By Nancy Guenther Chapman
NORWALK, Conn. – Cheer up: It looks like at least one of Norwalk’s so-called bombsites will actually get a building on it.
Clayton Fowler of Spinnaker Real Estate Partners LLC confirmed Monday that construction is beginning at 20 North Water St., although there wasn’t much action on the lot at about 1 p.m.
A sign on the chain link fence at a parking lot adjacent to the property advertises that the lot is closed as of 5 p.m. Sunday. Heavy-duty construction equipment is parked there, and, at 1 p.m., a worker from Mars Electric was searching unsuccessfully for a construction super so he could hook up a temporary power supply.
The Norwalk Company building that stood on the lot for decades was demolished in July to make way for a 130,000-square-foot, mixed-use development with 107 rental units, 17,500 square feet of retail space and 3,200 square feet of restaurant space on the ground floor. Spinnaker subsequently approached the zoning commission and made a controversial request to move affordable housing units off site, citing unexpected expenses.
The move would make it more likely to get financing for the project, Certified Planner Rich Redniss of Redniss and Mead said at the second of two zoning commission meetings on the topic. Although the original plans called for 11 affordable (workforce) housing units on site, on Dec. 12 Spinnaker was given a green light to reduce that number to four units. Other units will be at 50 Connecticut Ave. and at one or two other locations.
Fowler said his company is “close” to getting the financing.
“I hope that we’ll be seeing a lot of work soon as we continue to gear up,” he said. “Obviously the beginning starts slowly because we can only get a couple of machines in there at a time. We have to do some piles.”
The parking garage planned for the back of the property, next to the railroad tracks, will be built first, as construction workers work their way back to the front of the parcel.
“The parking garage has to start first,” Fowler said. “As we back our way out of the job, physically that’s what has to happen.”
Construction work is also under way at Belpointe Capital’s Waypointe property on West Avenue.