Monday, December 14, 2009

A Walk Down Memory Hole

Angela Carella has a great article on your friend and mine, The Hole.

It's a history lesson that starts in the 1960s and takes us up to last Wednesday when the local powers that be met with the senior manager for the property owners, Milstein Brothers Capital Partners. On the table were the challenges of the market and the "old thorn in the side of developers seeking to build downtown -- parking."

The article suggests that zoning changes modifying the parking requirements could push development in the right direction. Perhaps that's true - I have no idea - but the twin suggestion that Stamford is all set for parking doesn't ring true. Still, if that's the wisdom we need to accept to fill the hole, so be it.

There are quite a lot of other interesting tidbits in the article. For example, one early alternative reality included a downtown Wal-Mart. Ick. Also, the Milstein Brothers cannot be forced to build because their contract does not require it. Notwithstanding the contract language, the Urban Redevelopment Commission has recognized litigation alternatives as a worst case scenario. Unhelpfully, there's no description of what those alternatives might be.

It does say that there is another meeting with the Milstein Brothers on the agenda after Christmas. Here's hoping that somebody sends them a vat of nog and gets them feeling festive.

(photo from willc2, flickr.com)

5 comments:

Streets of Stamford said...

I remember the signs for "Wal-Mart coming soon." I also remember the signs for "Connecticut Tower coming soon" or something like that.

As for litigation alternatives, maybe they can bring in Greenwich resident Judge Judy Sheindlin to render a decision.

Whitemist said...

I still remember the time they almost lost their "hole" to Rick Petersen and some very fancy Health Code Langauge - when the pumps that keep the hole dry broke down.
It might have been better...
But still another solution is the way the property is taxed. If they taxed it as "Zoned: there would be a lot more puch to get something done.

Anonymous said...

The city had its chances on numerous occasions to build an arena or convention center on the site (and utilize Town Center parking for events). After Bridgeport built that POC in Harbor Yard, the viability of an arena went out the window.

Anonymous said...

Angela's article refers to a two-story tower? What what? That ain't no tower. I just don't like that mosquito-infested hole. Maybe fill in the hole and put in a surface parking lot for overflow parking while the train station parking garage gets rebuilt? Yeah, I know that's worse than Wal-Mart but it's better than encephalitis.

StamfordNotes said...

True and funny, Anon #2 - well said!