Tenants line up for The SoNo Collection, except on third floor

The SoNo Collection on Wednesday.

NORWALK, CT — A shoe store is among the latest businesses looking to play footsie with The SoNo Collection.

Journeys, a shoe chain, has submitted an application to the Norwalk Planning and Zoning department for a tenant-fit-up, a customization of rented space, for the mall under construction on West Avenue next to Interstate 95. So has EQ3, a Canadian furniture company, and L’Occitane, a beauty supply store that you can find in Westport. Rounding up the new additions as of Tuesday are Soma, an intimate apparel boutique for women; Pinstripes, where you could bowl or play bocce; Abercrombie Kids; Kay Jewelers; and Lush, a cosmetics store.

None of the applications are for retail space in the third floor of the structure, the second floor of the retail component. Brookfield Properties Retail Group representatives have not returned emails requesting comments, nor responded to phone calls.

“We’re nearing completion of The SoNo Collection, our 700,000 square foot retail center in Norwalk, Connecticut. The project is 75% leased and will be opened in time for the 2019 holiday season,” Brookfield Property Partners Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer Brian Kingston said in a May 6 earnings conference call, according to a transcript provided by The Motley Fool.

The SoNo Collection on Wednesday. The near corner, next to the Interstate 95 ramp, is planned for an indoor sculpture garden as public realm space.

The mall is expected to open in October. It’s planned for 717,000 square feet, of which 415,000 square feet is inline stores, then-GGP Vice President Doug Adams said in August 2017 email. Adams in April 2016 said that the mall has “100-and-some-thousand square feet” of concourse, or hallway, in addition to 80,000 square feet of public realm space.

The applications on file with P&Z on Tuesday add up to 105,856 square feet. Adding that to the 302,000 square feet assigned to anchor stores Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, then 56% of the total 717,000 square feet is accounted for as retail. If you subtract 180,000 square feet as concourse/public realm space from the total 717,000 square feet, then 76% of the mall is rented out, as represented in applications to P&Z.

Zoning Inspector Aline Rochefort said no permit applications have come in for kiosk space, but she’s expecting them soon.

SoNo Collection key plans 19-0530 20190531

So, the non-anchor stores known to be renting space in The SoNo Collection are:

  • EQ3
  • Journeys
  • Abercrombie Kids
  • Kay Jeweler’s
  • Lush
  • L’Occitane
  • Soma
  • Pinstripes *
  • Barry’s Bootcamp *
  • Abercrombie & Fitch *
  • J. Jill *
  • Yong Kang Street *
  • Chico’s *
  • White House Black Market *
  • Yard House *
  • Sephora *
  • ZARA USA Inc *
  • Tutti Nails *
  • Made in China *

(*Reported in previous story)



The Winnipeg-based EQ3 was established in 2001 by Peter Tielmann, who grew up in Europe and therefore “recognized the lack of modern furniture in North America,” the company’s website states, announcing slogans “Small Company, Big Ambitions” and “Modern Design For Everyday Living.”

The website states:

“We’re proud of our roots and strive to produce as much of our product in Canada as possible. Our factory in Winnipeg manufactures all of our own upholstery pieces. That means when you order a custom made sofa from EQ3, you can count on your new piece arriving home in about 8 to 12 weeks.

“In addition to our own product range, we also admire and respect brands whose designs have stood the test of time. EQ3 is proud to offer EQ3+, a designer line featuring iconic brands like Herman Miller, Marimekko, Pablo, Vitra and more, with many featured products exclusive to Canada.

“EQ3 has 14 stores in Canada and the US. Additional stores and galleries are located throughout North America and around the world.”


EQ3 is planned for 9,354 gross square feet on the second floor of the four-story structure, the first floor of retail. The nearest EQ3 is at 79 Front St. in Brooklyn.



L’Occitane en Provence is a beauty store founded in 1976.

“It all began in the markets of Provence {France},” the company’s website states. “With nothing but an alembic, a small truck and a solid knowledge of plants, a 23-year-old named Olivier Baussan began distilling rosemary essential oil to sell locally. He expanded his production from oils to soaps to creams, taking inspiration from the land he grew up on to bring natural beauty to homes across the world.”

