The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency is dedicated to revitalizing the Urban Core. From Wall Street to South Main, we enhance livability, walkability and community resources for residents, visitors and businesses. These major projects represent our efforts to promote growth and improvement in the Urban Core.
Through the South Norwalk Renovation Program, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency purchased the multi-use building at 24 Haviland Street for $220,000 and is returning the former thrift shop to its original, zoning-approved, residential purpose. Following renovation, the Agency will resell it as deed-restricted affordable housing to a low- or moderate-income owner-occupant.
Financing by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency supported renovating the Human Services Council’s property at 40 South Main Street. This 120-year-old building, which was vacant and deteriorating through the ’70s and ’80s, now provides supportive housing to chronically and imminently homeless people.
Through the South Norwalk Renovation Program, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency purchased the two-family home at 68 Lexington Avenue for $190,000. Renovation work included asbestos abatement and a complete gut rehab. The interior boasts LED lights, a high efficiency HVAC system for each unit, on-demand hot water, energy-efficient windows and doors, sprayed foam insulation between the rafters, and a maximum level of insulation in the walls. Energy Star appliances were selected for each unit. The exterior siding is low-maintenance cement-fiber board. The two-family home is now for sale as deed-restricted affordable housing to a low- or moderate-income owner-occupant trained in landlord entrepreneurship.
Centered on SoNo’s most vibrant block, Pearl Apartments at 99 Washington Street is a five-story, 66-unit apartment complex by FD Rich Company. The development, previously a parking lot, includes 154 valet-assisted parking spaces and a residents-only roof deck.
AvalonBay Norwalk at 26 Belden Avenue was the first major residential development in the Wall Street area. Its two five-story buildings offer ground-floor retail space and a total of 311 residential units comprised of a combination of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.
Built in 1924, the Avrick Building at 16 North Main Street was the home of Avrick Furniture until 2006. The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency supported the building’s historic restoration through our Design Review process. Completed in 2011, renovations included returning the façade to its original 1920s appearance and creating a mix of retail, office, and residential space.
Ryan Park is a 2.2-acre open space categorized as a City-owned neighborhood park. The park site, located at the southwest corner of Day Street and Raymond Street, was acquired by the City in 1971. Choice Neighborhood funding in the amount of $1,000,000 will be used to improve park facilities, landscaping, and lighting, which will respond to the neighborhood need for appropriate and safe recreational space to better serve both current and future community members. The Mayor appointed a Ryan Park Advisory Committee comprised of Washington Village residents, community members, and other stakeholders to coordinate the Park’s redesign.
The Choice Neighborhood Initiative, a collaboration between Trinity Financial, the Norwalk Housing Authority, the City of Norwalk, and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, is a neighborhood transformation initiative largely funded by a Federal HUD grant. This initiative aims to replace the existing Washington Village public housing with a mixed-income residential development extending along Day, Raymond, and Water Streets. It will include replacement of the 136 public housing units, an addition of 67 workforce housing units, plus 70 units of market-rate housing. The initiative will reposition the entire area as a neighborhood of opportunity: funding supports flood mitigation infrastructure, pedestrian improvements, and a major community initiative to redesign and improve Ryan Park. The new residential community is within the Transit-Oriented Development District with access to local and rail transit improving access to jobs and services.
The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency is actively seeking funding to support a Circulator, which would supplement existing bus service within our urban corridor. The Circulator’s high-frequency transit service will link the two-mile route from the South Norwalk Rail Station to the Burnell Boulevard Wheels Bus Hub and will make stops at each major development and activity area from SoNo to Wall Street. Applications were submitted to the State’s TIGER grant in 2012, 2014, and 2015 for funding. Each time, the application made it to the final round of review before being turned down. The Agency will submit a revised application to the TIGER grant program in 2016 and is committed to finding a funding source for this critical project!
