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Thread: Stamford, CT

  1. #16

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    Yeah, New Haven's pretty nice, but mostly around the University and the Green. Plus a few nice residential areas.

    Much of elsewhere...the usual parking lots that characterize sick American cities: symptom and cause at the same time.

  2. #17

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    I'll take it when it's up against Stamford's glass boxes and parking ramps.

  3. #18

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    June 11, 2006
    In the Region | Connecticut
    Donald Trump Wants to Be the Biggest
    By LISA PREVOST


    Although the design of the 400-foot-high Trump Parc has been praised, some critics think it would be too tall for the lot next to the Target store, above.

    STAMFORD

    PROLIFERATING condominium developments routinely jam the agendas of Stamford's planning and zoning boards, but few attract as much attention as the Trump Parc tower, now approaching the end of the approval process.

    By the weight of its name alone, this proposed tower has generated both intense enthusiasm and sour skepticism about its effect on the city's downtown core. Even more consequential than Donald J. Trump's emergence on the Stamford skyline, however, is the project's proposed height.

    The developers — Thomas Rich of Stamford and Louis Cappelli, of White Plains — want to amend Stamford's downtown zoning regulations to allow this residential tower to be built 70 feet taller than the city's current limit of 330 feet. A slender high-rise designed by Costas Kondylis, the architect for Trump World Tower near the United Nations in Manhattan, Trump Parc would sit on a half-acre of now-vacant land next to a Target store at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Broad Street.

    Currently, Stamford's tallest structure is Landmark Tower, a commercial building measuring 270 feet. At 400 feet above the sidewalk, Trump Parc would be within the range of two major Trump developments over the New York border in Westchester County: the 350-foot Trump Tower in White Plains and the 435-foot Trump Plaza under construction in downtown New Rochelle.

    Yet in downtown Stamford, less ambitious high-rise residential projects have proved notoriously risky. The Classic and the Biltmore apartment buildings were financial flops when they first opened in the late 1980's, noted Richard Redniss, a longtime Stamford land-use consultant and an adviser on the Trump Parc project. Both have been converted to condominiums.

    More recently, soaring construction costs have contributed to delays in development of the 18-story Highgrove condominium project on Forest Street. Progress on City Place, a 100-unit building on Washington Boulevard, has also been slow.

    Trump Parc's backers are banking on the combination of local expertise with a powerful brand name to enable the project to flourish. The F. D. Rich Company has developed much of downtown Stamford over the last three decades, while Cappelli Enterprises is a partner with Mr. Trump on the White Plains and New Rochelle towers.

    The Trump organization will aid in design and marketing. "I don't think it would work without my name," Mr. Trump said. "My name has become so synonymous with great buildings that I sell with people not even seeing what they're buying."

    Marketing potential aside, however, city planning officials say they are less impressed with the Trump name than with the building's design. "We're very excited about the architecture of the building," said Robin Stein, chief of the city's land use bureau. "We think it's superb."

    Though the Planning Board, downtown merchants and economic development groups have also been effusive, the Zoning Board has been proved more of a hurdle for the project. Members are mulling not whether Stamford is ready for a higher high-rise, but whether the developers have chosen the right spot.

    "I'm not against high-rise development," said one member, Harry Parson Jr., who has lived in Stamford for 33 years. "But we have to pick and choose where it's going to be. If it's in the right place, great."

    The half-acre Trump Parc site is part of a 2.7-acre parcel that the Rich company owns jointly with Target. The property is landscaped with grass, ornamental trees and park benches, but Mr. Rich said his intent was always to develop the site. Plans call for 185 units, most with one or two bedrooms, averaging about 1,500 square feet.

    Bernard Simpkin, a 20-year resident of Stamford who moved from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, said the proposed tower "would look ridiculous" looming over Target and, across the street, the smaller building housing a satellite campus of the University of Connecticut. Mr. Simpkin is among a handful of residents who have complained about the project in letters to the local newspaper, The Advocate. The newspaper's editorial page has urged the Zoning Board to ensure that the project fits the city, "not the other way around."

    Mr. Rich says such comments fail to appreciate the project's potential positive contribution to the city. Seven additional stories is a minor tradeoff for the litany of benefits, he said. Aside from a $3.5 million contribution to the city's affordable housing fund and $1 million a year in additional property tax revenue, Trump Parc will bring badly needed housing to a growing downtown, he said.

    Building housing downtown will help to relieve the congestion on Connecticut highways by putting commuters within walking distance of the train station, Mr. Rich said.

    Growth in the city's financial services industries is also fueling demand for high-quality housing downtown. GE Capital and UBS will soon be joined by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is expected to bring some 3,000 jobs to Stamford when it completes its North American headquarters on Washington Boulevard.

    "The only solution for our desire to nurture and grow and stabilize our commercial base is to provide housing downtown," Mr. Rich said.

    Compared with a number of other high-end condominium projects on the drawing boards for downtown, Trump Parc will have a broader market reach, Mr. Rich asserts, because many of its units will be comparatively smaller. Though the average price at Trump Parc is expected to be just under $1 million, some units will be priced as low as $550,000. In contrast, the average price of a home or condo in Stamford exceeds $700,000.

