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GGP denies ‘delay’ of The SoNo Collection

A page from GGP’s plans on file in Norwalk Planning and Zoning.

A page from GGP’s plans on file in Norwalk Planning and Zoning.

NORWALK, Conn. – Developers of The SoNo Collection deny that their mall is going to open later than planned.

Although a press release from Macy’s Inc. revealed an opening date of Fall 2019 and developers said in April that the mall would open in October 2018, General Growth Properties (GGP) Associate Developer Rob Jakubik said the opening date has always been “fluid.”

Jakubik said GGP will pull a construction permit from Norwalk soon, characterizing the prediction made by Norwalk Chief Building Official Bill Ireland of a mid-January permit as accurate.

Macy’s Inc., the parent company of Bloomingdale’s, issued two press releases on Jan. 4. One said sales had declined 2.1 percent in November and December from the previous year, in departments it owns solely, and 2.7 percent when you include third party vendors. The other press release outlined plans to close 68 stores and reorganize the field structures that supports the remaining stores.

As part of the second release, Macy’s Inc. mentioned that a store would open in The SoNo Collection in fall 2019.

GGP Senior Developer Doug Adams said in April that GGP was still on track to open The SoNo Collection in October, 2018.

As late as October, Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan said that GGP was still planning to begin construction by the end of 2016.

“It hasn’t really been delayed. I think the timeline of the construction start was always pretty fluid, depending on permitting and approvals from the city. So, we are where we are,” Jakubik said Tuesday, after commenting that GGP had not announced a delay.

The 2019 date was a projection from Macy’s, he said, later adding, “that’s probably about right.”

“It’s subject to change but that’s kind of what’s out there right now,” Jakubik said. “When you are in the ground, you have a bad winter or something could delay it. Or if things going well, it could open (early). So, it’s really fluid.”

GGP has a contractor with an office in Norwalk, and they’re preparing to mobilize, he said.

“Our goal is to be in the ground as soon as possible,” Jakubik said.

The communication with the city “is there on our end” but “we also need clarification on a few things,” he said.

“We are moving forward with all of our processes but prior to get into the ground we have a few outstanding items left,” he said.

It’s been said that Norwalk will get about $5 million in construction permit fees from the mall but that’s not quite accurate, Jakubik said.

Some of that will come from the individual stores getting permits to build their interiors once the mall’s structure is completed, he said.

5 comments

Nora K King January 13, 2017 at 7:42 am

The date was always Fall of 2018. The shovels will need to be in the ground very very soon for that to happen. 2019 was never part of any of the discussions with planning or zoning in the city. They should be held accountable to this deadline.

Lisa Thomson January 13, 2017 at 9:55 am

” It’s been said that Norwalk will get about $5 million in construction permit fees from the mall but that’s not quite accurate, Jakubik said.”

Nancy, Did you just bury the lead of this story? In light of the challenges with the 2017 budget, just exactly how much tax revenue are Norwalkers going to see with mall?

Donna S January 13, 2017 at 2:24 pm

In the interim, perhaps the city could with the SoNo merchants association and commerical property owners to fill retails spaces that are already sitting vacant all along Water Street, Washington Street, Main Street, West Ave and Wall Street. The city doesn’t do itself any favors when construction on these streets combined with poor traffic abatement make it difficult for retail establishments to survive. Imagine a cafe on Water Street cultivating a solid lunch business with portions of Water Street closed to traffic and police posted at eithe end of the closure but doing absulotely nothing to mitigate the resulting congestion. Even the Christimas decorations on Washington Street screamed “stay home” or worse “Do Your Shopping in Westport!” There is no problem this city has that a shopping mall will solve. And while a potential $5 million in building fees sounds like quite a windfall, as long as Norwalk clings to their parochial ways, the city will continue to flounder. Beautiful Fire House though! How did that happen?

Bill Nightingale Jr January 14, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Lisa:

After the property tax abatements, sponsored by the ever blundering Redevelopment Agency, the property tax revenue from this project is pathetically small. Considering the 20 + years this project has floundered and the years of vacant lot it is almost certainly a large net loss to taxpayers.

Piberman January 15, 2017 at 10:13 am

The real story here might just be basic prudence by GGP learning the Walk Bridge timing.
Opening a new Mall while the City’ downtown is discombobulated with Walk Bridge construction will not encourage GGP investors or customers.

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NancyOnNorwwalk.com was conceived as the place to go for Norwalk residents to get the real, unvarnished story about what is going on in and around their city. NancyOnNorwalk does not intend to be a print newspaper online; rather, it exists to pull the curtain back and shine a spotlight on how Norwalk is run and what is happening regarding issues that have an impact on taxpayers’ pocketbooks and safety. As an independent site, NancyOnNorwalk’s first and only allegiance is to the reader.

About Nancy

Nancy came to Norwalk in September 2010 and, after reporting on Norwalk for two years for another company, resigned to begin Nancy On Norwalk so she engage in journalism the way it was meant to be done. She is married to career journalist Mark Chapman, has a son, Eric (the artist and web designer who built this website), and two cats – a middle-aged lady and a young hottie who are learning how to peacefully co-exist.