“At L’OCCITANE, we strive to use high-quality, traceable ingredients of natural origin,” the company’s website states. “We use over 200 plant-derived ingredients, a quarter of them organic certified, which are carefully selected for their effectiveness and their ability to give your skin the elements it needs to look beautiful. We therefore systematically give priority to natural ingredients whenever possible.”

L’Occitane is planned for 626 square feet on the mall’s second floor. There’s an L’Occitane at 45 Main St. in Westport.



“In 2004, a design team of women set out to create something they saw missing from the marketplace: a line that gives women what they really want. Bras as comfortable as they are beautiful. Panties that stay where they should. Pajamas soft enough to bring us the sleep we so deserved. They began innovating, and they started Soma Intimates,” the company’s website states.

Soma is a Chico’s FAS brand; The SoNo Collection has also rented space to Chico’s and White House Black Market, both Chico’s FAS brands.

There are nearly 300 Soma boutiques with 5 million loyal customers, the company states. Soma is planned for 1,916 gross square feet on the mall’s second floor. There are Soma locations in nearby malls: Westfield Trumbull, Danbury Fair Mall and The Westchester.



The Journeys application calls it a retail shoe store. The store is planned for 1,750 gross square feet on the mall’s uppermost floor.

The company’s website is heavy on shoes but also shows that it sells clothing and accessories. There’s a Journeys in the Stamford Town Center, Westfield Trumbull,  the Galleria at White Plains, the Danbury Fair Mall and the Connecticut Post Mall, to name just a few.


Abercrombie Kids

Abercrombie Kids is a partner store for Abercrombie & Fitch and will occupy 3,011 gross square feet on the mall’s uppermost floor. Abercrombie & Fitch planned for 3,500 gross square feet on the floor directly over the ground-level parking garage.

“For more than 125 years, the iconic Abercrombie & Fitch brand has outfitted innovators, explorers and entrepreneurs,” its website states. “…abercrombie kids creates smart, playful apparel for children ages 5-14, celebrating the wide-eyed wonder of childhood.”



Kay Jewelers

Kay Jewelers is owned by Signet Jewelers Limited, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry with more than 3,500 stores in the U.S., U.K. and Canada under the names of KAY Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda and JamesAllen.com, according to its website.

Kay Jewelers is planned for 1,804 gross square feet on the mall’s uppermost floor. You can currently visit Kay Jewelers in the Stamford Town Center, Westfield Trumbull, The Waterfront at Port Chester and Danbury Fair, to name just a few.



“Since 1996, we’ve been serving up the best fizz in the biz. Our bath, body and skincare products are all made with ethically-sourced ingredients to benefit both mind, body and the environment,” Lush states on its Facebook page. ‘…We’re proud to say that we invented the bath bomb all the way back in 1989 and continue to innovate and create products for the bath, shower, body, face and hair. We’ve got bath bombs, solid shampoo bars, luxury bar soaps, bath oils, bubble bars, henna hair dyes and much more!”

Lush will occupy 2,095 gross square feet on the uppermost floor of the mall, according to the application.

There are Lush stores in Trumbull, Danbury and White Plains, N.Y., according to the company’s website.



Pinstripes combines “an impressive blend of Italian/American cuisine, fine wines, bocce courts and bowling lanes,” according to a 2014 press release announcing a 37,000 square feet Pinstripes opening in Rockville, Maryland, in 2016.

Another 2014 press release announces a 32,000 square foot Pinstripes opening in 2016 in Frisco, Texas. A 34,000-square foot Pinstripes opened in 2014 in Washington D.C., according to DC Inno.

Norwalk’s Pinstripes is planned for 12,830 square feet on The SoNo Collection’s top floor.

A SoNo Collection “key plan” for the ground floor, filled in by NancyOnNorwalk to show the locations of tenants who have submitted applications to Planning and Zoning.

A SoNo Collection second floor “key plan,” filled in by NancyOnNorwalk to show the locations of tenants who have submitted applications to Planning and Zoning.

A SoNo Collection fourth floor “key plan,” filled in by NancyOnNorwalk to show the locations of tenants who have submitted applications to Planning and Zoning.


