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Waypointe plans to transform West Avenue

An iPic Theater is shown in this rendering of the latest Waypointe proposal.
An iPic Theater is shown in this rendering of the latest Waypointe proposal.

Correction made 1:33 p.m. Thursday, July 17, to show proper size and capacity of planned iPic Theater complex. Also, the status of The Berkeley project was clarified.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk redevelopment plans are surging forward as the Waypointe project appears ready to sprawl from one side of West Avenue to the other, with medical office space, retail, apartments and, closer to the Stepping Stones Museum for children, a luxurious movie theater that offers “the ultimate movie experience.”

Waypointe developers have hit both the Zoning Committee and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency in the past week, taking the preliminary steps in two projects. Attorney Elizabeth Suchy told zoners about plans to demolish Loehman’s, while Bill Andriopoulos of Andriopoulos Design Associates LLC, outlined the concept of an apartment building on the corner of Maple Street and West Avenue, a project that is separate from Waypointe.  Paxton Kinol of Belpointe Capital also offered an update on the businesses expected to move into Waypointe.

“Within 30 days you’ll have five leases signed for Phase 1,” Kinol said. “Some of them are restaurants that you’ll all know, well. They’re nice, big restaurants, very successful restaurants from our area and national restaurants, New York restaurants, that are all planning on coming.”

The Stark building at 17 Butler St. will be expanded to include a 33,000-plus-square-foot iPic Theater complex, which will offer 620 seats spread out across eight theaters, Suchy said. There will be a restaurant and bar on the main level, she said.

The nearby Loehman’s will become a parking lot, and the Gap will remain. In all, this will mean 356,000 square feet of new retail, 12,000 square feet of fitness space and 3,000 square feet of new restaurant space, she said.

“This would start to bring closure and completion to the Waypointe project,” she said.

Lori Hall of Penney Design said the design concept is a “traditional Main Street feel.” The Gap building at 467 West Ave. will maintain a majority of its design, she said.

"The Berkeley" is shown in the rendering, across the street from The Waypointe.
“The Berkeley” is shown in the rendering, across the street from The Waypointe.

Andriopoulos, a third-party design consultant retained by the developer to evaluate the project and report his findings to the NRA, talked about a building called “The Berkeley.” If approved, there would be 65-one bedroom apartments and 62 two-bedrooms in the six-story building between Maple and Berkeley streets, hiding a six-story parking garage in the middle of the structure, he said. There would be 4,800 square feet of retail on the ground level fronting West Avenue, and 6,600 square feet of medical offices on Maple Street.

The Frost Building at 520 West Ave. would remain, he said. The architecture of the new building would complement the Frost Building, he said. A blank wall was originally designed to face drivers heading south on West Avenue; that has been changed to include windows. It is hoped that a trellis on the top of the building could become a landmark, he said.

The Zoning Commission approved the site plan review for the project in March. Tusday night’s presentation was part of the required design review process, Suchy said.

Kinol said the current Waypointe project is “going along at a pretty good clip.” There have been 108 certificates of occupancy issued and those apartments are full, he said. He said he expects 50 more apartments in the next couple of weeks, even though developers have been “running into little snags.”

“The last two buildings we tried to deliver, the sewers were connected to the building, but as you went through the ground they weren’t connected,” he said. “We ran into that same problem again. We caught it this time beforehand and then couldn’t get our inspections last week because the water pipes leading to that building hadn’t been inspected or tested.”

He said he thought, on Monday evening, that those inspections were imminent.

“Between now and Oct. 1 we’ll deliver about 102 more apartments, which is a big hurdle for us because that will pay my mortgage so the pressure will be off a little bit at that point,” Kinol said. “We might be able to finish ahead of schedule by a month or two at the tail end. We are hope to be framed out by the end of November, which means completed at the end of May. I believe our original schedule was to be finished by the end of July. So that’s two months. It’s been a bumpy road in between. We clearly were rusty after not building for four years. It’s a complicated building.”

Kinol said he was seeking financing for The Berkeley and for one down the street called “Quincy Lofts,” which would be similar, he said.

The church at left will remain, according to the plan drawn up by Belpointe capital.
The church at left will remain, according to the plan drawn up by Belpointe Capital. The building at right, 3 Quincy St., will be moved.

The real estate transactions on 26-36 Orchard Street will be closed Aug. 6, he said. Demolition would start soon thereafter. The plan is to pick up and move the old brick building at 3 Quincy Street across the street, he said.

Chase Bank is going into Waypointe on the corner of West and Orchard. Kinol said JC Salons would be moving in; both Chase and JC need to be open by the end of the year, he said, and other leases have an April 1 opening date written into them.

“I would say almost all the spaces are spoken for except for spaces under 2,000 square feet,” Kinol said. “For example, the deal on the ice cream store is not done yet. There is no fast food in our development at all; it is all sit down.”

Comments

2 responses to “Waypointe plans to transform West Avenue”

  1. Mike Mushak

    Great news for Norwalk. Keep up the good work! Considering all of the different proposals over the years by Seligson, the current Waypointe project for this site was by far well worth waiting all those decades for, as it combines many of the latest urban design solutions in quality place-making. Well, except for bike lanes along West Ave. and a trolley circulator system to connect to the SoNo Train Station and Wall St, but those will happen. The city is just a bit slower in finding solutions than the private sector, but many of us are working on that.

  2. New Era

    Real exciting for west ave! Norwalk moving forward!

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