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The Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill is located in Redding’s Georgetown village. The Wire Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Wire Mill site is also a brownfield.

A brownfield is defined by Connecticut General Statutes §32-760 as “any abandoned or underutilized site where redevelopment, reuse or expansion has not occurred due to the presence or potential presence of pollution in the buildings, soil or groundwater that requires investigation or remediation before or in conjunction with the restoration, redevelopment, reuse and expansion of the property.”

The Town of Redding took ownership of 44 acres of the Wire Mill property in 2020, after a lengthy foreclosure process that began in 2015 ended at the Connecticut Supreme Court in a victory for the Town.


What’s Happening Now at the Wire Mill…..

Environmental & structural site assessments began in 2022 and continue today funded by $400,000 in Department of Economic Development Office of Brownfield Redevelopment grants awarded to the Town. ($200,000 awarded June 2022 and $200,000 awarded June 2023.) This work is a prerequisite for any entity, public or private, seeking state and/or federal brownfield funds to assist with brownfield remediation and redevelopment.

For more detail on the environmental and other assessments funded under the Brownfield Grant program….

June 2023 – October 2023

Environmental Assessment Work Plan Summer 2023-Fall 2023
Presentation: Update on Phase I and Phase II Environmental Assessments May 22, 2023

October 2022 – May 2023

Following the completion of the phase I environmental site assessment at the Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill property in July of 2022, licensed environmental professionals (engineers) from the firm Tighe & Bond are conducting a environmental hazards gap analysis, hazardous building materials survey, structural review of the Norwalk River walls, and a structural review of the historic buildings. The summary findings will be presented to the public at a meeting in May. 

May 22, 2023 Presentation to the public: Progress report on phase II assessments: (link below)

Presentation: Update on Phase I and Phase II Environmental Assessments May 22, 2023

January 2022 – July 2022 Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment

The first deliverable under an CT Department of Economic Development Office of Brownfield Redevelopment Assessment Grant  is a phase I environmental site assessment. This is a requirement of any property owner seeking brownfield funding through DECD and EPA.

The Town of Redding was awarded a $200,000 Brownfield Assessment Grant in June 2021. The phase 1 site assessment was initiated in the in late 2021 and completed in July 2022, followed by a presentation to the Town of the findings and recommendations for next steps. The phase 1 site assessment revealed gaps in prior environmental surveys and new areas of concern (AOCs).

A series of additional environmental & structural assessments were recommended as the progression of the overall site assessment continues. The work is also funded by the $200,000 grant.

July 18, 2022:  BOS Meeting with Tighe and Bond: Powerpoint slides Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Update (ESA) and recommendations for next steps


Georgetown Special Taxing District

Georgetown Special Taxing District Notice of Name & Description of Territorial Limits

Enabling Legislation


Georgetown Special Taxing District Bylaws (GSTD)

Secured Debt

The Georgetown Special Taxing District (GSTD), controlled by the former developer, issued debt to finance development. The developer defaulted on the bonds. Repayment of the bonds remains an obligation of the Georgetown Special Taxing District (GSTD) and not the Town of Redding.
Repayment of the bonds are tied to tax revenues of the Georgetown Special Taxing District.

Market Analysis of 2007 Master Plan

2005 Report CCEA UCONN: The Economic Impact of the Redevelopment of the Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill

Studies – Vibrant Communities Initiative Grant

Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation

Gilbert and Bennett Wire Mill Historic Core Historic Preservation Feasibility and Concept Design Final Report, February 2015
Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation – Vibrant Communities Initiative
Architect and M/E/P Engineer: WASA/Studio A

Implementation Strategy: Preservation of the Historic Resources at the Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill, February 2015
Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation –  Vibrant Communities Initiative
Prepared by the Cecil Group, Inc. in Coordination with WASA Architects/Studio A

Land Use: Zoning Commission

2004 Master Plan Application _Gilbert & Bennett_Georgetown Land Development Co. LLC
2004 Illustrative Master Plan Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill  Georgetown Land Development Co., LLC
Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company – Architects and Town Planners

2006 GLDC Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill Site Plan Submission
2012 Sequence of Land Use Approvals

Traffic Study 2004

Traffic Report, Traffic Operations Plan, and Roadway Improvements. Consultant to GLDC Fitzgerald Halliday


A Georgetown Story 
    a film by John E. Maher

The Georgetown History Project
Georgetown Village Restoration


Gilbert and Bennett Wire Mill

The Gilbert and Bennett Wire Mill is the heart of Redding’s Georgetown neighborhood. Plans to redevelop the site into a mixed use village collapsed amid the financial crash of 2008 and the ensuing recession. What follows is an abbreviated timeline of key events in the history of the redevelopment.

  • 1848         Gilbert & Bennett Manufacturing Co. begins operations in Georgetown
  • 1989         Gilbert & Bennett declares bankruptcy and closes the mill
  • 2002         Gilbert & Bennett tax liens are sold to Georgetown Land Development Corp. (GLDC)
  • 2004         GLDC develops plans for a mixed-use walkable village district
  • 2005         Redding Zoning Commission approves Master Plan.
  • 2005         CT Legislature passes legislation creating a Georgetown Special Taxing District
  • 2005         Georgetown Special Taxing District receives $5mm USDA loan to build sewer
  • 2008         Financial crash of 2008 stalls redevelopment
  • 2009         Georgetown Special Taxing district issues $14,45 million GO Bond to finance project
  • 2009 – 2015 Multiple attempts to revive the development fail.
  • 2015         The Town of Redding filed for foreclosure with the unanimous support of the Board of Finance and the Board of Selectmen.
  • 2016          The Superior Court ruled in favor of the Town.The owner GLDC appealed and the case went to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
  • 2019          December 17, 2019 CT Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Town of Redding et al V Georgetown Land Development Co LLC et al.
  • 2020         September 21st CT Supreme Court ruling in the Town’s of Redding’s favor.
  • 2021         February.  The Town of Redding takes title to the Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill
  • 2021         June.  Town of Redding is awarded a $200,000 CT DECD Brownfield Assessment Grant grant. The grant will fund a phase I environmental site assessment and related planning activities.
  • 2022         March. Commence work on the phase I environmental site assessment.

What’s Next 2022-23

1. Environmental Site Assessment: Phase I – estimated 4 month turnaround and if necessary, targeted Phase II
2. Engineering Assessment: Norwalk River Walls
3. Community Engagement: Plan for the future uses of the site

Following the initial assessments funded by the $200,000 grant, the Town is eligible to apply to future grant rounds of up to $2mm per grant, to fund additional assessments, planning activities, infrastructure, partial remediation of contaminated materials.

Improvements to the river walls to remove the property from the flood zone and DOT required improvements to the intersection with route seven are required before development can commence. Cost estimated in the range of $7mm. In 2013, the State of Connecticut approved a  $5.6 million grant for this work contingent on the developer securing private funds to build phase i housing in the west pond district.  The grant was withdrawn when the developer could not secure financing for the housing project.

Wire Mill Public Forum Recordings

Redding Got Mill 9-30-15 from Robert Moran on Vimeo.

Tim Sullivan, Deputy Commissioner CT DECD
Wes Haynes, CT Trust for Historic Preservation
Julia Pemberton, First Selectwoman