Paul A. May 31, 2019 at 9:07 am

I’m actually looking forward to the possibilities this structure has if the owners are able to think creatively and outside the box, especially if the retail market ultimately tanks. Not sure what it will bring us in the long run but this is certainly better than the empty lot that for years welcomed visitors to Sono. Would I have preferred the original mixed use neighborhood idea to breathe some expanded urban (yet modern) “neighborhood” activity to our city? Yes! But the old time Norwalk cronies couldn’t figure that out financially, so here we are.
All bets are off if Nancy finds a p&z application for Pathmark tho!! lol

John Levin May 31, 2019 at 9:15 am

Using the #’s provided here: 235,000 sq ft are available for lease to non-anchor retailers. Of that, 105,856 have pending or approved zoning applications. So, 45%?

Piberman May 31, 2019 at 10:17 am

Where are City Hall’s promotion efforts towards the most impressive development in Norwalk’s modern history ?

Kurt Reply May 31, 2019 at 12:03 pm

Rode by there today – May 31st 2019. How do they believe it’ll be up and running in 4 months? No way, no how. It’ll be a construction zone for shoppers.

Ron Morris May 31, 2019 at 5:10 pm

It is not up to city hall to promote this as this is privately owned. I am all but sure as opening day draws closer the owners will promote the mall.

FYI Open is still months away.

Steve Mann June 1, 2019 at 2:43 pm

The calls initially were for the mall’s architecture to maintain the charming maritime flavor of Norwalk. Apparently, a building that looks like a container ship fits that bill.

EnoPride June 2, 2019 at 10:52 am

A container ship indeed, Steve Mann. Not an ounce of coastal design aesthetic. Tim Sheehan/City Hall did not want that monstrous, storage unit looking POKO thang which they insist ruin Wall Street to feel left out, I suppose.

The public voiced at meetings that if we are going to get socked with a giganto mall, which seemingly many were opposed to, at least the mall should somewhat maintain that coastal/maritime village feel, both in design and in scale, to integrate harmoniously with existing infrastructure. It was brought up on countless occasions to include some green space (that would be tree canopy coverage, which one would think would be of priority for all of our Common Council so called environmentalists worried about straws, stirrers and plastic bags!) within the parameters of that very large footprint, maybe a tree lined park, in the design. An open-air walkable layout was also suggested to catalyze foot traffic that would encourage visitors to explore and patronize other parts of South Norwalk. A no brainer, or so one would think…

Did any of the spot on and excellent ideas which were offered compliments of engaged residents, who took the time and passion to attend meetings and provide input, get incorporated into the final product which we have been hit with? Of course not! This mall got jammed down our throats, just like that flippin’ half billion dollar Walk Bridge and every other development project RDA/City Hall shamelessly sells out to developers does. As long as the Tim Sheehan/Mario Coppola Show are allowed so much power of decision making in indulging wealthy out of town developers to overdensify at our expense and erase the character of our city, and as long as Mayor Rilling and Common Council are in Sheehan’s pocket, we will continue to be hit with these container ship buildings. Let’s break the cycle and take our city back, Norwalk!

Please consider voting for change this November, fellow Norwalkers. Call for a moratorium on the overdevelopment which we are currently witnessing. All of these “developments” are not ours, collectively. They are the work of a very small, exclusive, rigged, clearly impenetrable group at City Hall. They are not in any way reflective of the input of stakeholders, and there is something inherently wrong with the broken process by which they come to be. RDA is obselete by now and should be abolished. We deserve a city government staffed with public servants who actually desire to listen to our needs and work with us on how to improve our city. We have not steered City Hall wrong yet on so many of these developments. City Hall simply chooses not to listen to us, or to stand up for us, and as a result, the final product suffers. Maybe, just maybe, this City Hall crew’s three minutes are up, and maybe we need to finally show them the door. We deserve a democracy, not a dictatorship. Norwalk deserves better.

Roberta Twist June 2, 2019 at 11:44 am

What EANO Pride said. Even if I could get past the idea of a mall and the mediocre retail operations it has attracted, I cannot understand how a massive structure consisting of an abominable mash up of styles now inhabits an important part of our city. Yes, I will indeed be voting for change. The current administration has played us all for fools.

Audrey Cozzarin June 3, 2019 at 11:04 am

I have heard that this Sono Collection Mall is currently the only mall under construction right now in the United States. May it be the last.

James Cahn June 3, 2019 at 11:12 am

I bet the third floor is going to be for all the “upscale retail” they told us about. I’m sure we’ll see an Omega Boutique, more than one of the LVMH brands and a Tiffany & Co up there. Who wants the over?

