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March 27, 2018

CT Construction Digest Tuesday March 27, 2018

SoNo Collection construction proceeds with North Water Street overpass next

NORWALK — Work on The SoNo collection this spring will focus on remaining steel construction, finishing the garage structure either side of North Water Street, and crossing over the street itself.
“Bringing the large steel beams across North Water Street will be a major milestone,” said Douglas T. Adams, senior director with mall developer General Growth Properties. “We are pushing to stay on track for the reopening of North Water Street but it will take us a few weeks to determine the full impact of the four nor’easter storms on that schedule.”
May 15 remains the target date for reopening the roadway, which was closed between West Avenue and the Metro-North Railroad Danbury Line tracks Jan. 24 to allow construction of an overpass that will connect the two portions of The SoNo Collection.
A temporary detour road was built to connect Pine Street Extension and North Water Street. Motorists also may continue to use Ann and Marshall streets.
City and GGP officials say they’ve coordinated the road closure so as not to interfere with the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s work on Ann Street. The DOT expects two approximately 50-day closures of Ann Street — one this spring, the other in the fall — to replace the superstructure of the railroad bridge over the street. That work is part of preliminary track-and-signal upgrades related the replacement of the Walk Bridge replacement that is expected to begin in 2019.
GGP broke ground last summer on the nearly million-square-foot upscale shopping center, which will be anchored by a Bloomingdale’s store on the south side of North Water Street, a Nordstrom store to the north, and 80 to 100 smaller retailers and public realm space in between on the dozen-acre site off West Avenue and Interstate 95.
The Chicago-based mall developer hired VCC-USA, a national firm, and Connecticut-based KBE Building Corp. as its general contractors for the project. Construction proceeded through the winter months with concrete and steel framework going up.
On Monday, construction crews worked on the ground and high above the site, with workers perched atop beams with welding equipment in hand. The pillars that will carry the overpass are in place. Four enormous cranes with booms towering several hundred feet are in place at strategic locations across the construction site.
On any given day, several hundred construction workers are employed. That number will climb to about 400 by early May, according to Adams.
GGP has described the mall construction as a catalyst for economic growth and job creation in Norwalk. The company projects 2,200 construction jobs over the 30-month construction period and 2,485 full-time jobs once the mall opens in October 2019. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

The Haven upscale outlet mall is alive and moving forward in West Haven, developer says

WEST HAVEN — The Haven upscale outlet mall project is alive and moving forward, although an executive for the developer acknowledged it is taking longer than expected to complete the site acquisition.“I think you can say we’re still very committed to the project,” said Matt Armstrong, executive vice president of The Haven Group LLC.
“A lot of the leasing challenges are behind us,” he said. “It’s been a long process but it’s been a fair process. I think we’ve been very fair to the city and all the property owners.
“As you know, it took us longer than expected to get the real estate locked up,” Anderson said. “We’re just finishing that up. We have two tenants who are vacating next month.”
He was referring to holdouts Nick’s Luncheonette at 423 First Ave. and members of the McGinnity family, both of which ultimately settled with the developer but are still occupying property on First Avenue.
Nick’s owner Nick Milas has said that his final move-out date is now April 10. He has said that he was looking at the former Pizza Hut on Sawmill Road as one possible new location, but has yet to confirm that or any other location.
 The owners of a third holdout property, S & S Mini Mart Citgo at Elm Street and First Avenue, now may or may not have to move, depending on the final plan, Armstrong said.
“We don’t know yet,” Armstrong said. In addition, “As with every project, we are working on leasing, and leasing is going well — and we have to hit a threshold,” Armstrong said. “I don’t know where we are exactly on that, but we’re getting very close. When we hit that threshold, you’re going to start seeing some site work.”
Armstrong agreed to discuss the status of the project amid widespread local speculation that it was either stalled or dead. Mayor Nancy Rossi, who took office in December, is among those who have suggested that it was stalled.
“I wouldn’t say it’s stalled,” said Armstrong, who is based in Greenwich, with another partner, Ty Miller, based in Dallas. “I would say it’s in pre-leasing.
“This one clearly has taken a long time, but it’s been the result of the real estate,” Armstrong said. “It’s taken a long time for us to reach agreement with 56 property owners.”He also acknowledged that the transfer of the city-owned Bayview Park — which was developed in part with federal funds and consequently needed federal approval to be sold for development — was an issue “only in that it has taken a little bit longer” than expected. “But I do believe that we’ll have that parcel resolved in the next 60 days,” he said. The speculation has been fueled both by the length of time that has passed and the fact that “Coming Soon — The Haven” banners on temporary fencing around part of the site along Main Street and First Avenue recently were removed.
That’s where demolition of four vacant houses took place just before last September’s Democratic primary, in which current Mayor Nancy Rossi defeated former Mayor Ed O’Brien.“I had some temporary fencing removed last week and people saw that as us just packing up and leaving. But it wasn’t,” Armstrong said. “We had some issues where the temporary fencing kept falling down,” and in addition, the demolition behind it was complete “and it was just a flat, empty lot,” he said.
Rossisaid she does not consider it stalled now. “I consider it was a stalled project until I got in and we got involved,” Rossi said. One problem her administration has been involved in resolving is the status of Bayview Park, where “restrictions had to be lifted,” she said. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE