The federal government put Stratford’s Army engine plant on the auction block today for the third time this year.
Milford-based real estate developer Bob Hartmann said he’s the only bidder.
Hartmann, 63, of Hartmann Development, is touting a $1 billion plan to develop the former Army engine plant into a resort destination.
Last October he unveiled his vision for the property to politicians and the news media. That vision takes the shape of a public-private partnership that would fund the construction of movie and television production studios; a waterfront village with housing, shops, restaurants, bars and a boardwalk; a full-service hotel; public and private marinas; a wellness spa and an outdoor theater.
The federal government’s contribution in that alliance is $500 million for seed capital, environmental remediation, infrastructure improvements, installing renewable clean energy systems and constructing an interactive air and military museum and memorial field for soldiers.
Hartmann proposes to match that half-billion dollar investment.
He calculates the project would create 8,000 jobs.
Hartmann met with officials from the General Services Administration Friday in Boston, where he submit his $1 bid and $50,000 deposit.
“They haven’t accepted our check,” Hartmann said. “But we were the only bidders and we were the only bidders willing to pick up the cleanup cost.”
He estimates it will cost between $140 million and $150 million to remediate the property.
In the 14-year shadow of the closure of the sprawling manufacturing plant set on 78 acres of contaminated soil along the banks of the Housatonic River, real estate developers and investors have one by one proposed seemingly viable development projects for the property.
All have collapsed, often due to squeamish investors.
Most recently, a $9.6 million deal to transform the old factory into a campus of sound stages and multimedia studios under the name Hollywood East fell apart because investors couldn’t secure enough funding.
Hartmann said he has the money lined up, but as yet not the political support he needs to propel the project into action.
“There are still a lot of hurdles we have to go through,” Hartmann said. “We need the support of the Governor. We need the support of Rep. Rosa DeLauro because this is in her district. We need negotiate with the (Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) to see if they will fast-track the permitting process.”
He added, “But we’re on our way.”