Bryan Meek June 3, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Steve nailed it. I was thinking one of the Battlestar ships landed, but it does look more like a beached cargo ship. I think that part escaped me because I couldn’t figure out how it could fit under the Walk bridge and over the new rail yard Duff gave us, but I can stretch my imagination.

In either case, the mall thrives for a few years if Apple comes. And if not, half of these stores will be gone within a few years.

Eli June 4, 2019 at 1:18 pm

What an insane thing to build in the middle of historic SONO. It does not fit the area at all and retail is dying so I can’t see how it survives for very long.

Not sure why a small town/city with historic buildings, maritime history, many marinas on the Sound, and a riverfront can’t arrive at a better development plan than a mall and a bunch of massive apartment complexes. So much wasted potential in Norwalk. Wow. No vision at all. What a complete disappointment…

Andrea July 19, 2019 at 12:26 am

There should be space for NORWALK RESIDENTS that have businesses…That would be GREAT for the City…Don’t run us all out!! Have something for us…give us something!!

M dief July 26, 2019 at 7:06 am

What kind of idiot Governor gives state subsidies to a mall that just steals stores from a surrounding towns mall in his own state (and his home town) I will not shop at any of those stores that have abandoned the Stamford Town Center to move a few miles away. Loyalty goes both ways.

Special kind of stupid!

Anon August 2, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Some of us live in Norwalk as far as new haven, that commute to Stamford town center, the lovely highways in our state make the commute typical 45-1hr to Stamford from Norwalk. I personally would love to not include 95 in my commute. Special kind of smart

Jody August 13, 2019 at 10:58 pm

Having worked in the retail industry for 30+ years and watching its inevitable death, it’s scary to see a city & state investing so much money into something that has almost no chance of succeeding. This mall was billed to be “high-end”. There’s not one better retailer on that list. My guess is Nordstrom has a clause in its lease that allows it to become a “Rack” after a certain amount of time. Then all Norwak will have is a discount mall and two Walmart’s that only create more traffic. I love living in Norwalk but this mall has got to be the biggest and dumbest mistake ever made by the city.

Told You So September 9, 2019 at 8:34 pm

According to Business Insider from today, more than 8,200 stores are closing in 2019 as the retail apocalypse drags on. 100 Chico’s, 90 White House Black Market & 60 Soma stores. Also 3 Nordstrom’s. Yet they are still “signed” tenants for the mall? What a disaster for Norwalk. There is nothing high-end about it and the design/concept is utterly laughable. You all should have listened to the Dallasite from the beginning. She called it. Here comes the nail in the coffin.

Evelyn K October 12, 2019 at 5:19 pm

It’s hard to fathom building a mega-mall here in Norwalk, or anywhere for that matter, in the internet age.
It’s equally hard to fathom the laughable designation of Norwalk Arts District to a district whose feature is one live-performance theater. Although it can be said that the gigantic laundromat and the grocery store around the corner from the theater add a touch of class! The Arts District designation sign can be seen from that corner. Shamefully, the beautiful churches, the Norwalk Library, the beautiful Post Office with its striking interior, have had their presence diminished by the garbage, the empty storefronts, and the obvious lack of respect foisted on Mott, and Belden Avenues. It pains me to see what has happened to what should have remained a lovely, quiet area that residents can enjoy. The condos that were built over the Norwalk River have not only spoiled the view of the ducks and swans, obviously, poor planning has caused parking to spill over to East Wall Street. This beautiful one-block street just off of East Avenue and two blocks away from City Hall, with its beautiful Victorian and Carriage house, and Hoyt Cognetta funeral home with its classic facade, and the Mill Hill Museum. There is now parking on East Wall Street. The cars are parked at the top of a right-sided, blind curve. The parked cars narrow the two- lane street. The street is designated for access to the Funeral Home, its processions, and parking. In addition, East Wall street is needed for emergency vehicles as well as for public transit.
Norwalk city has to clean all of the garbage off the streets, encourage stores to open in the area, do “something” with the old YMCA building! Norwalk used to have its own character. Now, with its patchwork jumble of buildings,
Norwalk has lost a lot of its charm. Please preserve The Green, the churches, East Avenue, City Hall–or, are there plans to demolish this area as well?

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