The proposed shopping center will become a 1.1 million square foot area of educational, cultural, public, hotel, restaurant and retail space.
The developer, General Growth Properties (GGP) stated that it will become a place for educational use, performing arts, community and public gathering.
The master site plan for the 12-acre development located off Interstate 95 and West Avenue was presented to members of the Common Council Planning Committee and Norwalk Redevelopment Commission, by GGP’s representatives.
During June, plans were presented by GGP for a 700000ft² predominantly retail developments.
The new plan, due to input from the community, has been modified to include 780000ft² of restaurant and retail space, 180000ft² of public space indoors, 5000ft² of space for educational purposes, a hotel with 150 rooms and around two to four percent of the overall square footage to be reserves for cultural and public use.
GGP intends to place a formal request for the modification of the existing Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for this site by the end of this year. The request asks for the allowance of 601000ft² of office space, 125000ft² of restaurant and retail space, 250 apartments, and a hotel consisting of 145 rooms. Part of the concept includes primary access on North Water Street, trolley, pedestrian and bike trail improvements, and a huge parking garage.
Councilman Bruce I Kimmel indicated that the main issue, which should be considered immediately, is the proposed usage amendment. According to GGP’s legal representative, William J. Hennessey, the office development that was envisioned during 2007 has become unfeasible and the residential market is currently reaching its capacity. He said that in contrast, the retail demand is exceeding supply.
Councilman Douglas E. Hempstead, the chairman of the Planning Committee, said the plan may need a new LDA, instead of a modification to an existing one.
Other members of the committee focused their questions and comments on design, hotel feasibility, nature of the restaurants and retailers and traffic related to the proposed development.
An aggressive timetable has been set by GGP for the $285m development. It hopes to have approval by January 2016 and after 30 months of construction, to reach an opening during mid-2018.
According to GGP, this development could generated around $4.7m in permit fees for the city, $941m in spending, $34m in income and state sales taxes. It will also generate around 5545 of mostly local construction jobs. It could eventually offer Norwalk around $4.7m in annual property taxes and offer locals 2485 full-time jobs.
The Redevelopment Commission has stated their intention to expedite reviews of the proposed plan.