The owner of a Danbury office building has pulled plans to convert the four upper floors of a five-story structure into 48 apartments and build a 160-unit apartment building in the parking lot behind it, with a three-level parking garage. The 2.4-acre property at 30 and 34 Main St. is across the street from PriceRite. Photographed on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, in Danbury, Conn.
DANBURY – A week after investors of the largest downtown apartment house proposal pulled their plans over the unknown cost and scope of a sewer study, both sides expressed hope for talks to continue about building the 208-unit project on south Main Street.
“We like to see more and more residential development downtown, but we have to do our due diligence,” said Anthony Iadarola, Danbury’s engineer and director of public works. “We’re not saying, ‘No, it can’t be done’ or telling them, ‘Forget it, goodbye.’ We’re telling them if they want to develop this property, this is the way to move ahead.”
Iadarola was referring to a sewer capacity study the city’s engineering department required of the investors. In April, they had proposed converting their five-story office building at 30 Main St. into 48 apartments, and constructing a seven-story apartment building in the rear of the property, with 160 more rental units and a 250-space parking garage.
City engineers had required the study because the conversion from an office building to apartment houses represented “five times the (sewer usage) allotment for that parcel,” Iadarola said.
Tom Beecher, the attorney representing the redevelopers of Danbury Executive Tower, said the problem was not so much the need for the study but that city staff was not able to “define the scope and costs to be borne by Tower Investments associated with connecting this project to the city sewer system infrastructure” in time for a July 12 public hearing.
As a result, Beecher said, the investors didn’t want to agree to a condition that was unknown, and they withdrew their land use application.
“I have all the respect in the world for Antonio,” he said on Monday. “The problem for us was we were out of time.”
In an unusually lengthy 1½-page notice of withdrawal, Beecher noted that the city’s insistence on a sewer capacity study appeared to be at odds with a statement on page 77 of Danbury’s newly adopted master plan that says, “Downtown Danbury has the infrastructure and services to support high-density residential development. This includes … sewer and water infrastructure…”
He expressed hope that investors could cooperate with the city to satisfy the sewer capacity study requirement and “work through this.”
The withdrawal of the project, known as The Legacy on Main, is among several high-profile development proposals that have been pulled from the table recently in greater Danbury.
In May, for example, a Greenwich developer that had come under fire for proposing 170 apartments on land next to an animal sanctuary founded in honor of a slain Sandy Hook girl withdrew the blueprints and promised to “revise the design.” So far, the developer, Teton Capital, is yet to submit those new plans, according to Newtown’s land use department.
In April, a New York mover pulled controversial plans for a 210,000-square-foot warehouse on Danbury’s west side with no further word. To date, that mover, Clancy Moving Systems, is yet to resubmit blueprints to develop a 29-acre site on the campus of the Summit office park.
Meanwhile, concerning The Legacy project on Danbury’s south Main Street, Iadarola said a sewer consultant that the city uses could map out the scope of the study Danbury wants the investors to conduct by the end of the week. That should also give the investors a sense of how much it will cost.
“We’re following up with them,” Iadarola said on Monday.
Beecher agreed that there was a mutual understanding.
“I am hopeful as Antonio has indicated that all this can be worked out,” Beecher said.
Rob Ryser is a reporter with the News-Times. Rob is a career journalist with a rare flair for storytelling. He specializes in City Hall coverage and general assignment features.