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CT Construction Digest Thursday September 29, 2022

Park City Wind Asks Connecticut to Adjust Energy Bid ‘to Reflect Current Economic Realities’

Brendan Crowley

Avangrid Senior Vice President for Offshore Projects, Sy Oytan, said that the company will ask Connecticut for a “modest adjustment” to the state’s contract to buy power from the company’s planned 804 megawatt Park City Wind project south of Martha’s Vineyard, to “reflect the current economic realities.”

In a call with investors on Thursday, Oytan said the company would be delaying by a year both its Park City project and the 1,200 MW Commonwealth Wind project, and would ask both Connecticut and Massachusetts to adjust contracts to buy power from those projects. 

Since Connecticut agreed to buy power from the Park City project in 2019 at a price of $79.83 per MWh, Avangrid has faced the same challenges as other businesses around the world – inflation, higher interest rates, supply chain shortages and escalating commodity prices, Oytan said.

“As both Park City and Commonwealth Wind were bid at a time of 40 years of inflation stability, we are working hard to examine every opportunity to improve the business case of both projects,” Oytan said.

Avangrid representatives did not immediately answer Friday afternoon when asked what new price it would be seeking from Connecticut for the power generated by the Park City project.

A spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said that the department will review any request for an amendment to the Park City contract when it is submitted, and will determine if it is “in the interest of ratepayers and helps further the state’s energy goals,” including reliability, economic development and equity.

Park City is now scheduled to come online in 2027 instead of the original state date of 2025. Oytan told investors that the delay will allow Avangrid to use newly-developed wind turbines with a capacity of between 17 to 20 MW each.

That is a significant advance from the 13 MW turbines Avangrid is using for the 800 MW Vineyard Wind project it is building now, which is still expected to come online by the end of 2023, Oytan said. He said Avangrid is also exploring whether the Park City and Commonwealth projects could benefit from any tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act that Congress passed in August.

Delay “not a surprise” given global economy

Dan Dolan, president of the New England Power Generators Association, said that Avangrid’s announcement was not a surprise considering Avangrid is facing the same challenges as just about everyone in energy around the world – a tightening supply chain and increasing commodity prices.

“I’m curious about them throwing out the concept of trying to renegotiate some of the prices and the costs [of their contracts with Connecticut and Massachusetts],” Dolan said. “Unfortunately, given the broader global dynamics, it’s not a surprise right now.”

Melissa Birchard, director of clean energy for the nonprofit renewable advocate Acadia Center, said that the “short delay” of the two projects is understandable given the global challenges in energy.

Birchard said it’s good news that the delay still keeps the projects in line to be completed within the timeframes laid out in their contracts with the states. She said the push for offshore wind needs to continue on multiple fronts, to make sure that progress is still being made even if individual projects are delayed.

“We need to do everything we can to bring offshore wind to customers as soon as possible, along with other renewables,” Birchard said. “The spiking costs of fossil fuels are hurting families and businesses and the impacts of climate change are getting worse every year.”

Dolan said the delay shows the challenges that come with making big bets on individual projects that are funded by ratepayers under contracts that span multiple decades.

“It puts a lot of eggs in one basket, rather than trying to set up a more robust market signal through something like carbon pricing that can have a lot of other projects in line to backfill, should there be any delays in any one,” Dolan said.

State Rep. Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme, a member of the Energy and Technology Committee, said that given permitting delays in the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and global supply chain issues, she was not surprised that costs have increased since the agreement was made.

“Am I surprised, no,” Cheeseman said. “But I would be very skeptical of a producer coming back and saying they want a higher price than they put in a bid for, because that’s not in the best interest of the Connecticut ratepayer.”

State Sen. Norm Needleman, D-Essex, also said he was not surprised that inflation would have an impact on offshore wind costs. But without knowing what kind of increase Avangrid is asking for, he couldn’t say whether it was a reasonable request. 

“If it’s a modest increase, and DEEP thinks that it’s fair, then so be it,” Needleman said. “The devil’s in the details here, and I think DEEP will be thorough.”

Eversource/Ørsted partnership says it’s still on schedule

The partnership between Danish energy giant Ørsted and Eversource is the other developer with a contract to sell power to Connecticut from an offshore wind development. The partnership signed agreements to sell 304 MW of power from its 400 MW Revolution Wind project planned off the coast of Rhode Island.

