000 for the land, which is now empty and zoned for parking and marina support.
"We are cautiously optimistic,'' Foss said. He will be meeting with the RCDA in the next few weeks to discuss parking needs.
"It's a project he would be building on his property, and in that case, the RCDA is simply a cheerleader for improving the amount of water access in the fort,'' said John Brooks, of the RCDA. "The only regulatory involvement we would have is looking for additional parking.''
Over the years, Foss retained ownership of about an acre of waterfront while nearly all the land around him was sold or taken by eminent domain as part of the 80-acre Fort Trumbull Municipal Development Plan.
He has proposed other projects on the site, including first expanding the seafood wholesale business to include a restaurant and marina, and later constructing a seven-story building with office space, condominiums and rooftop restaurant. Those plans were met with resistance from the former NLDC, Foss said, and were scrapped because of the economy.
Foss said the $3 million project would be financed through his firm, Race Rock Capital, and WorldBusiness Capital Inc. of Hartford.