Updated, 1 a.m. Aug. 26: Story was edited.
NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk officials are expressing confidence that work on Wall Street Place will resume.
Construction on POKO Partners’ mixed use development on the corner of Isaac Street and Wall Street had “stopped cold for the last week,” a Wall Street merchant said in a Saturday email.
“There is no sign of life on the job site. Rumors are traveling that there is a public announcement coming shortly (from the City of Norwalk) and I suspect financial problems that may stop the project,” the merchant said.
Mayor Harry Rilling said Monday that actually there is work on the site every day, people doing “little things.”
“We have been advised that the project will be moving forward,” Rilling said. “It may be slow until they sort ‘it’ out.”
POKO Partners is in discussion with Citibank over an “identified gap” in the project’s total cost, Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan said Tuesday.
“POKO has identified a project gap and Citibank actually has the principal loan on the entire project,” Sheehan said. “What POKO does is go for a draw from Citibank off of the original loan. So it’s not like all of the money comes into the project all at once, Citibank approves your drawdowns as you progress through construction. So (now that) they have identified the gap, now Citibank has said, ‘Wait a second. We need to figure out where we are in terms of the project cost before we can jump in.’ So that’s it.”
It’s widely known that Ken Olson, president and CEO of POKO Partners LLC and POKO Management Corp., is ill. Another source close to the situation said that Olson has a big presence and has all of the facts and information in his head. Other members of the firm are not as familiar with the project, the source said.
Sheehan said that’s not the problem.
“It really was more about the project gap,” Sheehan said.
The project is a go, Sheehan said.
“The discussions I have had with Citibank, I am very confident that the project will be completed,” Sheehan said.
“We will have an informational meeting to bring the residents up to speed,” Rilling said. “We hope to get that back moving forward very soon.”