How Can You Keep a City’s Character While Preparing for 21st Century Needs? By Curtis Battles

{Time to read: 4:10 minutes} Last year, the City of Stamford, Connecticut began a long journey to update and improve it’s “2024 Master Plan.” This document is a “roadmap” for future real estate development and major infrastructure upgrades in the city.

City officials and other interested parties have high hopes that the project will attract more residents, visitors and ultimately, boost the local economy. The timeline calls for the project blueprint to be complete around 2024.

Stamford citizens have been invited to workshops and panels to give feedback on the progress and share their opinions on future direction.

With significant changes and community input, a few key questions keep coming up:

  • How do you positively impact a neighborhood so that it benefits all its citizens?
  • How does public policy balance the needs of commuters, developers, residents, and potential businesses?

A primary focus is how to manage growth in the downtown area over the next 10-15 years. However, one major player is in the middle of building a new $3.5 billion dollar apartment and retail community along the shoreline. The big debate is: how to keep the downtown and the shoreline areas both flourishing with retail stores, restaurants, residents and tourists.

Is there a way to keep the old businesses that remained, while bringing in new ones?

Stamford is a city that was originally settled back in 1641. Its rich history in the manufacturing sector, having Pitney Bowes and Yaletown Lock factories, helped to make it the economic engine for Connecticut. In more modern times, Stamford’s close proximity to New York City solidified its reputation as an attractive suburban location for families and corporate headquarters.

Today, many of the historical structures and factories have been repurposed, which keeps the old world charm and character alive. However, this presents a real challenge for a lot of densely populated communities, where land is at a premium.

For example, I’ve been working for 3 years with the Fish Church, which recently sold a three-acre piece of land to a developer. Construction has just begun on the site for 175-unit mixed use apartment complex, taking a piece of underutilized land and using it to potentially bring in new people and cash for the church. We found a developer who saw the opportunity to bring a long term benefit for everybody involved.

Is your community trying to figure out how to repurpose an historical asset to maintain the feel of community but at the same time entice visitors and new development? Maybe you’re working with an organization that wants new ways to augment their budgets by thinking innovatively about their real estate needs.

New Canaan Advisors can help you think through these things strategically. We can help take your dreams and bring them into reality. Give us a call today.

Curtis C. Battles