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City should OK mall plan to allow developer to meet timeline

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Updated 3 a.m. Aug. 5

Clay Fowler is chairman and CEO Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, LLC

To the Editor,

We wholeheartedly support Senator Duff’s appeal to the City of Norwalk to move this project expeditiously through the approval process. As SoNo’s largest property owner, we believe the SoNo Collection will enhance the community and create value for the city, its residents, local businesses and stakeholders.

We are writing to respectfully urge the Mayor and the City of Norwalk to take all the necessary steps needed to meet the timeline that GGP has requested. The project represents a rare and unique development opportunity with a highly experienced developer. GGP has already secured two premier retailers, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, to anchor the proposed center. In addition, GGP’s relationships with national brands will bring new and exciting retail options to our city. The long term benefits to residents and local businesses will be tremendous.

The project is aligned with Norwalk’s planning goals and objectives. It creates thousands of new jobs, many for local residents. Furthermore, tax revenues will increase substantially as a result of this project. These revenues are a critical resource for Norwalk, and will help our entire community grow and prosper. This project provides Norwalk the opportunity to become a premier destination in the Northeast, leading the region in thoughtful economic development and attracting new visitors to our great City.

It’s time for the City to show GGP that they are serious about bringing this project to Norwalk. Let’s get to work.

Clay Fowler

4 comments

Kevin Di Mauro August 4, 2015 at 6:49 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with Clay Fowler but with one correction.

His final statement “Let’s get to work” should be “Let’s get the shovels in the ground”.

sofaman August 4, 2015 at 9:28 pm

Mr. Fowler,

There’s a lot of great things to do with this project, and it’s easy to get caught up with the excitement of it all. But there’s such a thing as due diligence. There seems to be an abundance of lack of due diligence regarding this project.

To start with, traffic. It really doesn’t matter if there is a hospital, a university or any other kind of structure build here. The developer’s representative has frequently claimed a visitation rate of 1,000,000 visitors per month, yet I’ve been asking for a long time and nobody, nobody has offered a traffic study that demonstrates that the Norwalk road system can handle this traffic flow.

So, Mr. Fowler, could you please help get this project going by confirming here that this study has been completed?

Suzanne August 5, 2015 at 8:24 am

The benefits to Mr. Fowler are clear: the actual facts of “bringing new and exciting retail options” to Norwalk as a singular benefit to a community with far greater needs than a “premier” shopping experience (how about a premier education experience?) as well as the facts behind it are dubious, except to those who will benefit: that would be Mr. Fowler and GGP.

How this is aligned with “Norwalk’s planning goals and objectives” remains a mystery. A shopping Mall, lets keep this in perspective, is a Mall is a Mall is a Mall. This does not a Northeast destination make – unless all of the previous Mall destinations mentioned in other threads have made Trumbull, Stamford, Danbury and Westchester THE places to be and be seen and shopping is what concerns our residents the most.

No context, no connection, very little job benefit, a tax return to Norwalk that will take years (while GGP and the State will realize benefits immediately), no traffic plan, an architectural style that is in demise all over the country, an appeal to a demographic that represents very, very few Norwalk residents. The minimum provided community spaces in places practically unusable, adjacent similar facilities in every direction, no costs being counted for Norwalk – and there will be costs.

What a great idea! Let’s build something big, really, really big that benefits the movers and shakers and leaves the remaining residents in the dust, has no long term advantages and, in fact, if national trends are to be believed, has long term costs to Norwalk when the enterprise goes into demise.

A flash in the pan is being promoted by those who will benefit the most and it is not Norwalk. They are building in a town with a history of hundreds of years yet they are looking down the twenty year line at their experienced corporate profit gain at Norwalk’s expense.

Norwalk4Life August 5, 2015 at 9:22 am

If they build the mall I hope there will be NO special tax considerations. They should pay their fair share from day 1.

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