    "I don't understand how anybody could be opposed to this," he said.

    Still, Mr. Stein, the land use chief, hears the "so-called buzz" on the streets. "Some people think it's a gorgeous building in the wrong place," he said. "Some don't like Trump; some don't want tall buildings period."

    Without the extra floors at Trump Parc, the project becomes marginal, Mr. Rich said, because profits from higher-priced units at the top help cover costs.

    As for the Zoning Board, members are readying for some long meetings. "There will be some knock-down, drag-out discussions about whether to go ahead with this project," Mr. Parson said.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  4. #19

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    Even more consequential than Donald J. Trump's emergence on the Stamford skyline, however, is the project's proposed height.
    Of course, what else? You could propose a giant dog turd as long as it wasn't high. Oh...they've already been built; Stamford's entirely composed of them.

  5. #20

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    Bernard Simpkin, a 20-year resident of Stamford who moved from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, said the proposed tower "would look ridiculous" looming over Target and, across the street, the smaller building housing a satellite campus of the University of Connecticut. Mr. Simpkin is among a handful of residents who have complained about the project in letters to the local newspaper, The Advocate. The newspaper's editorial page has urged the Zoning Board to ensure that the project fits the city, "not the other way around."
    I'm glad this NIMBY moved from the UWS to a place where he belongs.

    I wonder if all this Trump construction outside the city is encouraging centrifugal tendencies. How about a Trump Tower Brooklyn, Trump Plaza Long Island City, or better yet, Trump Bronx Parc?

  6. #21

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    "OMIGOD, a skyscraper will is looming over a TARGET! to the NIMBY-mobile!"

  7. #22

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    Got to keep those Targets from being over-loomed!!

  8. #23
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    Zoning schmoning. There's no reason for Stamford to impose a height limit, especially downtown. Density promotes mass transit. Besides, the flight patterns at HPN are not a factor over downtown Stamford. The city should approve this project right away.

  9. #24
    The Dude Abides
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    In Connecticut, an Office Hub Resurges


    Expanding companies are filling office towers in Stamford, Conn.


    By LISA PREVOST

    Published: September 6, 2006

    STAMFORD, Conn., Aug. 30 — Lower Fairfield County’s office market has long revolved around this corporate center, a coastal city of roughly 117,000 situated less than an hour from New York City. Yet as the economy lagged, starting several years ago, the city’s dominance was diluted by the loss of a number of companies to locales farther up the I-95 corridor, where the lower cost of living is easier on employees.

    But this year, a more vigorous office market throughout the area is signaling Stamford’s resurgence as a major center for financial services. The heart of the activity is downtown, where UBS Warburg’s American headquarters will soon be joined by a 500,000-square-foot building to be occupied by the Royal Bank of Scotland and a subsidiary, RBS Greenwich Capital.

    The presence in Stamford of two of the world’s largest banks has an enormous symbolic impact, said Robert Caruso, managing director of the Westchester-Fairfield office of CB Richard Ellis, the big commercial real estate services company. “These are two of the most respected financial services firms in the world saying, ‘I want to grow my business in Fairfield County,’ ” Mr. Caruso said.

    The market in Midtown Manhattan, where prices have been rising steadily and there is a shortage of vacant office space, is adding to the momentum, as firms look to expand consider suburban locations.

    Demand is also spilling over from Greenwich, where the proliferation of hedge funds and private equity firms has driven rents so high that “they have really turned it into a submarket of Manhattan,” said Judd McArthur, vice president of Cresa Partners, a corporate real estate advisory firm. “For them, it’s about where I want to put my office, not how much the rent is,” he said.

    In Stamford, where office vacancies topped 20 percent a year ago, the rate now averages about 13 to 14 percent. Average asking rents in the central business district are up more than $6 a square foot since 2004, to $34.75 a square foot, according to data supplied by CB Richard Ellis. Owners of ultramodern Class A buildings that are closest to the city’s mass transit center report asking rents in the mid-$40’s to upper $50’s.

    For Fairfield County as a whole, office vacancy rates have reached a five-year low of 15.6 percent, with leasing activity for the first half of the year totaling 1.6 million square feet, roughly the same as last year, according to a Cushman & Wakefield analysis.

    The total square footage leased in Greenwich this year has actually dropped, but this reflects the lack of available space. In the central business district, where space is “almost nonexistent,” average asking rents were up 14 percent over last year, to more than $70 a square foot, for the first half of the year, according to Mr. Caruso.

    The market’s intensity is vividly illustrated in the pending sale of Pickwick Plaza, one of Greenwich’s most high-profile office properties. A four-building complex, Pickwick Plaza is under contract to an undisclosed buyer for $230 million, or nearly $1,000 a square foot, according to Scott Landis of the Landis Group, a principal partner in the property along with Broadway Real Estate Partners of New York. The sale price is exactly twice what the partnership paid in June 2002 for the property, which is fully leased; rents are approaching $90 a square foot.