The industrial brick building at 21 Ann Street was originally home to R&G Corset Factory and later to the Manhattan Shirt Company. Today, the building’s original façade houses studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments as well as office space and continues to reflect the former factory’s unique character.
The Freese Park Master Plan process will engage the community and stakeholders, ultimately recommending park improvements and enhancements allowing Norwalk-ers to take advantage of Freese Park’s location as a riverfront vista and the largest green space in the burgeoning Wall Street area.
Please take a few minutes to respond to a short survey on the Freese Park Master Plan Design Suggestions by following the link. Link: Freese Park Master Plan Design Suggestions Survey
A 780-foot long sculpture, partially funded through a National Endowment for the Arts grant, representing Norwalk’s multicultural diversity is displayed on the giant retaining wall between the Route 7 and I-95 overpasses. Artist, Suikang Zhao, conducted workshops with community groups including the Norwalk libraries, Norwalk Community College, Norwalk Arts Society, Norwalk Housing Authority and the South Norwalk Community Center in order to gather source material in the many languages spoken in Norwalk some of which are English, Spanish, Chinese, Dutch, Greek, Haitian, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese and Russian. Mr. Zhao took the text suggestions and morphed them into abstract cursive shapes. In appearance, the twisted metal elements resemble a tangle of vines and roots, but are in fact the words and phrases collected in multiple languages, distorted, overlaid and intertwined.
The Harbor Loop Trail is a planned three-mile bicycle and pedestrian route along the Norwalk River. Ultimately the trail will provide a seamless recreational route along the harbor with access to the Norwalk River Valley Trail. Completion of the trail connections is a joint initiative supported by municipal officials as well as local trail enthusiasts. The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency is working with the Department of Public Works and the State of Connecticut to build the missing sections of the Trail.
Haviland Gates is a 21-unit housing development between Haviland and Elizabeth Streets. The development plan included restoration of two existing historic homes and infill new construction in the remaining quarter block that resonates with the historical design.
Located at the north end of the working waterfront on the Norwalk River and at the junction of East Wall Street and High Street, Head of the Harbor will transform an underutilized lot into 60 housing units, 6,000 square feet of office space, a public plaza, a public boardwalk along the water, and new pedestrian connections to Mill Hill Historic Park. This project is an outcome of the 2004 Wall Street Redevelopment Plan, which laid the framework for the restoration of Norwalk’s traditional center.
At 20 North Water Street and the eastern gateway into SoNo, Ironworks replaced the vacant Norwalk Company factory with 20,700 square feet of retail and restaurant space as well as a total of 108 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments. The project, which faces the Norwalk River to the east and Washington Street to the south, encircles a cobblestone courtyard with a large water feature at its center.
This building, initially home to the Norwalk Lock Company, converted a large vacant brick building into 100,000 square feet of office space that combines modern and industrial design. The project preserved the original timber frame, masonry construction, and exposed brick interior walls while adding cold rolled steel walls and landscaped courtyards, among other new features.
Through a unique public-private partnership involving the City of Norwalk, the Norwalk Parking Authority, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, and Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, a 767-space parking garage was created and camouflaged by condominium lofts, shops, a restaurant, and offices totaling18,000 square feet. This private development activated the streetscape alongside the garage and created a public plaza across from the Maritime Aquarium.
Built in 1896, the church at 39 West Avenue is listed on the State Register of Historic Places. In 2014, Norwalk’s Macedonia congregation purchased the long-vacant church to make it their own. In order to maintain the integrity of the building and preserve its historic features, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency awarded a $20,000 façade improvement grant for the reparation of the roof and re-pointing of the historic brick façade. The church celebrated its grand opening in October 2015.
This three-building complex at 17 and 19 Day Street is set to include 23 two-bedroom apartments, 46 one-bedroom apartments, and a studio, in addition to a renovated existing industrial building still used for manufacturing.