Eversource has said it plans to sell its stake in the partnership soon to cash in on booming prices for offshore wind leasing areas, and pay off short-term debt.

In a statement, the joint venture between the two companies said that the offshore wind industry is seeing the same supply chain and inflationary pressures as the rest of the global economy, but said that its projects are still on track. 

The 132 MW South Fork Wind being built off of Long Island is on track to be operating before the end of 2023, and Revolution Wind and the 880 MW Sunrise Wind are still expected to be operational in 2025.

The statement said the venture locked in more than 80 percent of its supply costs for those projects because they were “early movers” in the offshore wind market, which has helped keep them on track.

“As we move forward, we remain committed to developing a new domestic supply chain in the U.S. that will play an important role in reducing costs and minimizing disruption to future offshore wind projects, while creating well-paying jobs for American workers across the country,” the statement said.

The partnership did not say whether they thought they would need to negotiate their contracts with Connecticut. The venture agreed in 2018 to sell Connecticut about 200 MW from the Revolution Wind project at a price of $99.50/MWh, as well as a 104 MW expansion of that project for $98.43/MWh.

The impact of those fixed-rate contracts on Connecticut electric customers depends on the market price of electricity. If market prices are below the price of the contract, customers pay more for the fixed-price contract. If prices are high, they save money.

When low natural gas prices led to low electric prices in 2020, Eversource blamed a similar contract for Connecticut to buy over 1,000 MW from the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford at $49.99/MWh for a rate increase
This year, as record-high gas prices have led to high electricity prices in New England, the relatively low price of that Millstone contract led to a rate decrease.

Cromwell hires firms at cost of $3.14 million for new middle school project

Austin Mirmina

CROMWELL — The town has executed contracts totaling about $3.14 million with two companies that will work on the new middle school building.

Perkins-Eastman, a Stamford-based architectural firm, and Arcadis, a Middletown-based project management company, were both hired by the town last week to plan, design, and oversee construction of the new Cromwell Middle School.

The contracts with Perkins-Eastman and Arcadis — signed by Town Manager Anthony Salvatore Sept. 22 — are worth about $2.48 million and $662,000, respectively. 

Arcadis was founded in 1888 and has provided construction management services for projects in over 70 countries, according to its proposal. The company is based in the Netherlands but has an office in Middletown. It has overseen projects in many towns across the state, including Middletown High School.

The companies were recommended by an appointed selection committee comprised of three members of the Cromwell Middle School Building Committee and Assistant Finance Director Sharon DeVoe, a project official said.

"I'm very excited to start moving forward with these two new companies," Building Committee Chairwoman Rosanna Glynn said Wednesday. "They have a really strong, passionate team who's devoted to the entire process. I'm looking forward to getting this building built as quickly as possibly for the community."

According to the committee, Cromwell will be responsible for about $36.5 million of the project's total cost, which is estimated at about $58.6 million. The state will reimburse the town about $22.1 million for work on the project.

Founded in 1981, Perkins-Eastman described itself in its proposal as "one of the largest primary and secondary school design firms in the region." The firm has completed dozens of public schools similar in scope to the anticipated project.

Its portfolio includes work on the North Haven Middle School, Charter Oak International School in West Hartford and Bassick High School in Bridgeport.

"Middle schools are great opportunities because it’s really that transition period ... getting (students) ready for the high school experience," Joe Costa, a principal at Perkins-Eastman, told the building committee during its meeting last week.

"The direction of the children will depend on what happens here. We want to create a tool so that teachers, educators, parents and students can make that transition as successful as possible," he added.

Perkins-Eastman will start working on general designs for the new building in November, with a more detailed design phase set to begin in January, according to the company's presentation. Construction is expected to commence in October 2023 and last about 18 months, ending around March 2025. 

Demolition of the current middle school building will follow, the projected timeline shows.

Since its inception, the committee has gathered community feedback to help inform and guide the middle school's design process. According to the committee, that feedback has centered on sustainability, improved athletic facilities, health and safety, and culture.

The topic of sustainability has come up repeatedly during the process, one committee member said. Suggestions include installing solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations. The community has also said it wants the new building to be energy-efficient.

Because the new middle school will be built on the site of the local soccer field, the committee said, it will consider recommending construction of a new turf field where the current middle school is situated once that building has been demolished.

A turf field would be better suited to handle the rain, members said.

