Stamford’ South End may gain two more apartment buildings
STAMFORD — Developer Building and Land Technology has filed applications with the city to build another two buildings in the South End’s Harbor Point.
The buildings, each with 180 units in a 15-story outcrop above a multi-story base, are proposed for two roughly 1.3-acre vacant blocks on the southernmost edge of the neighborhood on either side of Harbor Point Road, where it hits Pacific Street and Dyke Lane.
BLT’s application as proposed may have an uphill battle, though the city has already granted a general approval when it approved Harbor Point for buildings of that size on those blocks.
The developer again plans to use foam-like facade material that it has on nearly all its other South End buildings, which Zoning Board members increasingly decry and the Land Use Bureau has targeted in new urban design guidelines.
The material, “exterior insulation and finish system” or EIFS, so bothers some that state Rep. David Michel, D-146, even introduced a bill this legislative session to ban the substance in Connecticut.
“It’s used for cheap development,” Michel said. “It’s plastic pollution.”
Zoning Board Chair David Stein has called for builders to use varying materials, “getting away from EIFS and steel.”
Ted Ferrarone, BLT’s chief operating officer, said in an email that the company uses EIFS because “it’s one of the best products available for building facades.”
“EIFS is energy efficient, durable and attractive. EIFS allows for a wide degree of variety both in colors and patterns,” he wrote. “Over the years, EIFS has been approved on projects throughout the city by the Zoning Board. What the board has mentioned to us is that they are looking for additional variety for building facades. For our part, we are confident that we can accomplish this through the use of EIFS and look forward to presenting to the Zoning Board.”
While the exterior could provide friction in the approval process, it is what is inside the buildings — or what’s absent — that will likely prove more contentious.
BLT seeks a buyout of a city mandate that builders make 10 percent all units in large complexes affordable, for those making half of the area’s median income.
In recent months, the Zoning Board has been less accepting of such buyouts — forcing builders to include at least some of the mandated units. In these two buildings, BLT would be required to install 36 units.
Ferrarone said BLT would like to send its buyout to the nonprofit Housing Development Fund, which started a program with another BLT buyout to help low-income South End residents buy homes.
The South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone rallied against the first buyout plan that created HDF’s program.
No hearings are yet set, but BLT’s plans will be discussed by Zoning Board members at their Monday evening meeting on the Government Center’s fourth floor.
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