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Marriott SoNo Residence Inn expansion plans receive extension

Artist’s rendering of the planned expansion of the Marriott SoNo Residence Inn on South Main Street. 

Last year, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved plans for an eight-story addition featuring 48 rooms to the Marriott SoNo Residence Inn on South Main Street. 

At its meeting on January 17, the commission granted the developer a year’s extension to get started on that work.

“We are asking for a one-year extension of time, and that’s largely due to the volatility in the interest market and 2023 increases in volatility in the construction industry, both of which we anticipate will level off and become a little more stable in the upcoming year,” said Attorney Liz Suchy, who was representing TR Sono Partners LLC, the property’s owner.

The project was also delayed slightly as the State Historic Preservation Office also “weighed in on the demolition of the structure where this project is going to be constructed,” Suchy said.

The plans call for demolishing the Udelman Building at 31-35 South Main St. to make room for the addition. According to an historic property evaluation report for the site, the building “was constructed in 1927, and is a two-story, seven bay wide structure, clad in brick with limestone trim elements.” 

The report was conducted because the property was “included in the 1985 boundary increase of the South Main and Washington Streets Historic District, and was designated a contributing building under Criteria A and C for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.”

But the report, which was paid for by the developer, said that “restoration for reuse of the building façade to a level complying with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards will be very difficult, if not impossible…A comparison to the other buildings within the original and expanded district suggests that the design of the building is decidedly unremarkable.”

Resident Tod Bryant, founder of the Norwalk Preservation Trust, was the only member to speak at the public hearing on the expansion last year. Bryant said that he and the trust believed “expanding the hotel would be good for South Norwalk,” but said that “we don’t want it to be done at the expense of our architectural heritage.”

The addition will expand the Marriott SoNo Residence Inn to 150 rooms and 135 parking spaces. The application stated that the developers believed the “redevelopment of the expanded parcel and expansion of a nationally recognized hotel will further assist SoNo to thrive and flourish and continue to serve as an integral component to connect and integrate the area from the Maritime Aquarium to the South Norwalk Train Station. 

The city received more than 30 letters in support of the project, including from the Chief of Police, Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce, local realtors, and businesses. 

“Being located adjacent to the current Marriott property, we see the benefit that the expansion will have to the Norwalk business economy, and the Greater SoNo area,” wrote Police Chief James Walsh last year. “The current hotel has been a huge plus for the neighborhood and for Norwalk in general.” 

Other Planning and Zoning Notes:

The Commission had planned to hold a public hearing on Costco’s expansion plans on Connecticut Avenue on January 17, but that hearing was postponed until February. 

Kelly Prinz, formerly Kelly Kultys, is the founder of Coastal Connecticut Times.

Comments

3 responses to “Marriott SoNo Residence Inn expansion plans receive extension”

  1. Tod BryANT

    The plan to totally demolish the Udelman Building, Listed in the National register of Historic Places as part of the Washington and South Main Street Historic District, would forever disfigure the streetscape in the historic district. The Norwalk Preservation Trust advocates for the preservation of the facade of this historic building. The hotel addition could still be built behind the historic facade. The Planning Commission relied only on the testimony of the developer’s consultant when deciding on the possibility of retaining the facade. A full analysis of this issue by an independent consultant was never done. The third party review was cursory and did not include an structural analysis of the possibility of retaining the facade. There is still time and it should be done now.

    1. David Muccigrosso

      Do you even live in this neighborhood? I’m pretty sure the previous landlord disfigured the building PLENTY on their own. There was barely anything left to salvage.

      The Marriot sure blends in a lot better with the neighborhood than those huge towers. Or the mall.

      Maybe you should try getting SONO’s landlords to worship THEIR OWN old buildings as much as YOU do, before you complain about them being replaced.

      And if you love those old buildings so much… guess what? It’s practically illegal to build them anymore. You literally could not build more of Washington Street. Let’s fix that before we complain about one of the few businesses that bothers to give a damn about the neighborhood and charges a reasonable rate for rooms.

      1. David Muccigrosso

        Addendum: It’s kind of astonishing that they charge reasonable rates when EVERYONE ELSE in the neighborhood is charging absurd commercial rents. That’s part of the reason why it’s so hard for businesses to stick around: The landlords are sucking them dry, speculating on growth that never materializes.

        And it never materializes because the rents are so damn high, no business can succeed.

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