Stratford developer wants to convert warehouse into apartments

STRATFORD — The owner of a warehouse spanning the Bridgeport city line is proposing to convert the aging commercial structure into a seven-unit apartment building.

Com Link, Inc., the owner of 520 Success Avenue, is seeking permission to build two additions to the 63-year-old building, according to an application filed with the city’s Planning and Zoning Office.

“One addition is an already constructed two-story extension to the north that will be expanded to three stories, and the other addition will be a two-story addition to the storage areas of the existing building,” the architects working on the project wrote in the bid.

The plans show that Com Link is also considering constructing a similar six-apartment annex on the Bridgeport side of the single-story building, which is surrounded by apartment buildings and other apartment buildings.

The unique proposal, which also includes office and storage space, could face an uphill battle. The Stratford Architectural Review Board noted earlier this year that the project is generally consistent with the city’s design guidelines.

However, the five-member advisory panel found that several elements of the renovated building violated the guidelines, including the proposed use of vinyl siding for the additions and a lack of outdoor lighting on the property.

The board also criticized that the proposed site plan does not include sidewalks and other pedestrian routes to the building’s front entrance, which would lead directly into the driveway of a narrow parking lot.

“Any recommendations from the ARB should definitely be considered a condition of approval,” planning and zoning administrator Jay Habansky wrote in a letter to the Stratford Zoning Commission.

In addition to the seven residential units proposed on the Stratford side and six on the Bridgeport side, the renovated building would have 4,000 square feet of office space and 4,100 square feet of storage space.

In his letter to the zoning commission, Habansky noted that city officials were having a hard time determining how many businesses are currently located on the derelict lot and suggested that the board should urge developers to disclose their full plans for the building .

“The Commission must pay close attention to whether the proposed site intensity is appropriate,” he wrote.

The proposal is the second time this year that the owner of a commercial building in Stratford is proposing to build apartments on the existing property.

The owner of 2152 Barnum Avenue, a one-story building that houses Mangoz Bar & Lounge, is applying for permission to build a second floor for six apartments. The proposal is currently before the Zoning Appeals Committee, which is next scheduled to meet on Tuesday, November 1 at 7 p.m.

Richard Chumney can be reached at [email protected]

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