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Jason Milligan, proposing a Wall Street hotel, now sees City as friend not foe

Architectural rendering of aerial view of Wall Street hotel proposed by Jason Milligan. (Credit: The Sullivan Architectural Group.)


Real estate broker Jason Milligan has a plan to make over 21-23 Isaacs Street, currently home to Rebel Daughter Cookies and ARC Sound Stage Lighting.

He proposes building a hotel there. And he plans to build it on the controversial parking lot that was part of the longstanding “POKO” lawsuit between Milligan and the City.

According to the site plan application posted to the city website Wednesday:
The proposed project includes razing the existing site features (surface parking lot and 4,000 square foot retail plaza) and constructing a 6-story, 210 room extended stay hotel along with four live/work units at street level. New construction will include 178 garaged parking spaces and four at-grade spaces with a drop-off loop, as well as walkways, loading, and storm-water improvements. In total there is a 0.15 acre decrease in impervious coverage. The proposal includes water quality treatment practices for approximately 80% of the site area.

The application, submitted on behalf of Milligan’s Wall St Opportunity Fund LLC is supported by 15 documents, including engineering and traffic studies, aerial images, property survey and architectural drawings.

According to the application by Adam J. Blank, Esq.,Wofsey Rosen Kweskin & Kuriansky, LLP, “The extended stay hotel will include some amenities such as a lobby, various lounge areas, a business center with conference room and rooftop amenities; however, the Applicant has intentionally designed the building so that it is not “full-service” or “amenity-laden”. The Applicant has interests in various other properties in the Wall Street area which contain retail, personal service businesses and restaurant tenants; as a result, the extended stay hotel has been designed to limit amenities provided on-site and to encourage guests to “get out on the street” and patronize the businesses in the immediate neighborhood.”

Architectural rendering of Isaacs Street view of proposed Wall Street hotel (Credit: The Sullivan Architectural Group)

Filling a need in a neighborhood on the rise

In an email interview, asked why he wanted to build a hotel in the Wall Street area, Milligan described it as a neighborhood on the rise.

“There are so many great things happening there,” he said. “The restaurant scene is strong and getting stronger. There is a theatrical and performing arts college that is growing. There are amazing businesses from digital marketing to a recording studio that call Wall Street home. The Wall Street theater has been taken over by a fantastic operator that has invested considerable money into the venue and they have booked lots of great shows.”

“With all of these activities happening in the neighborhood and with the hospital a half mile away it makes sense to have a hotel close by. This project is an extended stay hotel so people can stay from a couple of nights or a bit longer term. I have been a real estate broker for over 20 years in Norwalk and I can tell you that there are never enough options for people looking for short term stays that are longer than a hotel but less than the 12-month apartment lease typically required. Whether it is visiting a sick relative from out of town, people displaced during home renovations, temporary job positions like residency at the hospital or consulting positions etc.”

21-23 Isaacs Street, currently a parking lot plus small retail. (Credit: Claire Schoen)

When asked who would ultimately run the hotel, he said “there are ongoing discussions with several operators.”

“A bit of litigation” slowed things down

Milligan, who owns multiple properties in the Wall Street neighborhood, is no stranger to working with the city–or battling it. He has been involved in a number of lawsuits over properties in the Wall Street area.

His purchase of 21, 23, and 31 Isaacs Street in 2018 set off a long, drawn-out lawsuit that was part of the stalled redevelopment project known as POKO. In June 2018 the City of Norwalk sued the property’s prior owners and an entity controlled by Milligan, claiming that the transfer of ownership between them took place without required approvals. The lawsuit was finally settled in April 2023.

When Milligan bought the former My Three Sons building at 64 Wall Street in 2020, he said he wanted to build a hotel. Planning and Zoning denied the plan as not in compliance with parking requirements.

In 2022, after he purchased multiple properties on River Street, he reiterated in an interview with NancyOnNorwalk his desire to build a hotel.

“As you know I have big plans for River Street,” he said. “Those plans happen to coincide with everything the office of Economic Development and the Transportation, Parking & Mobility [Department] are working on. It is a perfect compliment {cq} of public and private. The public is focused on infrastructure like roads, sidewalks, intersections etc, while I am focused on improving the beautiful historic buildings and bringing in new tenants.”

“The final piece that the area needs is some tweaks to the zoning regulations that will allow the area a little more flexibility as it rebuilds. If we get those zoning improvements then the area will rocket forward and I would be able to build my plans like the Hotel.”

Two years later, he’s giving it a go. And this time he’s crediting the city, not criticizing it.

In an email to NancyOnNorwalk yesterday, Milligan said “Zoning changed in everyone’s favor! Updating the zoning for Norwalk was a huge undertaking and the city and mayor should be commended for getting it done.”

He added, “the parking lot was always planned to be developed, but a bit of litigation prevented it from happening sooner.”

Comments

3 responses to “Jason Milligan, proposing a Wall Street hotel, now sees City as friend not foe”

  1. Mark Hankin

    What a great idea. Wall Street needs mote people living, working and visiting the area. A hotel only adds to the vibrancy.

  2. David Muccigrosso

    I’ve already had it out with Jason about this, but the obsession over Wall Street continues to astound me.

    Like, sure, go on ahead and redevelop it. The area needs it! But if people are already NOT visiting that area as a genuine destination, a hotel won’t make them magically start coming. Jason would be better off building an open-air mall/plaza with a small grocery store (like a Trader Joe’s), the rest ground-floor retail, and modest housing on top.

    Also, the city needs to massively rethink West/Belden. There’s not nearly enough traffic on that road to justify 4 whole lanes. It’s a dagger through the heart of Downtown, and we just leave it sitting there.

  3. Terry P

    Isaac St is already so crowded with people parking on both sides of the road making it impassible for 2 cars to pass at the same time. Leonard Street is even worse. This is an ill conceived idea.

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