"There’s a lot of controversy around the soccer fields in town, because, every time it rains, they basically have to close all the fields because none of them can withstand any amount of rain, and they get really muddy," Glynn said. "So they would like at least one turf field."

Shelton receives $240K in CT grants for downtown projects

Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — The city’s downtown revitalization received a financial boost from the state of Connecticut. 

Shelton has received two Small Town Economic Assistance Program, or STEAP, grants totaling $240,000 — with $120,000 going toward the extension of the Housatonic Riverwalk on Canal Street and $120,000 toward creation of Shelton Canal Lock Park. 

These grants were among more than $31.8 million given to cities and towns throughout the state.

“Both of these activities will enhance the city’s ongoing efforts to revitalize Canal Street,” said Mayor Mark Lauretti, who praised Gov. Ned Lamont and his staff for their continued support of the city. 

State Rep. Jason Perillo said these grants are one more step toward the redevelopment of the downtown. 

“I congratulate (Lauretti’s) office for this success," said Perillo. "There is more work to be done and I’ll be working with Rep. Ben McGorty and Sen. Kevin Kelly in the months and years ahead to make things happen for downtown businesses and residents.” 

The $120,000 in state funding for the walking path along the Housatonic River will be matched by $25,000 from the city. 

The $120,000 in state funding approved for the restoration of the Shelton Canal will be matched by $30,000 from the city. This money will be applied toward creation of the Shelton Canal Lock Park. 

"This is great news for Shelton," added Kelly, who represents Shelton, among other towns. “These projects will support historic preservation of our community, environmental restoration, and the creation of open space." 

Lauretti called the Riverwalk an integral element of downtown’s rebirth. The Riverwalk will, once complete, be nearly a mile from the southern tip of Veterans Memorial Park north along the Housatonic River to the Shelton Canal Lock. 

Lauretti said this grant will allow the city to construct a 220-linear-foot section behind 223 Canal St., which will be home to River Breeze, a 64-apartment development. 

The second grant will cover the city’s costs for hiring an engineering firm to complete the study necessary to establish a new public open space at the northern end of Canal Street. 

“The concept will support the historic preservation of Shelton’s last remaining canal lock, the environmental restoration of the Shelton canal and the development of public open spaces which will support passive and active recreational opportunities,” Lauretti added. 

Since 1996, the state of Connecticut and the city has invested more than $21 million into Shelton’s Brownfields Remediation Program. 

“The results have been transformative as Shelton has revitalized a once blighted and decayed industrial zone,” Lauretti said. 

As a result of these public investments, according to Lauretti, the city has been successful in leveraging nearly $110 million in private investments leading to the construction of more than 600 residential units and the creation of dozens of new business opportunities downtown. 

"I am grateful that the city of Shelton will be able to bolster its development and revitalization with the help of these grants,” said McGorty. 

The STEAP grants are awarded through a state program managed by the Office of Policy and Management that delivers grants to small towns for economic development, community conservation, and quality-of-life capital projects. 

New state board allocates $76.4M for economic development; Middletown, New Haven, Waterbury big winners

Michael Puffer

The Community Investment Fund 2030 board – a new group led by top lawmakers – approved $76.4 million in state grants Tuesday for development and community projects in distressed municipalities.

Middletown is in line for $12 million to fund its "Return to the Riverbend" plan, an effort to make better connections with parkland and redevelop industrial, commercial and waste treatment sites along the Connecticut River. 

Waterbury is teed up to get $10 million, which local officials say is enough to finish cleaning a roughly 20-acre brownfield adjacent to its downtown. The administration has already spent millions fixing infrastructure and demolishing abandoned buildings in the area, aiming for an ambitious redevelopment. 

New Haven is the other big winner, with a $10 million allocation Tuesday. 

This list of projects blessed by the Community Investment Fund 2030 board now needs Gov. Ned Lamont’s approval to go on the state Bond Commission Agenda for funding. But no cuts are anticipated.

“We certainly don’t anticipate rejection or amendments because it’s been well vetted and worked out,” House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, told the CIF board Tuesday. “But he ultimately is the governor. So, in theory, until he says 100% yes, there could be changes and feedback to this group.”

Approved by lawmakers last year, the Community Investment Fund Board has a mandate to approve up to $875 million in projects and grants in distressed communities over a five-year period.

Ritter co-chairs the CIF board with Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven.

Under the 2021 law, funding priorities will be decided by a 21-member board that includes 10 state lawmakers; nine heads of state offices and commissions, or their designees; and two appointees by the governor.

