Looking at Norwalk’s demographics and financial characteristics

A rendering of 25 Van Zant St., in East Norwalk. Last year, real estate developer Winthrop Baum said he was “taking steps to transform” the 265,000 square-foot building “into a state-of-the-art ‘IoT’ (Internet of Things) smart building.” (Contributed)
A graph in the draft East Norwalk Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan.

NORWALK, Conn. — There’s more in the draft East Norwalk Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan than just an intention to allow taller buildings in specific parts of the train station area.

Among its 268 pages are insights into Norwalk’s changing demographics and thoughts about one of East Norwalk’s largest buildings.  An example: “Fairfield County’s fortunes have diverged from the rest of the state’s in part due to its ability to attract residents between the ages of 20 and 34.”

Here’s more excerpts from the study, done by Harriman, NV5 and RKG:

  • Norwalk’s overall population growth from 2010 to 2017 obscures a number of underlying demographic shifts, including a loss of white residents and a rapid increase in Hispanic and Latino residents. While remaining a majority-white city, Norwalk is quickly becoming a more diverse community in terms of race and ethnicity. The Hispanic and Latino population grew by nearly 15 percent from 2010 to 2017, adding more than 3,000 residents. This influx more than cancelled out Norwalk’s decline of white residents. The black population also grew by over nine percent or 1,050 residents.”
  • From 2010 to 2017 the vast majority of Norwalk’s population growth took place in the three zip codes that comprise the city’s western half; the two eastern zip codes that include East Norwalk and communities like Cranbury saw less growth but similar demographic shifts.”
  • A graph in the draft East Norwalk Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan.

    The city-wide residential vacancy rate is estimated to have dropped since 2010, from 6.2 percent to 5.8 percent.

  • Since 2015, Norwalk’s average home sale prices have closed a historic gap versus Fairfield County, equaling and even surpassing the county average in many recent months. In 2018, Norwalk’s median home value was estimated to be $421,900. According to Zillow Research, a real estate listing aggregator, the average single-family home sale in Norwalk was $406,700 in 2018, up nearly 13 percent from 2013 – significantly outperforming Fairfield County’s flat (0.2 percent) sales growth. Norwalk’s average rents have risen as well, differentiating the city from a more stable rental market across much of Fairfield County.”
  • While Fairfield County’s office market has been relatively weak in recent years … East Norwalk may be able to take advantage of the city’s strong Information sector with small, creative office spaces close to the train station. Buildings like those at 25 Van Zant can provide small- and mid-sized firms with flexible spaces, while one-off spaces in smaller structures can host new businesses looking for lower-cost access to South Norwalk, Stamford, and beyond.”
  • Based upon conversations with brokers and developers, planned real estate investment in East Norwalk is primarily limited to two properties at the heart of the study area: 25 Van Zant Street and 230 East Avenue.”
    • Lease-up of the Spinnaker project’s 189 new apartments {at 230 East Ave.} will offer insights about the demand for similar but smaller-scale projects elsewhere in the neighborhood, especially those that target Norwalk’s growing number of 2- and 3-person households.”
    • The 40-year old building at 25 Van Zant is being refurbished. This doesn’t include any new construction, but the gradual renovation will “reposition one of East Norwalk’s largest real estate assets to attract a new wave of firms and job opportunities to the area.” Owner Win Baum “revealed that the building, which is intended for office and creative uses, is 70 percent occupied. Some businesses have moved in after recent renovations, while others have been in the building for twenty years.”


  • A graph in the draft East Norwalk Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan.

    The average wage for Norwalk workers grew to $97,980 in 2017, a 14 percent increase from 2010. This growth was primarily driven by gains at the high end of the wage spectrum.

  • Despite the city’s modest job growth from 2010 to 2017, projections show employment growth slowing to virtually zero in the years up to 2023. This certainly may lead the City to evaluate its economic development plans and to refocus on its strengths seeking to bring more opportunities for Norwalk residents to work locally within the city.”


The Planning Commission is holding the first of two online public hearings on the plan at 6:30 tonight, on Zoom. A second one is scheduled for Monday. Instructions to attend are offered on the last pages of these agendas:



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