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New hotel approved for South Norwalk, next to Marriott Residence Inn

A rendering of the proposed hotel at 25 and 31-35 South Main Street. (Courtesy of Norwalk)

The Norwalk Planning and Zoning Commission voted 8-0-1 to approve a new 100-room hotel on South Main Street, next to the existing Marriott Residence Inn. The newly approved hotel would require the buildings at 25 and 31-35 South Main Street to be demolished in order to build the structure.

The public hearing on the application was initially opened in April, when the applicant presented its plans and members of the public had the chance to weigh in. As a part of that, the neighboring Marriott Inn partnered with local historians and preservationists and presented a petition intervening in the application, stating that the plans would demolish valuable historic structures that are part of South Norwalk. 

The commission found that the petition didn’t have merit, noting that some of the historical analysis showed the facades and other parts of the building had already been altered and couldn’t be restored to its historical state. 

Chair Lou Schulman also highlighted a comment from Attorney Adam Blank, who represented the Marriott Residence Inn, and the local historians. Blank, who spoke at  the hearing in April, said, “Obviously we’re the Residence Inn next door, and we don’t want it. I’m not going to hide from that. We’re here because we think this will negatively financially impact the Residence Inn. We think that’s going to be very bad…for this hotel, which also means the tax base, which also means our employees.”

“Especially since the attorney for the opposition undercut his entire argument when he first spoke and said this is because we don’t want the competition,” Schulman noted. 

However, some commissioners felt torn over the need to demolish the existing structures. 

“I do think I have sympathy for the intervenor’s position because we have gone as a city to great effort to preserve the buildings,” Commissioner Galen Wells said. 

One entrance in and out

One of the conditions of approval is that the hotel would have one entrance and exit, instead of two curb cuts with a separate entrance and exit. 

“The bone of contention with this commission and the redevelopment agency and [Transportation, Mobility, and Parking] seems to continue to circle around the loop system that we’ve proposed for access and egress from South Main Street into the parking area under the building,” Attorney Liz Suchy, who was representing the applicant, said. “We continue to believe that it’s more efficient and would create fewer internal conflicts.”

However, she said that they would “reluctantly accept that as a condition.”

Steve Kleppin, the city’s director of Planning and Zoning, said he agreed it would be better for internal operations.

“But given the location of the existing entrance of the existing hotel, you’re putting an exit route with a new hotel right next to that,” he said, adding that there could be turning conflicts, where “you can have a vehicle exiting left out of the existing hotel, and somebody’s going right out of the new entrance.”

The commission agreed and restricted it to a single entrance/exit. 

Benefit to the community

Suchy and some commissioners noted that they believe the hotel would help support the economy of South Norwalk.

Commissioner Nick Kantor said they want a “vibrant community and to be able to bring people into the area,” to support local businesses. 

“The project we believe will blend into the harmoniously functioning area of South Norwalk and that is part of the South Norwalk main urban renewal corridor plan,” Suchy said. “And we also believe that economic and redevelopment initiatives can transform the urban core and older industrial areas as part of your Plan of Conservation and Development, while at the same time encouraging private investment in the area.”

Comments

4 responses to “New hotel approved for South Norwalk, next to Marriott Residence Inn”

  1. John O’Neill

    Another example of Liz Suchy crushing it for her client. I agree with her on this one. Kudos for a job well done. She dominates
    Planning & Zoning. If you can’t beat them join them. Norwalk needs to hire her to tighten our porous zoning regulations before
    it’s too late

  2. David Muccigrosso

    Congratulations! I’m glad this project got approved.

    I heartily agree with the single curb cut. Adding more will only hurt the pedestrian experience.

    @Thomas Rich, if I may be so humble, I’d also recommend you try working with the city on beefing up the crosswalk there. It’ll make it easier for the hotel’s customers to walk to the shops and stuff across the street, and it will help further calm the traffic for cars coming in and out of the hotel. It’s a crappy spot for installing a new light (since the Main/Washington light is already right there), but a beefier crosswalk (like the big one on Washington!) can still accomplish much of the same job.

    Just a reminder, I literally live 200 feet away, so I kind of know what I’m talking about.

  3. Victor Coppola

    While I am for the development, it makes me shake my head. If I recall correctly, when the SoNo Collection was being planned a study was done and concluded SoNo could not support a hotel. A few years later the Marriott was built in…SoNo. Now we need another hotel guess where…SoNo.

  4. David McCarthy

    Just some experience from the field…I stayed at the Residence Inn this weekend. It has run downhill quickly. I paid over 800 for a 2 night stay. I stay at Marriott properties of this caliber across the country and rarely pay more than 150/night. Hotel rooms are scarce in Norwalk. Where else would I stay? The Inn makes me sad since Chris passed, and the Doubletree…whoops, it is gone. The hotels on Route 7 seem sketchy at best and are too far away.

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