The Department of Economic and Community Development received 183 applications asking for about $900 million.

Gov. Ned Lamont will have 60 days from receipt of the CIF list to pass along to the Bond Commission. Members of the CIF board asked Ritter to postpone sending that list, allowing more time during a busy fall season that includes elections.

The CIF board did approve opening a second application round from Nov. 1 through Jan. 6.

DECD staff were not able to immediately supply details of the approved projects Tuesday. The names and amounts approved by the CIF Board were published online with the meeting agenda. Lawmakers started issuing statements celebrating the funding Tuesday afternoon. 

Waterbury lawmakers issued a release celebrating $10 million that will allow them to "finalize" demolition and cleanup at 20 acres along the city's Freight Street corridor. Adjacent to downtown and near access to highways and rail, the site once served Anaconda American Brass.

"This funding approved in the inaugural round of the Community Investment Fund will enable the city to boost the completion of a reimagined Freight Street District, culminating in hundreds of mixed-use and commercial jobs in a previously blighted and abandoned industrial wasteland," said State Sen. Joan V. Hartley, D-Waterbury, according to the release. Hartley thanked the board, other Waterbury lawmakers and Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary for advocating for the funding. 

Middletown leaders separately issued a release, praising funding for their effort to reconnect to 220 acres of riverfront separated from its downtown by Route 9 or occupied by industrial development and the city's former wastewater treatment plant. 

"This project, with potential that is almost immeasurable, will serve our residents and connect our neighborhoods to the riverfront," State Sen. Matt Lesser, D-Middletown, said, according to a release. "The Connecticut River is the beating heart of our region. This historic investment in Middletown's riverfront will be transformative for our region and Middletown's future." 

State Sen. Doug McCrory, D-Hartford, also issued a release late Tuesday, celebrating $5.5 million that will help Bloomfield build a new library in place of the current Prosser Library. 

The list of recipients approved Tuesday includes:

Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association, Hartford, $1,247,038

Baldwin Holdings Bridgeport, $1,756,164

BIMEC Housing Development, New Haven, $2,132,250

City of Ansonia, Ansonia, $6,500,000

City of Meriden - 85 Tremont/Locust Street Project, Meriden, $3,000,000

City of Middletown - Remediation & Demolition, Middletown, $12,000,000

City of New Haven - 596-598 George Street Project, New Haven, $1,500,000

City of Waterbury - Freight Steet Demo/Remediation Waterbury $ 10,000,000

CitySeed, Inc New Haven, $1,092,500

CONNCORP New Haven, $10,000,000

Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, New Haven, $500,000

East Main St. Revitalization Association, - planning, Bridgeport, $750,000

Fair Haven Community Health Clinic New Haven, $3,000,000

International Hartford, Hartford, $1,137,514

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), statewide, $1,000,000

MATCH Inc., New Haven, $780,000

NCDC - Reid and Hughes – Norwich, $550,000

New Haven Jewish Community Council Housing Corp. – planning, New Haven $155,000

New Reach, Inc. New Haven, $312,619

North Hartford Collaborative Hartford, $4,500,000

Sheldon Oak Central, Inc Hartford $3,750,000

Town of Bloomfield - Library Bloomfield $5,526,000

Town of East Hartford - Church Corners, East Hartford, $2,500,000

Town of Hamden - drainage – planning, Hamden, $750,000

Town of Stratford, Stratford $1,600,000

Winsted Health Center – planning, Winsted $438,750

Glenbrook Residents Question Mayor’s Math for Rehabbing Community Center in Stamford

Angela Carella

STAMFORD — Mayor Caroline Simmons’ first public meeting with Glenbrook residents opposed to her plan to sell their community center to an affordable housing developer has them fact-checking her information.

It’s not adding up, resident Christopher Twardy said.

Simmons repeated during Wednesday’s meeting with residents what she has said many times since she began pushing her plan for the 35 Crescent St. community center early this year – the cost of fixing it is $23 million.

The Board of Finance would never agree to spend that much money, Simmons has said, so if the building is not sold to the developer, it will be left to deteriorate.

However, when a Glenbrook man during the meeting asked Simmons what the cost would be to refurbish it as a community center, not a 51-unit housing complex, Simmons said she didn’t know and referred the question to a member of her administration.

The answer was $5 million or $6 million, possibly higher if more work is needed to bring systems up to code.

