SoNo Pearl christened with groundbreaking

From left, Norwalk Redevelopment Agency Chairman Felix Serrano, the Rev. Holly Adams, state Sen. Bob Duff (D-25), Mayor Harry Rilling, Zoning Commissioner Nate Sumpter, Chamber of Commerce Chairman Ed Musante, Zoning Commissioner Joe Santo and Tom Rich of F.D. Rich Co, toss some dirt Monday on Washington Street.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk politicians gathered Monday to express hope and confidence that SoNo is on the verge of a grand revitalization, with a promise to come back one year later and do it again.

The groundbreaking on “The Pearl,” a 66-apartment development at 99 Washington St., was marked by enthusiasm and high spirits.

“This is an amazing, amazing day,” Mayor Harry Rilling said. “I was down here the other night and I can say with all confidence, South Norwalk is on the way back. There are going to be lots and lots of people walking our streets.”

The Pearl is being built by F.D. Rich and Co. It will feature 154 parking spaces, to be used by both residents and the public, Tom Rich said. This will also include valet parking, which Rich said in March would help the local businesses.

Rich called it “another exciting addition to this very special neighborhood that we affectionately refer to as SoNo,” which will help make it one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Fairfield County.

Rilling referred to the newly built Ironworks SoNo, and the imminent arrival of new residents. It’s amazing how many people are visiting the new restaurant, Harlan Publick, and then walking the street, he said. He also promoted the expected opening of Washington Prime, another restaurant in Ironworks.

“It’s going to be an amazing complex,” Rilling said, of The Pearl. “I can’t wait to come down here and cut the ribbon when it opens up.”

Rich said that would be in a year.

State Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) mentioned the vision for SoNo back in the ’70’s and ’80’s.

“South Norwalk is like a great piece of art. It’s really unfinished. Sometimes you need to continue to work at it to make it even more beautiful,” Duff said. “That is what we are doing here today with The Pearl. We are making South Norwalk more beautiful. We are making it revitalized. We are continuing to bring energy to this street.”

An artists rendering of “The Pearl.”


9 responses to “SoNo Pearl christened with groundbreaking”

  1. Taxpayer Fatigue

    Great news! This will add to the grand list as well as provide much needed to density of people living and working in SONO.

  2. Ms Ruby McPherson

    Will this have any affordable apartments?

  3. Kathleen Montgomery

    Good question, Ruby. I too would like to hear the answer.

  4. piberman

    So a 66 apartment bldg merits “an amazing day…” for Norwalk ? hmmm.

  5. Taxpayer Fatigue

    A 66 unit building that is a major addition to South Norwalk and a 273 mixed income development replacing an outdated housing project supported by a $30M grant from HUD is a pretty amazing day!

  6. One and Done.

    What are the anticipated property taxes from both of these developments vs. the anticipated outlays. Does anyone even care anymore about basic finances?

  7. Mike Mushak

    To answer several of the good questions presented here by previous commenters:
    This project was required to have 10% workforce housing units, as all if our new projects are. There are 6 affordable units, equal in quality and distribution around the project, available to anyone making less than 80% of the state median income.
    The economic impact of Waypointe, The Pearl, Ironworks, and the new Washington Village for that matter are not only from increased property tax revenue. Studies show that every new resident in a dense walkable downtown like SoNo generate up to $50,000 in economic activity in their community. Everyone spends money on food, entertainment, clothes, transportation, laundry, furnishings, etc., which generates sales tax revenue as well as supporting local businesses and their employees. Bringing more folks downtown is smart on so many levels, and improves communities with new vibrancy and economic activity.
    The old idea that these projects add huge increases to local services like adding kids to our schools is not borne out by the evidence in multiple studies. In fact, if I recall correctly without looking it up, every new multi-family housing unit in Norwalk adds less than a .03 new student, meaning about 1 student for every 33 apartments added. I will confirm that when I have time, but it is that minimal of a number. I even recall a number as low as .01 student per unit, in one study. Most of these projects are not attracting families but are attracting single millennials and older empty nesters. Other services added including police and fire are also minimal considering all of the new fire and security technology including cameras that are built into these buildings, and Norwalk’s excellent existing emergency response system that has been improved drastically over the last 2 decades.
    Every new housing project that gets announced for Norwalk is good news, regardless of whether it’s low income or high income. It means more choices for everyone, and more competition, keeping housing costs for everyone more affordable.

  8. One and Done.

    Each low income housing unit in this city costs taxpayers $80k per year to support when you add up all the government programs that go into these. That doesn’t even include the cost of crimes and subsequent enforcement and incarceration that many of the alumni of these projects go on to cost us. These are failures on society and building nice new places for them to destroy isn’t going to change the facts on the ground.

  9. MaxPower

    It’s simply amazing reading these “comment sections.” No one’s happy about anything. Everyone bitches about low income housing and is full of piss and vinegar. It’s a gorgeous new building with added parking that will compliment new development (reed/putnam, wash village, waypointe, etc) and help build this into a vibrant community that has been sagging (economically and culturally) over the past 6 years. What the hell is wrong with everyone?? Go hang out in Stamford.

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