Maritime Yards, a critical piece of the Reed Putnam Urban Renewal Plan, added 197 new housing units and 40,000 square feet of commercial space to four acres of a former rail yard along the Norwalk River. The project, completed in 2007, was part of a public-private partnership involving Spinnaker, the City of Norwalk, and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency.
The relocation of the Norwalk Police Department from Mathews Park to Monroe Street in South Norwalk helped reposition this strategically located open space as a grand central park linking the City’s uptown and downtown neighborhoods and offering a wide array of cultural attractions and recreational opportunities.
The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency and City Recreation & Parks Department’s award-winning redevelopment of Oyster Shell Park transformed a former landfill into 25 acres of quality open space. The park’s green design earned it a Sustainable Sites designation from the American Society of Landscape Architects and its partners as well as a design award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects. Easily seen from I-95, this waterfront park offers walking trails, a disc golf course, and impressive views of Norwalk’s cityscape.
The SONO sign at the corner of North Main and Washington Street features dynamic color-changing lighting during evening hours. It has quickly become a landmark for South Norwalk’s dining and entertainment district.
Chicago-based upscale mall developer General Growth Properties, Inc. is developing the remaining undeveloped pieces of the Reed Putnam Urban Renewal Area, which encompasses 12 acres at the bustling interchange of I-95 and Route-7. The SoNo Collection will host Nordstrom and Bloomingdales as well as 80-100 small inline retailers and restaurants occupying 700,000 square feet of gross leasable area for retail development. This project also boasts a 150-room boutique hotel, public gathering space, and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure improvements.
SONO/ONE will rejuvenate the site of the former Penmar Industries manufacturing building in South Norwalk. Bordered by Bates Court, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and the Metro-North Railroad, SONO/ONE will be a six-story multi-family residence with 40 apartments and 52 parking spaces on the three-quarter acre lot.
The Switch Tower Museum is located within the fully restored historic South Norwalk Railroad Switch Tower, which was built in 1896 to manually operate the track switching gears. It is one of the few remaining towers with all of the original mechanisms fully intact. The building is open to the public and operated by the Western Connecticut Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency coordinated funding for this restoration project through the original Transportation Enhancement Act in 2000 before the Switch Tower opened as a Museum in 2003. Recently, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency coordinated the use of its Community Development Block Grant funds to re-point the building’s three-story brick and Brownstone exterior masonry.
This phased mixed-use development spans 10 acres, repurposing multiple blocks along both sides of West Avenue in order to create an urban community of over 500 residential units and over 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, and recreational space. Pedestrian arcades and a courtyard with a water feature are two of several amenities for residents and visitors to enjoy. Parking is plentiful thanks to repurposing of the former Bigelow Tea Co. warehouse into a three-level parking garage which is wrapped by apartments and retail space.
The Waypointe District was approved to relocate the 8,600 square foot historic building from 3 Quincy Street to 25 Butler Street for reuse as an office. Moving plans are underway.
Waypointe’s East Block, located at 26-36 Orchard Street and 2 Quincy Street, is the site of the new Quincy Lofts residential complex. The complex is a six-story, 69-unit apartment building with 87 parking spaces.
The Waypointe District’s Midblock and North Block developments are bounded by West Avenue, Merwin Street, and Orchard Street and include the former Bigelow Tea Co. warehouse. This six-story complex consists of 460 apartments, 40,000 square feet of retail space, and 850 parking spaces. Apartments were first occupied by residents in 2014 and Colony Grill, Sedona Tap House, and Chase Bank are among the first retail tenants.
Waypointe District’s South Block consists of the area known as “Loehmann’s Plaza” at 467 West Avenue and the Stark Carpet building at 17 Butler Street. Plans are still in progress, but will likely include building a complex with a fitness center, retail spaces, and Connecticut’s first iPic movie theater, which would seat 620 people.
Waypointe’s West Block consists of two parcels located at 500 and 520 West Avenue. It involves construction of “the Berkley”, a six-story mixed-use development with space for restaurants and medical offices as well as 129 residential units.