That’s much lower than $23 million, but still too high, said Twardy, a building materials distributor who grew up in the Glenbrook area and visited the community center for most of his life. Twardy is friends with Jerry Pia, who operated his Activities for Kids program in the center for decades.

“A couple of years ago I brought a bunch of specialists to the GCC to look at all the systems and give Jerry an assessment of what needed to be done,” Twardy said. “The building was structurally sound. The big things are that it needs new windows and the elevator has to be fixed. Some things need renovation, new paint. I would say the total cost would be between $500,000 and $1 million.”

Jamie D’Agostino estimated the same amount, though he said he might include a roof replacement in the list of repairs. 

D’Agostino sent the Simmons administration a proposal in which he offered to pay market rate for the building, move his small IT business there along with his wife’s day-care operation, and leave the rest as a community center. His plan was rejected because it did not include affordable housing, said D’Agostino, who also grew up in the community center.

He did a walk-through of the building last year, D’Agostino said.

“The building isn’t bad. I’m not intimidated by the condition,” said D’Agostino, a mechanical engineer. “I wouldn’t have to fix it all on day one.”

That fits with the conclusion of a 55-page facility conditions assessment dated March 6, 2020, and conducted by Silver Petrucelli & Associates, a Hamden firm hired by the city. 

Silver Petrucelli’s detailed report prioritizes the work and itemizes the estimated costs.

The company found “urgent priority” repairs that would cost a total of $6,000. 

It identified “high priority” repairs costing a total of $567,000, including $250,000 to fix the windows. 

The report identifies “moderate priority” repairs totalling $337,000. 

“Low priority” fixes are “maintenance and aesthetic issues” that could wait five to 10 years and would cost a total of $380,000, according to the report.

Added up, all the work would cost $1.3 million, or just under $1 million without the low-priority repairs.

“I have a bad taste in my mouth for how the mayor and her administration are going about this. I feel betrayed,” Twardy said. “I tried to speak to Simmons after the meeting but someone on her staff pulled her away. I wanted to say, ‘It’s not truthful what you said this evening about the $23 million. It stinks.’”

Twardy had his hand raised for nearly all of the half-hour that Simmons and her staff took questions during the meeting. But no one called on him. When he tried to speak anyway, the president and vice president of the Glenbrook Neighborhood Association, which ran the meeting, shut him down.

Twardy said he thinks it’s because of another piece of misinformation being put out by the administration – that the Glenbrook Community Center did not close because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Simmons said during the meeting that the center has been closed for four years.

Twardy said that, before the meeting started, he spoke with a member of Simmons’ administration who said the same thing.

“I said, ‘Sir, that’s just not true. It was a fully functioning center until they shut it down along with the schools when COVID started,’” Twardy said. “I think after that he told them not to call on me because they didn’t want me to bring that up.”

But Pia, now retired and living out of town, said the same thing in a letter he sent to the Board of Representatives. His program, 

Activities for Kids, closed four years ago but the community center stayed open, Pia wrote. 

“The GCC was fully operational and the community center was closed only because of COVID on March 13, 2020, as were city buildings,” Pia wrote. “The building was housing all the same programs except for an after-school program during the school year and a 5-12 summer day camp. There was a summer program for 2- to 5-year-olds. That’s the only difference.”

Simmons explained during the meeting that Stamford, like many places, has an “affordability crisis” and must provide lower-cost housing so college graduates can return, senior citizens can stay in their homes, and families can make rent payments. Stamford especially needs “workforce housing” for employees who are essential to the city’s economy, Simmons said.

All true, residents said on the day of the meeting. But, they said, the administration fails to make it clear that, if the sale goes forward, the 51 affordable units that will be created in the community center building will not be reserved for people who live or work in Stamford.

“They let you think it’s for Stamford people, but it’s not,” said resident Joe Rich.

The developer, Darien resident John McClutchy and his son, Todd McClutchy, of JHM Group, say in their proposal that they cannot limit tenancy to Stamford residents or workers. The Simmons administration put out a fact sheet saying the process for deciding who will be selected for the apartments “is to be determined. The developers have used a lottery system for other properties they own to ensure that the process is fair.”

City Rep. Sean Boeger raised another issue during the meeting that residents say is not portrayed accurately. The administration claims it cannot put more money into the Glenbrook Community Center building, though other centers have been “revived” multiple times, Boeger said.

