Tunxis Hill complex getting $2M makeover
It's been 22 years since Tunxis Hill Shopping Center took over what had been known for decades as Kuhn's Corner, home to the legendary hot dog joint.
Now it's time for a $2 million makeover, according to Al Lenoci Jr. of United Properties and Black Rock Associates, the owner of the shopping center that has 13 retail spaces, and sits at the busy intersection of Tunxis Hill Cutoff and Black Rock Turnpike.
The work began about three weeks ago, and should continue for about four to six months, he said. "They're really pushing hard on it," Lenoci said.
All the stores will remain open during the renovations, which will include a new facade, windows, roofs, parking lot lights.
"We're the second-largest taxpayer in Fairfield," he said. "We like to update all of our properties and keep everything in triple A shape."
The shopping center houses Steffano's Restaurant, a walk-in medical clinic, a pediatric office, Blockbuster Video, Ambrosia Bakery, Shaw’s Jewelers, a salon, a liquor store, a dry cleaner and a nail salon.
The former Rite Aid store remains empty, but Lenoci said, "we're in negotiations with a national tenant."
He declined to identify the possible tenant.
The property was purchased in 1987 for $5.6 million and the shopping center, with 39,607 square feet, was built in 1988.
"It's certainly gratifying to see people re-investing and investing in our community," said Mark Barnhart, the town's community and economic development director. "There has been some drop-off in terms of permitting and building activity during the economic contraction, but not as much as some might think."
The work on the shopping center, Barnhart said, is one indication that Fairfield "has weathered the economic storm and fared a little better" than some other communities.
United Properties was created almost 40 years ago by Al Lenoci Sr. The privately held commercial and real estate company has a portfolio of more than 5 million square feet of holdings. Other United Properties and Black Rock Associates properties in town include office buildings at 75 Kings Highway Cutoff and 929 Kings Highway, and the shopping center at 1201 Kings Highway.