After years of efforts aimed at revitalizing an important expanse of real estate in downtown Norwalk, Conn., plans have been announced for a mixed-use development called Norwalk Town Center, to begin construction later this year.
The first phase of Norwalk Town Center will feature 330 luxury apartments in a handful of five-story buildings, 45,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space at street level, and a 600-vehicle parking garage. Future phases could add 395 multifamily units, and more than 300,000 square feet of retail space.
To help ensure the development blends well with a pedestrian-friendly enclave characterized by wide sidewalks, San Francisco real estate investment manager MacFarlane Partners, in partnership with Norwalk developer Stanley M. Seligson Properties, made sure the design of Norwalk Town Center will showcase as its central focal point an open-air pedestrian plaza.
Residents will enjoy plenty of opportunity to get around without a car. “Buses run right by the site,” MacFarlane Partners Managing Principal Chuck Berman tells MHN. “There’s a bike path adjacent that enables you to get to multiple places. And the commuter line to Manhattan is a quarter mile south. You could ride your bike, walk or take the bus to the station.”
Norwalk Town Center will rise on much the same acreage that was to have been filled by an earlier proposed, but eventually scuttled, development.
That development, Waypointe, was to have encompassed more than 600,000 square feet of retail and office space and included 350 multifamily units. “Waypointe was a very ambitious plan, which unfortunately by the nature of its size and complexity, and market timing, simply hit a wall,” Berman says, noting some of Waypointe’s components will see new life in Norwalk Town Center.
The development is consistent with MacFarlane Partners’ long-standing commitment to investing in properties that revitalize urban neighborhoods and advance the goals of smart-growth development, he adds, noting, “the property will breathe new life into an underutilized urban neighborhood and provide residents with a convenient place for living, working and playing.”
Luxury apartments constructed as part of the first phase will feature soaring, loft-style ceilings, balconies, stainless steel appliances and walk-in closets. Norwalk Town Center residents will find relaxation at the center’s billiards room, clubhouse, and in a private courtyard graced by an outdoor swimming pool. Ten percent of units will be priced as affordable apartments.
The Norwalk Town Center investment by MacFarlane Partners is the third the firm has made in recent weeks for MacFarlane Urban Real Estate Fund III, a closed-end, commingled fund it manages on behalf of institutional investors.
“We haven’t financed the construction phase yet,” Berman says. “Now that we have entitlements, the design phase is well underway. … No construction loan is secured yet. The site was assembled and bought from equity from our third fund. There was a small component of financing on one of the parcels the development brought together. That was supplied by the seller.”