In fact, the city each year contributes to community centers and similar organizations, since they provide valued services the city would otherwise have to provide. 

According to this year’s operating budget, the city gave the Boys & Girls Club-Yerwood Center $225,000, plus $145,000 for the Mary C. Rich Clubhouse and Teen Center, which is part of the Boys & Girls Club. Each amount was about $10,000 more than the West Side organizations received last year.

In North Stamford, the Stamford Museum & Nature Center this year received $1.3 million, the same as last year, and the Bartlett Arboretum received $334,000, which was $5,000 more than last year, according to the budget.

After the meeting Glenbrook residents said they tried to explain that their densely populated neighborhood of single- and multi-family homes, small businesses, and small apartment and condo complexes already contributes to the city’s affordable housing stock, and will contribute more in the future. 

They said they just want to save the community center, a place that for decades provided after-school programs for kids, activities for seniors, sports, dances, exercise classes, meeting space for substance-abuse recovery programs, music and art lessons, and more.

Twardy said all eyes are on Oct. 3, when the Board of Representatives is slated to vote on whether to approve the sale of the Glenbrook Community Center.

After the meeting with Simmons, he doesn’t know what to expect, Twardy said.

“We weren’t heard. They just tried to sell it to us using misinformation,” he said. “I have such a bad taste in my mouth. It’s hard to swallow.”

Mass. developer drawn to Waterbury by affordable land, receptive officials

Michael Puffer

The Massachusetts company that recently paid $5 million for a nearly 20-acre development site at 3800 East Main St. in Waterbury was convinced to make the investment by affordable land prices and a warm welcome from local officials.

Founded in 2014, Shearwater Development, of Raynham, Massachusetts, has concentrated its development efforts in the Bay State until recently. Rising interest rates and construction materials costs prompted the developer to seek out lower land costs in a search extending into Rhode Island and Connecticut. It was Colliers that drew Shearwater’s attention to the vacant building site at 3800 East Main St., said Jamie Ciffolillo, a partner in Shearwater.

In Massachusetts, building sites near highway access are selling for $50 to $60 per square foot, Ciffolillo said.

Shearwater paid $5 million to Waterbury Retail Investments in a deal recorded Sept. 13.

The Waterbury site – which was previously approved for an e-commerce distribution facility – was once a steep, rocky hill, but has been mined for gravel down to a relatively flat building site. It still requires “a fairly substantial” retaining wall ahead of development, not to mention construction of utility connections. But those costs are manageable when coupled with the relatively affordable land price and excellent access to

Interstate 84 via two nearby interchanges, Ciffolillo said.

“When we are speaking of $50 to $60 per buildable square foot prices here in Massachusetts and we are talking $20 a buildable square foot there, the math still makes sense,” Ciffolillo said.

Ciffolillo said rising interest costs made Shearwater reconsider buying the Waterbury property. But the site is promising, and city officials have proven eager and supportive of development, he said. Shearwater representatives met with Mayor Neil O’Leary, Economic Development Director Joseph McGrath and other members of the city administration.

“It is challenging, but we think the highway access and level of support we will be getting from the City of Waterbury is incredible,” Ciffolillo said.

The building site is located next to a Kohl’s, Costco and Restaurant Depot, all using a shared access road.

On its website, Shearwater lists ownership of nine office and industrial properties, ranging in size from a 15,000-square-foot warehouse in Taunton, Massachusetts, to a 160,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution building in Stoughton, Massachusetts.

Shearwater presented rough plans for a 220,000-square-foot warehouse to Waterbury officials, and are designing to that specification, but it is also trying to remain flexible. The company would be open to building to suit a manufacturer or retailer. It won’t finalize designs or begin building until a user is identified, Ciffolillo said. That way, the building can be tailored to the end user.

The site at 3800 East Main St. had been eyed for development of a Super Wal-Mart and, more recently, for an Amazon “last-mile” warehouse. Ciffolillo said all needed local board approvals are in place. Building permits would need to be pulled prior to construction, but no further regulatory approvals are needed, he said. 

Connecticut Children’s proposed, $280 million expansion would double size of hospital. Here’s what it would look like.

Kenneth R. Gosselin

HARTFORD — An ambitious, $280 million expansion of Connecticut Children’s in Hartford that would roughly double the size of the hospital could be connected to a new parking garage across Washington Street via a pedestrian skywalk.

