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CT Construction Digest Wednesday August 10, 2022

Decades in the works, ‘city within a city’ project set to begin in Windsor

Emily DiSalvo

WINDSOR — A 650-acre mixed-use development is coming to the site of a former brownfield.

Great Pond Village, located off of Day Hill Road, entered its next phase Tuesday after two decades of planning and brownfield redevelopment challenges delayed the project. The total investment in the phase is $14.4 million. The first phase of the project debuted in 2019 with the opening of a 230-unit luxury apartment complex.

The vision for the land includes a mixed-use neighborhood, rural neighborhood, village center, an employment district and an industrial/warehouse district.

“People can really maximize the best of Connecticut,” Gov. Ned Lamont said during Tuesday’s groundbreaking event. “Great livable spaces, a nice mix of residential, retail, commercial and access to the great outdoors.”

For the groundbreaking, Windsor town leaders, Lamont and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, drove down a rugged dirt road into the site. The rugged, undeveloped land won’t be this way for long. Within the year, a “campus” with roads connecting stores, workplaces and homes will start to take shape.

ABB Inc., or Combustion Engineering, formerly dealt with nuclear waste on the land. The company completed nuclear and fossil fuel research for commercial use. These processes at the site generated low-level radioactive waste and hazardous chemical wastes.

Cleanup of the site has been in the works since the early 2000s. In 2007, ABB and the federal government entered into an agreement to clean remaining radioactive material dating back to the Cold War. At the time, developers were already interested in the land, but the company estimated cleanup would take four to five years for brownfield restoration.

In total, the cleanup cost $150 million.

“ABB spent $150 million to take back land that man, all of us, and the U.S. government desecrated with nuclear propulsion and nuclear fuel testing,” Blumenthal said. “Thanks to ABB for making sure we could reclaim this land good enough not just for commercial uses, but so that people can enjoy it as open space.”

Massachusetts-based Winstanley Enterprises, the master developer for Great Pond Village, has been committed to the property since 2008.

The development will have its own zoning code, which is known as form-based code.

“What’s unique about it is you kind of have a city within a city,” said Adam Winstanley, principal on the project. “What a form-based code does is it creates more density and combines it with open space.”

The 650-acre campus will leave 225 acres as dedicated open space with walking trails.

“It’s going to be jobs, it’s going to be biotech and data and residential — the apartments are already 100 percent leased,” Blumenthal said. “But it is also going to help preserve what really makes Connecticut great in a really densely populated area — we believe in open space.”

The project is expected to generate almost 500 jobs, over $400,000 in state taxes and more than $12 million in permanent wages.

Missouri-based NorthPoint Development will take over the construction phases of the project. NorthPoint made a capital investment totaling $133 million into the Great Pond Village project. Blumenthal presented NorthPoint with a certificate of recognition from the U.S. Senate, as this is the firm’s first Connecticut endeavor.

“A brownfield redevelopment not only brings old into new, but it brings a site back into production,” said Christina Hubacek, regional vice president at NorthPoint.

Manafort Brothers Inc. continues long legacy

Jamila Young

The Manafort Brothers Inc. demolition company has been in business since 1919.

“When my grandfather started the business in 1919, it was called New Britain House Wrecking Company,” Jon Manafort said of his grandfather, James Manafort.

Their employees have experience in concrete, civil and utility, demolition, and more. A few examples of their work are the CT Fastrak Busway, New Britain to Hartford Station, Boston College St. Mary’s Hall, Fedex Ground Hub, Yale University’s Pauli Murry and Benjamin Franklin Colleges, The American School for the Deaf, Plainfield Renewable Energy Power Plant.

In 2018, the company reached a major milestone when it celebrated its 100th year anniversary.

“One hundred years of our family business is a pretty great milestone,” said Jim Manafort Jr., president of the company.

The company has also received a #1 ranking in the Excavation and Foundation category in 2000. They also were requested to assist in the demolition and removal of the World Trade Center buildings after 9/11. More recently the Manafort Brothers performed all of the concrete work on the new ground transportation center at Bradley International Airport, and they were the General Contractor and performed a majority of work on the Rhode Island Pier 2 Project at Quonset Business Park.

Some of their longer projects to complete are roads, bridges, and school construction. They are a fourth generation, family-owned business who says that they have stuck with the business because they have expanded their capabilities and they enjoy building exciting projects. They love what they do, and they do not see it as a family obligation.

To be a part of the team, they said you have to have construction knowledge, or be capable of being trained to perform in a specific job, and as long as conditions are safe for the employees, they do not stop working. They do take extra precautions, especially during the summer heat waves, by staying hydrated.

Aside from assisting communities in the construction field, they also help out communities by hosting various events, such as their James Manafort Sr. Memorial Charity Golf Tournament that supports local charities, the U.S Marine Toys for Tots drive, and an annual Touch-a-Truck event that is held at their offices.