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POKO likely to be given another six months

Attorney Liz Suchy, left, represents POKO Partners to Norwalk Zoning Commission members Monday night in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s Zoning Commission appears set to grant another six-month extension to POKO Partners for its Wall Street Place project – this time with many conditions.

The three-member Plan Review Committee voted unanimously to recommend that POKO be given that extension at Wednesday’s Zoning Commission meeting. This would be the sixth extension for the developer, which Commissioner Mike O’Reilly described as “poorly funded.”

Zoning Commission Chairman Joe Santo said the conditions came out of a conversation with new Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola. This would be the first time the commission has put conditions in an extension for POKO, Santo said. The conditions include paying the building permit fee by May 22, before POKO would be eligible for another extension.

The current extension expires Dec. 20. If the commission does not approve the extension, POKO could conceivably pull a building permit and be in compliance, but Attorney Liz Suchy, representing POKO, said that wouldn’t happen.

Under the new agreement, POKO would be required to submit seven pieces of information by Jan. 23:

  • The details of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) commitment of a $5 million Urban Investment Grant
  • The details of POKO’s application to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) for low income housing tax credits
  • Evidence of Norwalk Redevelopment Agency support for the project and details for any conditions
  • Estimated date of completion for drawings needed to obtain a zoning permit
  • Estimated cost for obtaining a building permit and written confirmation of that amount from the building department
  • Estimated date for the surety to be submitted
  • Provide funding source for above surety

By March 20, POKO would be required to:

  • Provide evidence of closing on the $19.8 million loan from Citibank
  • Provide updates on funding commitments from DECD and CHFA
  • Submit the required surety
  • Submit zoning permit drawings
  • Provide estimated date for completion of building permit drawings

By May 22, POKO would be required to:

  • Provide updates on DECD and CHFA funding and the Citibank loan
  • Show evidence that approved zoning permits have been obtained
  • Show evidence that completed building permit drawings and building permit fees have been submitted to the building department

“I don’t think they have demonstrated good faith at all and I have serious doubts that this project is going to get built,” Commissioner Jim White said. “… It’s just disgraceful the condition this property has been kept in and I don’t think they deserve an extension.”

Nevertheless, White seconded the motion to recommend approving the extension. Mike Mushak made the motion.

Santo said he agreed with White, before speaking about the matter with Coppola.

6 comments

Oldtimer December 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

Is POKO looking for somebody to buy the property and take over the development ? Fowler did that with 95/7, and there are other big developers with plenty of money.

piberman December 10, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Not even the Tooth Fairy believes POKO will soon be breaking ground. Norwalk continues to be the best example of failed development in the state. No credit to the P&Z Committee for always saying “yes”. The “New Norwalk” looks like the “Old Norwalk”

Ed December 10, 2013 at 9:11 pm

So what is the stick? Or else? Or else what? Another revised extension? Can we get additional on what the commissions postion is if the devolper fails to meet the requirements?

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