Revitalizing a vacant lot at the end of Coggswell Street, formerly occupied by the Campbell Grain building, has been a focus for Town officials, staff and volunteers since the building had to be demolished in 2010.
The Stonington Economic Development Commission (EDC) has been working to actively market the site, but its size and tough topography posed a challenge. Until recently there had been no interest from developers for market-rate development projects. Thanks to the exceptional efforts of the Town's dedicated EDC team, the Town was able to connect with WinnDevelopment Company. Winn is an experienced developer familiar with complex sites and financing structures. Working with both the Town and State, Winn has a plan for a public-private partnership that will play an important role in ongoing efforts for downtown revitalization.
Winn’s proposal of approximately 82 units offers many benefits, including new residents in walking distance to existing local businesses and the Westerly Amtrak station, making it a much-desired transit-oriented development (TOD). The project will consist of a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. The building will feature a leasing and management office, a resident lounge, a fitness room, and common laundry. The project will be designed to meet the Passive Housing Institute US standards, which equates to 40-60% less energy use than a typical building. The site will also offer public-access along the Pawcatuck River with a walking path.
The project will create a true mixed-income and inclusive community, creating diverse housing options. The units at the Campbell Grain site will be affordable to a mix of incomes at 30%, 50%, and 80% area median income (AMI). The project will also contain unrestricted market rate units.
Both the Stonington Plan of Conservation and Development and the new Affordable Housing Plan discuss the need for housing choice and economic diversity in housing stock. In addition to this redevelopment effort, the Town is actively working on taking new actions that would improve access to inclusive housing throughout the community.
The site will need to utilize financing programs through the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) and the Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) for the project’s construction. The funding from these two agencies is highly competitive, and one critical piece is a municipal contribution to the project. In summary, the project requires a fixed assessment to be financially viable and competitive for state funding resources. Without the Town contribution, in the form of the fixed assessment agreement, the project will not go forward, and there is a high risk that this vacant, unproductive lot will remain so indefinitely.
The proposed fixed assessment would result in $690,748 in net abatements over ten years, and pay $695,000 in taxes to the Town of Stonington over the ten years. By comparison, if the parcel remains vacant and undeveloped, it will generate less than $30,000 over the same period, or about $3,000 annually.
On August 9th, there will be a Town Meeting to allow the registered voters of Stonington to vote on the fixed assessment for Winn Development (doing business as 'Cogswell Redevelopment LLC') needed to make this project a reality. The attached document goes into more detail on the Fixed Assessment, and the full detailed, legal document can also be found below.
NOTICE OF SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
TOWN OF STONINGTON
The Special Town Meeting of the electors and citizens qualified to vote in Town Meetings of the Town of Stonington, Connecticut, will be held at Stonington High School, US Route 1, 176 S Broad St., Pawcatuck, CT 06379 on Monday, August 9, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
To consider, discuss, and vote upon the following:
A resolution, pursuant to §12-65b of the Connecticut General Statutes, to enter into a property tax assessment agreement with COGGSWELL REDEVELOPMENT, LLC, a Connecticut limited liability company, fixing the assessment for the development of property at 27 West Broad Street and 15 Coggswell Street, Pawcatuck, Connecticut. Such agreement shall not exceed ten years. A copy of the complete text of the proposed Agreement is on file in the Town Clerk’s office during normal business hours and available on the Town’s website at www.stonington-ct.gov.
At this hearing electors and residents may appear and be heard.
Dated at Stonington, Connecticut this 22nd day of July, 2021.