STONINGTON — A proposed development at the site of the former Campbell Grain building behind Bess Eaton Donuts in Pawcatuck would lead to the construction of 82 apartments in a mixed-income residential facility that local officials hope will spark further investment in the downtown.
Winn Companies, a Boston-based development and property management company, unveiled detailed plans for the project during a virtual public information session hosted by the town's Economic Development Commission Wednesday evening. The project, which would also include construction of a connected, 92-space ground-level parking garage for residents, seeks to follow an aggressive but realistic timeline that would lead to an application being submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission in September and the completion of construction by April 2023.
“This site provides a great opportunity for us to develop a strong community partnership in an area that is both close to the train station and within walking distance of a vibrant downtown,” said Matthew Robayna, project director for Winn Development, a division of Winn Companies. He said the company has a long history of maintaining its own developments and promised that Win Companies intended to manage the property long-term rather than sell it following construction.
Dave Hammond, chairman of the Economic Development Commission, said commission members are excited about the proposal and what it could mean for the downtown community. The project addresses one of five areas of redevelopment that the commission has chosen to focus on in Pawcatuck as part of an effort to revitalize the downtown area, he said.
Hammond said Wednesday the commission believes a residential facility will be the best and most efficient use of the former Campbell Grain property and would provide an increase in the foot traffic downtown, which would potentially spark interest in commercial development and redevelopment on both sides of the Pawcatuck River.
“This will support existing commercial spaces and hopefully attract more investment to open and unused commercial spaces,” Hammond said. “This is a catalyst for change, one that could be a magnet for investment.”
Early conceptual designs call for a mixed-income housing facility that would include a total of four studio apartments, 35 one-bedroom units, 31 two-bedroom units and 12 three-bedroom units. The units would be housed in a four-story, 117,000-square-foot facility with a private parking garage.
Adam Stein, Winn’s senior vice president of development, said the building would also contain an office and a number of amenities, including a fitness facility, community room, elevator access and a full-time on-site management and maintenance staff. The company also committed to providing public access to the river and indicated that it would develop a path that would allow the community to connect the river walk, a long-term goal that has been expressed by members of the Economic Development Commission.
Due to the location of the property in a back-lot area, Stein said the company would not be considering any commercial use.
“This will truly be a mixed-income, integrated facility,” Stein said. “All units are finished the same and are equally distributed throughout the building with the goal of providing housing that is integrated and inclusive for everyone.”
The initial plan would call for 30% of the units to be priced at market value, while the remaining units would be dependent on an applicant’s median household income. All applicants would be screened for their ability to pay, and credit and background checks would be performed.
Under the proposed timeline, company officials said Wednesday they hoped to begin the planning review process in the fall with the goal of then applying for funding by November. The company intends to seek competitive grants to help fund the project, and if approved would seek to begin construction by November 2021.
Although still very early in the process, Robayna said the company is excited about the opportunity and is looking forward to moving ahead.
“We want to be part of the community, to take care of the property and to be proud of what we own and manage,” he said.