The concept took decades to coalesce. The planning phase spanned 10 years. It represents one of the most comprehensive public/private partnerships in the state and, when it officially opens in about two months, it will hopefully give what it has never had: A viable town center.
Those were some of the high-point remarks the developers and planners of the much-anticipated project delivered to about 30 members of the who traveled here Thursday to tour the first phase of the massive development project on Storrs Road across from the
The tour was hosted by the ULI, a nonprofit, international organization that advocates for so-called “smart growth,” to give its members a chance to see the novel Storrs Center project. Storrs Center is a mixed-used development being built on 17 acres that planners, town officials and the university hope will give Mansfield a cohesive town center and the university a place where students and staff can live, work and play.
Anika Singh Lemar, a member of the ULI who helped organize the tour, said the development had generated a great deal of interest among the group’s members. The ULI, she added, often will tour projects it considers innovative.
Click on some of the Patch Clips above to get a sense of what the tour entailed. Here are some of the quotes from those involved that represent some of the major themes of the tour.
- The 25,000 square feet of retail space in the first phase of the project is nearly all sold out.
- The state and federal governments have contributed about $25 million for the project so far.
- In all, there will be 800 residential units, a mix of apartments and condominiums.
- UConn, which has its own water and sewer systems, will provide those utilities to the new center.
- The university will move its co-op store to the new center and will sell everything except textbooks there.
- The town is spending more than $3 million to build new roads around the project.
- The total land area for the project is about 45 acres, but the actual buildable area is just 17 acres.
- It took several years to get the local planning and zoning approvals in place.
- UConn sold some of its land to the developer for the project.
- The small brick building that houses the university’s student newspaper will remain right next door to the new development.
- When completed, the projects overall cost will be about $200 million.
- Macon Toledano, who helped lead the tour, said the scope and history of the project is so overwhelming that he just couldn’t explain it all in the 10 minutes he was allotted before the tour began.
What do you think about Storrs Center? Tell us in the comments.