Corrections made Oct. 25- 95/7, not Spinnaker; entire site, not partial site
NORWALK, Conn. – A developer proposing to take ownership of one of Norwalk’s long-standing “bombsites” did not get instant answers Tuesday evening.
The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency’s plan to review and approve the transfer of the long-stalled 95/7 project, at the intersection of West Avenue and Interstate 95, to a publicly traded real estate investment trust, apparently for the purposes of building a mall, was tabled.
“I think we all need the opportunity to digest this and look at everything here,” RDA Chairman Felix Serrano said.
“Everything here” were documents dated Oct. 18 seeking permission for 95/7 Enterprises to transfer parcels 1, 2 and 4 of the Reed Putnam Urban Renewal Plan to Norwalk Land Development, which is owned and controlled by GGP Limited Partnership. That is General Growth Properties, a publicly traded real estate investment trust with a portfolio of 123 properties totaling roughly 128 million square feet, which is “focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing and developing high quality retail properties” according to a letter written by Douglas Adams, GGP senior director.
GGP builds malls.
“I think the point has been made that this is rather sudden and that we really do need some time to look at this a little further,” RDA member Lori Torrano said.
Serrano said he had been planning to table it all along.
There were 15 pages of information about the proposed transaction in the evening’s meeting agenda, and a brochure about GGP. The proposed resolution would have been effective Nov. 12.
RDA Executive Director Tim Sheehan said that if GGP wants to modify the plans for the 12-acre site this is just the beginning of the process. If the agency approves the transfer it a plan modification would then go to the Common Council Planning Committee. If the committee approves the modification the next step would be the approval of the full council.
“The agency would have to find in its reasonable opinion that the redeveloper has the experience, qualifications, reputation and financial ability to perform the expected redeveloper obligations under the agreement,” Sheehan said, reading from the Land Disposition Agreement.
In August, 95/7 obtained a foundation permit. Since then, there has been no activity, and repeated attempts to contact Spinnaker to find out when construction will begin have gone unanswered.
The 95/7 site was the setting for a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 13, 2011, shortly before the last municipal election.