NORWALK, Conn. – POKO Partners has secured an important and long-awaited part of its funding for the Wall Street Place project, Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan said.
“There is indication that the 9 percent tax credits were awarded to the project and there is going to be a need for an extension relative to his time frame in which to deliver the first phase of the project,” Sheehan said Tuesday. “There will be a public process associated with that between the Planning Committee and the Redevelopment Agency insomuch as the agency, the city and the developer are all parties to the agreement.”
Sheehan was talking about Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHAFA) tax credits. Ken Olson of POKO Partners will now need to secure a construction loan, he said.
“That is typically the last piece of the financing puzzle,” he said. “They want to see that everything else is aligned before they are ready to do a construction note. He has had a long-term relationship with a lender on this project that has been involved in the pre-development component. I am sure he is figuring out how best to deal with that, but that is a remaining piece in the financing pool.”
Olson said last month that getting that financing would be a “fairly lengthy” process. “We’re expecting to commence demolition certainly within the second quarter,” he said, meaning by the end of June. “Demolition and foundations are almost a nine-month process, so vertical (construction) would start sometime after that.”
POKO is on the agenda of Wednesday night’s Plan Review Committee as part of the conditions laid out in an extension granted by the Zoning Commission in December.
Councilman Jerry Petrini (R-District D) said last week that he and Mayor Harry Rilling would be meeting with Olson this week. That meeting took place Monday, he said Tuesday, but declined to elaborate.
Last week, Petrini suggested that Olson might want to alter the plan that was approved years ago by the Zoning Commission.
If that’s the case, it’s up to Olson, Sheehan said.
“That’s the developer’s determination to make,” Sheehan said. “At the end of the day, what is in the LDA (Land Disposition Agreement) are the specific requirements of the project and the project is based on the site plan that was approved by the city. He can determine that he wants to deviate from that, but … it’s like anything else. If you want to make a substantial modification to that you’ve got to go back through the approval process.”