Berlin issues request for redevelopment ideas

Published on Sunday, 10 September 2017 21:39
Written by Charles Paullin

Staff Writer

BERLIN - The town of Berlin has rereleased a Request for Qualifications seeking redevelopment ideas for a nearly 4-acre site at 889, 903 and 913 Farmington Ave.

The request, approved at a July 25 Town Council meeting, states that the town, which owns the site, is interesting in selecting a preferred developer to develop a mixed-use project with commercial on the first floor and residential above, or an alternative mixture of uses that would complement the revitalization of the area as a transit-oriented center, such as office, retail, restaurant and mixed use.

“The idea is to get it out into the private sector and see what is possible and if a partnership can be made between the town and a developer,” said Economic Development Director Chris Edge, who helped prepare the RFQ. “We may find that nothing is possible.”

Included in the request is the option for development of a boulevard providing additional access to the area; details on the Kensington Overlay District, which sets the maximum residential density in mixed-use projects to 20 units per acre; and information regarding a water migration study being conducted around the 889 Farmington Ave. property. Concept plans by Jacunski Humes Architects for how the town envisions redevelopment of 889 Farmington Ave. are also included.

The request comes after the Economic Development Commission hired urban planning consultant CivicMoxie, which, after three public meetings, recommended the area be developed for mixed residential and retail use. A final report with a step-by-step plan is coming soon from CivicMoxie, said Edge.

The properties were previously intended as the site of a $21 million police station before a failed referendum in 2014 and a scaled-back council version was shot down.

During planning stages for the request, Mayor Mark Kaczynski voiced support, wanting to see what developers thought was possible.

Councilor Rachel Rochette urged caution, since the sites had been purchased by the town specifically for the new station, as the best area surveyed throughout the town.

It has been reported the current police station, in the bottom of the Town Hall complex, is outdated and lacks space for operations.

The train station is nearing completion of a $20 million project to build a passenger walkway for an additional railway as part of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail line, which is planned for completion in May 2018.

The historic train station was being renovated as part of the project, but burned a pre-dawn fire in January 2017. The cause of the fire is still undetermined.

According to Edge, submissions are due by Dec. 5. He said he’s received interest from a couple of developers already.

Language in the RFQ states the town reserves the right to reject any and all responses, advertise for new ones or accept any deemed to be in the best interest of the town.

It can be found under bids/RFP on the Economic Development page.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or cpaullin@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, General News on Sunday, 10 September 2017 21:39. Updated: Sunday, 10 September 2017 21:41.