    Mr. Landis said he had been talking with several large Manhattan firms about leasing at 400 Atlantic Street, his 15-story office building a block from Stamford’s transit center. Built as the world headquarters for Champion International, the 500,000-square-foot building has undergone about $15 million worth of renovations and enhancements since the Landis Group purchased the property in 2001.

    About 75,000 square feet of space is available now, and Mr. Landis said a total of 300,000 square feet would become available within two years, which would represent the largest block of Class A space on the Stamford market. “I’ve seen more activity coming out of Manhattan in the last year than I’ve seen in the last seven or eight years in the market,” Mr. Landis said.

    In the last year, 10 companies have relocated part or all of their offices from Manhattan or Greenwich to two Stamford office buildings owned by W&M Properties, according to Jeffrey H. Newman, W&M’s executive vice president. The Bank of Ireland, for instance, leased more than 22,000 square feet for its wholesale financial services and global markets groups at First Stamford Place, an 810,000-square-foot office park a block from the city’s mass transit center. These offices moved from Greenwich.

    Morgan & Finnegan, an intellectual property law firm with headquarters at 3 World Financial Center, leased 3,000 square feet at First Stamford Place this year after deciding that it needed an outlying office to service its Connecticut clients better, said Andrew M. Riddles, a partner in the Stamford office. The firm focused on Stamford “as the corporate center of Fairfield County,” he said.

    Rents at First Stamford Place are in the upper $40’s a square foot, while rents at W&M’s Metro Center, a 280,000-square-foot property at the transit center, are in the upper $50’s, Mr. Newman said. The company plans to expand its stake in the market with the development of an additional 345,000 square feet of office space on a five-acre site next to Metro Center. “We feel there’s a market for a multitenanted high-performance property,” Mr. Newman said.

    Climbing rents and fewer concessions in the central Stamford and Greenwich markets are making space in outlying areas of Stamford and in Norwalk more attractive. “That out-of-downtown product is now aggressively being leased,” said Jim Fagan, senior managing director at Cushman & Wakefield.

    The Merritt 7 Corporate Park, a six-building complex in Norwalk with 1.4 million square feet, is 96 percent leased, with asking rents of $34.50 a square foot, according to JoAnn Brennan-McGrath, the director of leasing. “We’re seeing more firms with offices in New York City or Stamford or Greenwich opening offices farther out to cut costs and commute time for employees,” she said.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  10. #25

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    damn. Greenwich and Stamford have more expensive rents than lower manhattan.

    By the way, the trump tower in stamford was officially shot by the local government about a month ago

  11. #26

    Default Not true

    They've only scaled it back - from 184 condos to 177; from 400 feet to 350; and from 37 stories to 34. http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news...ocal-headlines

  12. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by ionie View Post
    They've only scaled it back - from 184 condos to 177; from 400 feet to 350; and from 37 stories to 34.
    Important to knock those three stories off the top. They might have cast shadows on passing cars.

  13. #28

    Default Highgrove

    What I want to know is whether or not this Highgrove complex is actually going to happen - it's been a big ugly hole in the ground for about a year!! Anyone know what's going on there? Is it really just a matter of contruction costs or did they go belly up?

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by czsz View Post
    I wouldn't call other Connecticut cities failures. Not as economically successful, sure, but that's merely one standard of measurement. New Haven is virtually subsidised by Yale but many parts come out looking fine. Plus it has quite a few excellent restaurants...not to mention streetlife period, something which is conspicuously absent from Stamford.
    When's the last time you were in Stamford? There are plenty of good restaurants and a thriving nightlife. It might not be Greenwich Village but it's hopping. And while I wouldn't call too many other Conn cities failures either I would mention that the city of Bridgeport went into Bankruptcy a few years back and New Haven and Hartford remain financially challenged. Stamford has its problems as well, but the taxes are very low and it's in a great location. It was also named one of the safest cities in America (among cities with populations over 100,000) last year. Although anyone who lives here knows that North Stamford skews that figure a bit and that there are some areas in which you don't want to live. But that's any city.

  15. #30
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    Stamford is somewhat of an odd duck. It would seem to have so much potential, but it just misses the mark for the most part. If this is indeed the city that works, then how come it can't pull some muscle with the state and feds to FIX the I-95 mess from here to Bridgeport? Why does Stamford tolerate those threatening SLUMS no more than three blocks west of downtown? And how come Stamford doesn't insist on some sort of walkway OVER I-95, leading from the train station to downtown? My handful of recommendations:

    1. Work with the CT DOT and DEMAND that I-95 be widened by one lane in each direction, from Stamford to Bridgeport.
    2. Find funding to build a pedestrian overpass, linking the train station to downtown.
    3. Increase nighttime street lighting, skipping over high pressure sodium vapor lights in favor of mercury-vapor.
    4. Start tearing down the slum just west of town.
    5. Remove height restrictions on all buildings; eliminate zoning restrictions on signs and advertisements.
    6. Allow advertising signage along I-95. (Restaurants should be able to advertise.)
    7. Consider NEON as the city's chosen art form.

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