“We know we are going to need additional parking for the new tower,” Ryan Calhoun, the hospital’s vice president of strategy and business development, said. “We are going to need more space for our team members to park as well as our patients to be able to park.”

The plans for a parking garage, near the southwest corner of Washington and Lincoln streets, were included in a master plan for the 25-year-old campus filed with the city’s planning and zoning commission. The garage, however, would need a separate, future approval.

The commission, in addition to the state, is now reviewing the addition of an 8-story tower facing Washington Street.

At the center of the new 195,000-square-foot tower is a move by Connecticut Children’s into fetal care from its traditional pediatric care roots. Fetal care often includes surgery inside the womb to improve chances of survival.

The hospital also seeks to build on its specialized treatments for rare bone diseases, adding advanced cellular and gene therapy to provide cancer treatment for its pediatric patients.

If all approvals are secured, construction could start this spring and take two years to complete. Financing is expected to be though a combination of debt and foundation fundraising.

The expansion plans include the addition of 50 neo-natal intensive care beds; 14 “acuity adaptable” beds for different levels of care; 6 advanced cellular gene therapy beds; 6 labor and delivery beds and space for 25 future beds. The project also includes two new operating rooms in the fetal care center.

Although the parking garage is not part of the approval being sought for the new tower, it was included as part of the master plan to manage expected increased parking needs. Parking already is at a premium on the campus shared with Hartford Hospital.

Connecticut Children’s now has space in Hartford Hospital’s nearby parking garage. But it isn’t enough, forcing Connecticut Children’s to shuttle employees to the campus from elsewhere in Hartford, Calhoun said.

The garage would be built, owned and operated separately, with Connecticut Children’s leasing parking spaces, Calhoun said.

The hospital is in early discussions with potential builders and operators, but it declined to identify them.

It is still unclear how many spaces the garage would have, or how big it would be. But preliminary renderings show at least five levels above ground.

In June, Connecticut Children’s purchased a half-acre property on the western side of Washington Street, the site of a former car wash, in preparation for the expansion. The hospital paid $2 million, according to city property records.

Connecticut Children’s said it has been working with neighborhood groups as its proposal has unfolded in recent months. The filing with the planning and zoning commission included letters of support from the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance and the Frog Hollow Neighborhood Revitalization Zone.

The Frog Hollow NRZ wrote that it supported the new tower, but it was reserving judgment on the parking garage until it learned more details.

“While a fairly detailed rendering of the expanded building and site plan on the eastern side of Washington Street was presented, there was no information presented on the parking garage,” Carey Shea, Frog Hollow NRZ interim chair, wrote. “Therefore, at this time, the [Frog Hollow NRZ’s] enthusiastic support is strictly limited to support of the building expansion, changes to the street, bus lanes and landscaping proposed for the redevelopment east of Washington Street.”

Construction on the hospital and the parking garage would be timed so they would open at the same time, Calhoun said.

The new tower also is intended to create a new, front entrance to the hospital, Calhoun said. Right now, patients and visitors to Connecticut Children’s enter the hospital in the rear of the building near the emergency room.

“So now, we are really creating a brand new, grand entrance to the Children’s hospital which is really the standard for children’s hospitals across the country,” Calhoun said.

Construction company seeks contractors for New London community recreation center

Johana Vazquez

New London ― Downes Construction Company, LLC, the firm managing the upcoming construction of the city’s $30 million community recreation center, is asking local contractors to submit bids for the project.

The community center will be built on a seven-acre parcel of land that will be known as 1 Recreation Way in the Fort Trumbull section of the city.

According to a news release, Downes is seeking bids on a variety of trades ranging from temporary fencing and power to concrete and masonry work, structural and miscellaneous steel work, roofing, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and fire suppression. Bids also are being sought for site work and the installation of a pool and elevator.

The plans for the 57,000-square-foot community center facility include a two-court gymnasium, swimming pool with seating for swim meets, locker rooms, changing rooms, classrooms, a fitness center and weight room, multipurpose rooms and space for the headquarters of the city’s Recreation Department and Youth Affairs.

Qualified subcontractors interested in bidding on the project should contact Downes Construction at bids@downesco.com or Scott Scholl & Kyle Lentini at 860-229-3755 for bidding instructions.

Bidders can review the bid documents and invitation to bid at https://downesconstruction.sharefile.com/d-s172bcae47fc8444fb3abcd61b839cac6.