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Norwalk photos: Loehmann’s demolition

A Thursday view of the demolition at 467 West Ave.

NORWALK, Conn. — Workers have begun demolishing Loehmann’s Plaza, located at 467 West Ave., to make way for The Pinnacle.

TB Norwalk Apartments LLC won Zoning approval for the planned mixed-use development in January 2021. It would be the last phase of the Waypointe development, which dates to 2010. Plans call for 393 apartments, 40 of them “affordable,” and 25,495 square feet of commercial space within six-story structures. A pedestrian promenade will connect to Matthews Park via improvements to Butler Street.

A Thursday view of the demolition at 467 West Ave.

Also called “the South Block,” plans for the 4.6-acre lot on West Avenue between Orchard Street and Butler Street were initially approved in 2014. At one point, it was announced that an iPic luxury movie theater would be included. Toll Brothers purchased the Pinnacle project in December 2019 and revised the plans in accordance to the current market, removing the iPic and a gym that had also been promised.

The project forms “a nearly complete block leaving out only the former church at 455 West and the current church at 1 Quincy,” said Luchs Construction/DiCarlo & Doll Inc. in a peer review report for the Zoning Commission. It represents “a maximum build out of its site under current zoning,” consistent with the previous Waypointe projects.

It actually consists of three parcels, including 17 Butler St. and 3 Quincy St.

Norwalk Chief Building Official Bill Ireland said demolition began last week, only at 467 West Ave.

A Thursday view of the demolition at 467 West Ave., from the West Avenue sidewalk.
A Thursday view of the demolition at 467 West Ave.
A rendering of the planned Pinnacle project.
A rendering of the planned Pinnacle project, showing a walkway across Butler Street.
A rendering of the planned Pinnacle project, showing the pedestrian walkway from Orchard Street.

Comments

15 responses to “Norwalk photos: Loehmann’s demolition”

  1. Tph

    Oh yippee. More apartments in Norwalk!!!

  2. Piberman

    Norwalk as a “renter’s paradise” is growing “bringing growth” according to City officials.
    Avid students of urban economics. Meanwhile the rest of us wonder why City Hall doesn’t work much harder to attract major firms bringing good jobs to our shabby depressed Downtown. Maybe we just don’t understand “Norwalk economics”. Yes, that’s it. It’s renters not firms with jobs that bring growth. Now why don’t they teach that in schools and colleges ? Never mind. Our 10% Poverty Level will continue no matter how many renters come to Downtown. Renters don’t bring good jobs. Business brings good jobs. And the welcome mat isn’t out.

  3. E Fontaine

    was originally the stop and shop , when they moved next to Bradlees currently Walmart on Connecticut avenue.

  4. Seve

    Maybe someone can reassure me that we will have enough water, electricity and sewage treatment capacity for all the people we are cramming into the town—not to mention the traffic pressure on our roads.

  5. Patrick Cooper

    It represents “a maximum build out of its site under current zoning.” Of course it does. Developer of Waypoint built and sold out – now I hear “the place isn’t the same”. Toll Bros. will do exactly the same thing – build, take advantage of a myopic city, and then cut & run.

    Solving the affordable housing crisis in Norwalk by adding 353 un-affordable apartments?

    No mention of the cost per unit? Anywhere near the $800,000 per unit like POKO? If so, this will be a 315 million dollar development, minimum. So at the current mill, when finished, it should generate about (315m x .70 x .0236) or $5.2 million in annual property taxes. No doubt Mary Yorden is expecting all of that will go to her team.

    Not likely. Not mentioned, but is this getting developed in one of our developer friendly “enterprise” zones? What kind of tax impact will that have?

    Curious – fully leased, what is the projected annual impact on water need (use), water treatment (sewage), traffic, increased garbage, infrastructure, or pollution? Noise? Anyone care to even ask?

    One thing is for sure, with this in close proximity to Waypoint, those folks inside better get used to dealing with constant noise and potentially toxic dust all day long. No rest for those who work 3rd shifts.

    Once again – overbuilt and butt-ugly. What would you expect from our deaf, dumb, and blind P&Z team?

  6. Tysen Canevari

    What a wonderful attribute to our lovely hometown Harry. Just what we needed. Another high rise in the sky for George Jefferson and Louise to move into. And this does what for the town? Hopefully, this is the last parade you and the third lady lead it. Good candidates please apply

  7. Done

    Across from Stew Leonard’s , at the intersection of Dry Hill and Westport Ave, there is a median. Maybe an apartment or two could fit on that parcel of property. Go for it Harry.

  8. David Muccigrosso

    @Patrick – The problem isn’t JUST that people can’t afford the apartments NOW.

    It’s that whenever the bottom of the market eventually drops out, whichever investor gets left holding the bag isn’t going to want to just reduce rents to a market-clearing price. No, they’ll go whining to the mayor about how they need a new tax writeoff.

    Those apartments will sit empty until that happens. In the meantime, they’ll mold and rust and fall into disrepair. By the time they’re ever “affordable” by today’s standards, they’ll be just as beat up as anywhere else in Norwalk. They’ll be sold to some shady management company who trade the “speculator” mentality for a “boiler-room”/slumlord one: get as many people in as possible, at the highest rent they won’t walk away from, and don’t spend a dime more on maintenance or staffing than you can get away with.

