The Day – Developer submits revised mixed-use proposal for Five Corners in Groton City

Groton – A new proposal for the Five Corners neighborhood in the town of Groton, within walking distance of Electric Boat and Pfizer, calls for a mixed-use building with a New England-style facade and more commercial space on the first floor.

A developer, GBU Capital LLC. of Scottsdale, Ariz., submitted a revised application for a “floating zone” mixed-use design district on the site at the corner of Benham and Poquonnock Roads, after the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission refused during ‘a 4-3 vote last May of the developer’s previous application.

Neighbors and commissioners had raised concerns, especially about parking, and said the architecture, height and intensity of the building would not be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. Some comments also indicated that the proposal would help boost economic development and provide housing, as Electric Boat plans to increase hiring in the future.

Groton Town Mayor Keith Hedrick said the town listened to residents who spoke at the public hearing last spring, and that the developer changed the building’s design and expanded the commercial space first floor. He said the proposal would help the city address several issues, from housing to parking, associated with the planned electric boat expansion.

“The new proposal shows a building with a very different and more traditional facade, a smaller footprint and a larger percentage of the first floor dedicated to commercial space,” said town planner Leslie Creane. The previous design has a more modern look.

A public hearing is scheduled for December 21 on the mixed-use development district overlay area application at 2, 8, 22 and 46 Benham Road and 1 Mariani Court, which includes a zoning map change and a change to the text. As with the previous request, this would be the first step in the process before the developer can submit a development sitemap. The public hearing will begin at 6.30 p.m. in the municipal council chamber of the municipal building.

The developer offers a 78,285 square foot five-story building, with a lobby, bicycle storage and 3,833 feet of retail space on the ground floor, and 80 apartment units on the four upper floors. , according to demand. The apartments will be a mix of studios, one and two bedroom units, and there will be 121 parking spaces: 24 covered parking spaces under the building, 48 surface spaces on the main site and 49 additional spaces. on nearby land. 46 Benham Road.

All commercial and residential buildings and parking areas on existing properties would be demolished to make way for the new project.

Seamus Moran, project manager at Loureiro Engineering Associates, said in the application that the project will help the city create a sense of place in the Five Corners area, a top priority in the city’s conservation and development plan.

“The unique architecture, including the rooftop plaza, will attract people to this development and foster a community environment intrinsic to the development of a sense of belonging,” he wrote. “By promoting pedestrian and bicycle access, this building will become the cornerstone of the Five Corners neighborhood. With retail / commercial space on the ground floor, as well as other area attractions such as Washington and Fort Griswold Park, numerous restaurants and Electric Boat just minutes away, this new development will serve a great purpose. improve this neighborhood and will help create a sense of space for the five corners.

Hedrick said the city is embracing the concept of mixed-use development, with shops on the first floor and housing above, with the aim of attracting more businesses to the city and making the city more accessible on foot. and by bicycle so that residents, once they find a place to live, can patronize businesses within walking and cycling distance.

“When you look at that as a whole, I think it’s an opportunity for the city of Groton to embrace the future,” he said.

As Electric Boat is poised to expand, Hedrick said the proposal would help provide housing for some of the 3,000 planned employees – over the next three to five years – and their families. It would also help eliminate some of the expected parking issues associated with the expected growth, as residents would have to walk or cycle to work. He said the proposed development would bring much-needed business activity to the city, which could help revitalize Thames Street and also help increase the tax base.

He said city officials aren’t trying to take away the “small town sense” from the city, but Five Corners is near the industrial section of town and is a good place to have units. residential.

Chris West of GBU Capital LLC said on Monday that the company has a policy of not commenting on drafts before a hearing.

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