Press Release: Norwalk Town Center Approved
First Phase of Norwalk Town Center Approved for Development
July 21, 2011
MacFarlane Partners – a real estate investment manager specializing in investments that promote smart growth, urban revitalization and sustainability – announced today that the first phase of Norwalk Town Center, a mixed-use project in downtown Norwalk, Conn., has been approved for development and will begin construction later this year.
MacFarlane Partners has invested in Norwalk Town Center through a joint venture with Belpointe Capital, a real estate investment and development company active in the New York metropolitan area. The mixed-use project will be built on a 10-acre land assemblage along Norwalk’s West Avenue that the MacFarlane/Belpointe Capital venture acquired in June for an undisclosed price from Stanley M. Seligson Properties.
The development of Norwalk Town Center represents the culmination of years of public/private planning efforts to revitalize a key stretch of West Avenue Corridor that lies just north of the intersection of Interstate 95 and State Route 7 in Norwalk. Part of Connecticut’s “Gold Coast,” Norwalk is located in Fairfield County, Conn., approximately 40 miles northeast of New York City.
Indeed, the project will be built on much of the same acreage that Seligson Properties had once envisioned for its Waypointe development, which was to include more than 600,000 square feet of retail and office space, along with 350 multifamily-residential units. Waypointe would have occupied 20 acres and four city blocks along West Avenue.
Norwalk Town Center, by contrast, will be developed on three blocks fronting West Avenue, from the existing Loehmann’s Plaza shopping center at the corner of Butler Street and West Avenue to the former Bigelow Tea warehouse on the northern side of Merwin Street. Also included are four acres of land on the block between Orchard Street and Merwin Street.
The mixed-use project will be developed in multiple phases and will feature residential, retail and restaurant space set amid pedestrian-friendly streets with wide sidewalks. An open-air pedestrian piazza in the center of the project will serve as its focal point.
“Norwalk Town Center is consistent with our long-standing commitment to investing in properties that revitalize urban neighborhoods and further the objectives of smart-growth development,” said Chuck Berman, managing principal of MacFarlane Partners. “The property will breathe new life into an underutilized urban neighborhood and provide residents with a convenient place for living, working and playing.”
As approved by the Norwalk Zoning Commission on July 20, the project’s first phase will consist of 330 luxury apartments in several five-story buildings, with 45,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurant space, all of which will be built on the block between Orchard and Merwin streets. A 600-vehicle parking garage also will be constructed. Demolition of existing structures is expected to begin in October, with construction starting in December.
The apartments that will be built in the first phase will feature island kitchens, stainless-steel appliances, walk-in closets, balconies and high loft-style ceilings. Project amenities will include a clubroom, fitness center, a billiards room, and a private courtyard with an outdoor swimming pool. Ten percent of the units will be designated for low- and moderate-income residents.
The project’s future phases could include up to 395 multifamily residential units and more than 300,000 square feet of retail space. The MacFarlane/Belpointe Capital venture will continue to operate the 105,000-square-foot Loehmann’s Plaza as a neighborhood shopping center, but ultimately may expand the property by adding more retail space and multifamily units in the future.
MacFarlane Partners’ investment in Norwalk Town Center is the third that the firm has made in recent weeks for MacFarlane Urban Real Estate Fund III (“Urban Fund III”), a closed-end, commingled fund that it manages on behalf of institutional investors.
Urban Fund III is pursuing an investment strategy that MacFarlane Partners pioneered in the 1990s on behalf of institutional investors: acquiring, developing, redeveloping and repositioning properties in urban and high-density suburban submarkets of select metropolitan areas nationwide that promote smart growth, urban revitalization and sustainability.
In the past two months, the firm announced it was developing two apartment communities in the San Francisco Bay Area on behalf of Urban Fund III: an eight-story building at 1844 Market Street in San Francisco that will house 113 rental apartments and 5,500 square feet of retail space; and a 180-unit apartment community, with 5,000 square feet of retail space, nine miles north of San Francisco in Corte Madera, Calif.
About MacFarlane Partners
MacFarlane Partners is a real estate investment management firm that manages approximately $4 billion in assets on behalf of some of the world’s largest pension plans and institutions.
Founded in 1987, the firm pioneered the urban investment concept among institutional real estate investment managers in the 1990s and today is a leading capital provider for properties that promote smart growth, urban revitalization and sustainability in urban and high-density suburban areas nationwide.
MacFarlane Partners is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices in Washington, D.C., and the greater New York metropolitan area. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at www.macfarlanepartners.com
About Belpointe Capital
Belpointe Capital is a partnership between real estate and private equity industry executives Brandon Lacoff and Paxton Kinol to develop multifamily residential and other properties in urban-infill locations throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Brandon Lacoff is the co-founder of Belray Capital, a Greenwich, Conn., based real estate and corporate investment firm best known for its development of Beacon Hill of Greenwich, a three-time HOBI-award-winning luxury town-home development in downtown Greenwich. Paxton Kinol is the founder of Stillwater Investment Management and has successfully developed numerous properties throughout the Northeast, with a concentration of projects in Stamford, Conn., including Mill River House, Glenview House, and Eastside Commons.
To learn more about Belpointe Capital or its affiliated companies, please visit www.belpointe.com.