    Of course, something still worse could always happen… the market could crash in the middle of construction, and Toll Bros will sell to Citibank. XD

    I know I sound like a broken record, but the longer Norwalk refuses to embrace a sustainable approach of upzoning for broad growth, the longer we treat SoNo — the only district that is remotely self-sustaining — as the golden goose laying eggs for speculators, instead of as the temple we should be hounding those b@$****s FROM… well, the more we’ll just stagnate and be victim to larger national market trends.

    I may have only lived here for four short years, and I may not end up staying here forever… but please. I’m begging YOU, my neighbors… I *love* this place. Let’s stop letting Harry, NOR his incompetent opposition party, keep screwing up this good thing we have going on.

  9. Patrick Cooper

    @David – man-o-man. For a guy who has repeatedly presented a series of wonderfully positive and radiant visions of Norwalk, with a steady diet of organic development with just a little smart thinking & planning, this is a rather bleak and dystopian turn. I see Snake Plisskin for mayor in 2030.

    Not saying I disagree – as the great Gustav Avrakotos noted in “Charlie Wilson’s War” – the zen master always asked – and then what? Once all of these temples to excess & greed are erected, and Harry is but dirt & bones, what will become of our fair city? Like you – I will likely ponder that question from afar.

  10. David Muccigrosso

    @Patrick – Cheers!

    Ironically, I do practice Soto Zen.

    To be fair, I was merely extrapolating current trends by another couple decades. Not trying to be a downer. But IMO, the only reason I’m able to articulate a positive vision is because I’m also able to see exactly what’s negative without getting distracted by either side’s culture-war shibboleths.

    I’m just tired of all the fighting.

  11. Patrick Cooper

    Funny what gets wide media coverage in Norwalk, and what gets ignored. I’ve seen several articles centered around Wilton’s concerns with this project – but silence in the sleeping city.

    “The Norwalk Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to hold a virtual public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday for a proposed 1,300-unit mixed-use residential development” (this was in the Torrington edition – go figure)

    Note – still “virtual” – as the boys have learned, nothing provides greater control – or let’s call a spade a spade – censorship of public opinion than just the right guy controlling the zoom.

    I mean, we are so used to the 300+ and 400+ unit apartment developments – they hardly register anymore. The initial build off Glover by BLT was 700 units – this will get it up to 2,000+

    Remember when these areas were largely filled with business – that provided jobs?

    Now look carefully at the very real scenario presented by @David Muccigrosso above. When the bottom falls out – as it always does – what will these monoliths become?

    Does anyone care – anyone – at all about this city anymore? Is every single resident working on an exit strategy?

  12. Renee

    Wow. although I agree we’ve gone too far. My issue is we already have traffic jams all over Norwalk. Where are we going to squeeze another 700 cars on our roads. I grew up here all my life, and now I can’t afford to live here. It’s sad. But I have to tell you all except Dave, have some respect. Stop calling our Mayor by his 1st name. And a few not nice comments about him. Let’s spread some acceptance, peace, and love for our neighbors, one another and our officials. There’s enough wars going on in this world. ☮️

  13. Ben Hanpeter

    Disappointed to see so much negativity here. This is a big upgrade over the strip mall that used to be there. Folks are going on and on about traffic, greedy developers, and more, but there are mitigations the city can and should implement to help. Get rid of parking minimums would be a great start. Anti vacancy statutes is another idea. People also complain about the high rents, but housing, unlike taxes, does “trickle down” in a sense. Market rate housing helps relieve demand for less expensive housing, and as new developments age, they become cheaper as the architecture and amenities fall out fashion. Norwalk certainly needs more housing, but no one seems to want to talk about that.

  14. matthew merluzzi

    All these apartments along West Ave might make sense if we had some kind of culture along the upper harbor to walk to. Instead they’re building the $1.2billion? dollar Walk Bridge so that the upper harbor can stay industrial? I just don’t get it,…..well, I do they’re all on the take from construction interests. It’s also easier to keep Norwalk Democratic when it’s filled with transient renters.

  15. Payton

    I sort of like this development, but, the Toll Brothers? Come on. They ruined Williamsburg. That kind of developer is so soulless and gutless. Norwalk deserves better. As a small business owner who rents near Wall Street, we desperately need MORE small businesses, cafes, mixed use spaces, and small restaurants to be welcomed in Norwalk. We need help from the government to avoid big developers and landlords further ruining the charm and culture of our city. I don’t understand why the city of Norwalk doesn’t do more to welcome small businesses here- and to be fair, they have helped enormously during the pandemic. But having more small businesses adds culture, variety, and interest to areas of a city that desperately need more of all three. Storefronts should not be allowed to sit empty for so long. There has got to be a way to help small businesses afford to pay rent that, at this time, frankly isn’t worth it because there isn’t enough foot traffic or free parking for customers in Norwalk to justify the prices. That, or ways to incentivize landlords for offering small businesses the chance to actually grow and thrive without price gouging. Perhaps it’s a longer game for ROI, but if the neighborhood continues to thrive, that landlord could make a hearty profit when they sell. I want Norwalk to succeed without becoming a gentrified wasteland. I think it’s possible. But we have to have more support from government, neighbors (YES, that means shopping LOCAL!), and landlords/developers who control their greed.

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