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GGP gets traffic approval, looks to break ground by 2017

A rendering of The SoNo Collection, as planned by General Growth Partners (GGP).

A rendering of The SoNo Collection, as planned by General Growth Partners (GGP).

NORWALK, Conn. — Yes, General Growth Properties is still planning to begin construction on The SoNo Collection by the end of December.

“They are still anticipating breaking ground this year,” Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan said at Thursday’s Common Council Planning Committee meeting. “They still have an approval that is slated to come through zoning that deals with the signage and with some site modifications. Once that is approved … (Norwalk Chief Building Official) Bill Ireland has indicated that he has already reviewed everything relative to the foundation permit. The foundation permit is just awaiting the signoff. So the anticipation is that once the zoning approval is in place that foundation permit will be pulled and they will be doing site work and advancing the foundation.”

The Zoning Committee is slated to consider GGP’s site modifications for the second time next week. Then the full Commission is expected to vote on Oct. 19.

Good news for Reed Street pedestrians – the Office of the State Traffic Administration (OSTA) has instructed GGP to build a 4-foot wide sidewalk on Reed Street between Cedar Street and West Avenue.

A sidewalk had been suggested during the approval process for the mall, but GGP had objected due to the cost. The Zoning Commission removed the requirement and now it is back.

GGP was told to put in a sidewalk on North Water Street, GGP Senior Planner Doug Adams said at the Sept. 8 Zoning Committee meeting.

The state also instructed GGP to create a “more gentle” turning radius on West Avenue at the Interstate 95 entrance ramp, so that it’s easier for drivers to make the turn, Adams said.

West Avenue is being adjusted a but funnel traffic through the bridge abutment, he said.

Adams did not reply to an email earlier this week asking if GGP has received the final OSTA approval but Sheehan said Thursday that it has.

GGP has a number of modifications for its design, which were discussed with the Zoning Committee on Sept. 8. The staircase on the corner of North Water Street and West Avenue has been made shorter, partially out of concern that GGP was inadvertently creating a rock-climbing wall, Senior Designer Paul Madden said. The scale of the green wall outside of the building will be different, he said.

The sculpture garden planned for the northwest corner has been modified to allow retail on its second floor, Madden said.

The roof top terrace has been reoriented and the idea of a retail kiosk up there has been dropped, because GGP realized that the kiosk would be seasonal and therefore was a detriment for much of the year, Madden said.

Adams mentioned the possibility of using synthetic ice for a skating rink.

The Cecil Group is reviewing the signage plan for the property and the west façade and east façade are the two biggest points under discussion, Adams said.

3 comments

Piberman October 7, 2016 at 10:33 am

Will GGP and its shareholders be influenced by Mayor Rilling’s enthusiastic acceptance of Gov. Malloy’s billion dollar plan to rebuild the Walk Bridge with its horrendous congestion and major economic losses over the next 5 or 6 years ? Or will GGP remain silent ? Or will they encourage the Mayor to file an application with the USCG changing the river navigation’s status as suggested by Rep. Himes ? Will Norwalk’s downtown be subject to 2 unprecedented complex projects at the same time – building a multi-billion dollar Mall and building a billion dollar bridge within just 2 blocks of each other ?

Those of us who look forward to the downtown Mall need ask Mayor Rilling why he favors a devastating bridge project that will seriously impede both the construction and success of the Mall ? Is this the price paid by Norwalk for the Mayor’s fealty to Gov. Malloy ? Is this the way of saying “thank you” to GGP ?
Or is the bridge the Mayor’s real “Legacy” to our City ?

Adolph Neaderland October 7, 2016 at 11:11 am

In light of the current (and likely future) of a water shortage, it would be in our best interest if a very high standard (not the current “minimal” State Code) for water conservation be imposed.

The current estimate of 100,000g/d for this project is likely to go higher, and would be an unnecessary major drain on our water supply.

Piberman October 7, 2016 at 10:20 pm

Mr. Neaderland:
City residents over recent decades haven’t been too concerned about environmental matters. No one seems concerned about the pollution from I-95 traffic delays. Or exhaust from another million visitors monthly to the new Mall. Or swimming at Calf Pasture a mile down from the sewage plant. No one gets concerned about the downstream pollution of rivers into the Sound carrying pesticides etc. City residents aren’t likely to be concerned about “water quality” or “water supplies”. Especially those of us relying on deep wells for drinking water. City residents tend to focus on their property taxes. And making ends meet.
It’s what makes us a “modern city”.

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