Norwalk’s TOD Initiative is a recommendation of the TOD Master Plan approved by the Common Council (2011) for public Complete Streets infrastructure improvements targeted for the half-mile radius surrounding the SoNo railroad station. The goal is to foster a walkable and bikeable environment that offers a wide range of urban amenities within a few city blocks of transit, making this neighborhood an easy and appealing place to live, work, and visit. Major public investments are being made by the City of Norwalk and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to achieve this vision. The City was awarded a LOTCIP (Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program) grant for over two million dollars to implement multiple infrastructure improvement projects. Major enhancements will be installed on Washington Street, between North Main Street and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. The Washington Street project will include ornamental street lights, bicycle sharrows, a speed table crosswalk with curb extension, a second crosswalk with curb extensions, designated street parking and tree plantings. Also funded by the LOTCIP grant is the elevation of the intersection of Monroe Street/Hanford Place and South Main Street, which will assist with traffic calming.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation is charged with leading the replacement of the Norwalk Walk Bridge, which is the Amtrak/New Haven northeast rail connection that crosses over the Norwalk River and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Walk Bridge, which was completed in 1849 and has components of the original rail construction still in use today, is the oldest movable bridge along the Northeast Corridor. Close to 200 trains cross the bridge each day. Replacement of the Walk Bridge is the recommendation resulting from two recent bridge mechanism failures; it is critical in maintaining the safety of commuters, improving the vibrancy of the area’s economy, and servicing the needs of Norwalk River’s marine traffic. For more information on the project, please visit the CT Department of Transportation website.
Phase One of this mixed-use development, which was initiated to implement Norwalk’s Wall Street Redevelopment Plan, will include 101 residential units, 40% of which are affordable and 60% of which are market rate. The project will also include 16,000 square feet of commercial space, 100 public parking spaces, and Norwalk’s first automated parking garage with more than 200 spaces available to residents and the public. This project is the result of a public-private partnership between the City, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, and POKO Partners.
The Wall Street Theater redevelopment project, assisted by the City and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, will restore this cultural and historical centerpiece of the Wall Street district and will serve as a critical step forward in the revitalization of the entire neighborhood. Initially opened in 1915 as a vaudeville stage, a combination of historic restoration and adaptive renovation of the building will provide space for traditional theater presentations, children’s theater, and event leasing. The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency is responsible for administering a $1.66 million HUD 108 loan to the Wall Street Theater Company for this project.
With increasing development and major visitor destinations within Norwalk’s Urban Core, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency recognizes the need for a wayfinding strategy, including design concepts to inform public and private wayfinding applications. The partners in this initiative include representatives from key destinations: The Maritime Aquarium, Stepping Stones Museum for Children, Norwalk Parking Authority, Department of Public Works, the Wall Street Theater, and Stew Leonard’s.
Since the 1960’s, the City of Norwalk has recognized the importance of the Webster Street Block as a critical resource for the growth and prosperity of South Norwalk. In 2004, the City revisited the land use potential of the Webster Block and completed the Webster Street Planning & Urban Design Study, which identified this block as a key gateway element for South Norwalk, a critical parking resource, and a potential mixed-use development site. Current market conditions and further development of the Transit-Oriented Development opportunities around the South Norwalk Railroad Station suggest it is timely to revisit the 2004 Study’s urban design concepts, land use components, financial feasibility, and market acceptance with the goal of attracting private investment for project implementation.
In conjunction with ongoing redevelopment in the area, West Avenue North and West Avenue South are the focus of street enhancement projects. The West Avenue Enhancement Plan calls for improved landscaping, pedestrian amenities and wayfinding. Landscaped medians and highway ramps are maintained by the Redevelopment Agency. Pedestrian amenities such as brick crosswalks boost the visibility of pedestrians and help to establish a sense of place along the corridor. The West Avenue Enhancements are funded by a $750,000 State Transportation Enhancement grant.