Shopping center in Orange sold for $3.8 million

The Firelite shopping center, full of vacancies, was recently sold for $3.8 million.

The nearly vacant Firelite Shopping Center at the corner of Racebrook and Old Tavern roads — one of the most prominent commercial spots in town — recently was sold for $3.8 million and First Selectman James Zeoli couldn’t be happier.

The approximately 6-acre property that houses Patriot Bank, a nail shop, China Wok restaurant and a few other businesses had fallen into disrepair over the last several years, even though it’s a prominent spot that is a sort of gateway to Orange. The parcel can be seen from the Boston Post Road.

“It’s exciting,” Zeoli said. “It’s been in poor, underutilized condition for several years now. “We’re excited to see what comes.”

Zeoli, who even brought the parcel up during his re-election campaign as one he’d like to see redeveloped, said no plans have been filed yet, but he’s delighted it will be redeveloped because “it’s been in dire need of revamping.”

Town Clerk Pat O’Sullivan said records show the center was sold by Orange Holdings LLC to 35 Old Tavern Road LLC and was sold for $3.8 million.

Records in the secretary of the state’s office indicate one of the principals in the LLC that purchased the property is Robert Sachs, 51 Ciro Road, Branford. Sachs could not be reached for comment. The sale agent is listed as Joseph Friedler, with offices on State Street in New Haven.

The shopping center many years ago was a bustling, thriving center that houses a large market, retail shops and eateries.

Slowly, tenants moved out over the years and the space is mostly empty. At one point several years ago, many tenants poured out at once, complaining of rising rents.

In recent years, the Town Plan and Zoning Commission denied the application of a New York developer who wanted to build a four- to five-story, mixed-use plaza with stores, offices and 119 apartments.