Texas firm proposes $54M mixed-use project on West St. in Southington



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SOUTHINGTON — A Texas development company is looking to build a 264-unit apartment complex off West Street along with commercial spaces and amenities such as a clubhouse and park.

Anthony Properties is looking for town zoning changes to allow the $54 million project to proceed. The company wants to build on three properties totaling 41 acres owned by the Tolles family located at 1303, 1193 and 1177 West St.

Brian Shiu, development director for Anthony Properties, said the company is looking to build high-end apartments that will appeal to those looking for modern living spaces.

“What we like to find is places where there’s a need for new, class A projects,” he said Tuesday. “Our projects tend to cater to young, single professionals or empty nesters.”

Company officials accompanied by engineers and other representatives made their case to the Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday night. They’re looking to get a zoning change and haven’t yet proposed a specific plan although they did have a conceptual plan.

Those concepts included a 5,000 square-foot clubhouse, more than 17,000 square-feet of retail and commercial space, residential buildings for the more than 250 apartments and amenities such as walking trails. Access to the development would be through Curtiss Street which connects to West and Queen streets.

Mixed-use transition zone

The Tolles family has been looking to sell its West Street properties for years. In 2016, the land was changed from residential and industrial zoning to mixed-use transition zoning. The goal was to create an area that gradually changed from the commercial southern end of West Street near Interstate 84 to the residential areas further north.

Residents opposed the change at the time, saying it would increase traffic.

The mixed-use transition zone requires a square-foot ratio between residential and commercial space of two to one. That limit on residential development, as well as three other limitations on housing and building height, are what Anthony Properties is looking to change.

Gary O’Connor, an attorney representing the company, said demand for commercial and retail space has declined significantly since the regulations were changed. He said an economically feasible development at the property would include much more housing.

O’Connor’s proposal would change the square footage ratio from two to one to five to one, allowing for many more apartments. It also increases the units per acre from 5 to 6.5 and allows buildings to be a maximum of four stories high.

O’Connor said there’s already plenty of commercial development in that area of West Street.

“What is really needed is not more commercial development that’ll only compete with the existing businesses but a rational approach to a mixed-use development,” he said. “The bulk of the buildings will be for residential.”

Commissionershesitant

A proposal to add more than 250 apartments to West Street along with more retail space would cause the hair on the back of residents’ necks to stand up, according to commission member Peter Santago.

“You probably couldn’t have picked a more sensitive topic to Southington residents than a development along West Street,” he said.

Bob Salka, commission vice chairman, said he was concerned about granting the changes since they’d also apply to the other mixed-use transition zone further up West Street.

Christina Volpe asked that the matter be given more thought. The public hearing will remain open, allowing town residents to speak on the plan at future commission meetings. The commission didn’t vote on the zoning changes.

Volpe said she saw the positives of the development but also some drawbacks.

“We cannot deny that this would add traffic to that area,” she said.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ



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