The Day – City approves housing and hotel development agreement in Fort Trumbull


New London – A housing and hotel development proposal for Fort Trumbull could be fully designed, if not approved, by the end of the year.

City Council on Monday unanimously approved a development agreement with Optimus Senior Living Group LLC that details a set of requirements and benchmarks for the construction of 104 housing units – condominiums or apartments – and a hotel with suites. for extended stay.

The developers have been working for months with the city’s development arm, the Renaissance City Development Association, on a proposal that would occupy 4 acres in the long-vacant Fort Trumbull Municipal Development Area.

This would be the second major construction project at the Fort Trumbull site. RJ Development + Advisors, which is currently building a 200-unit apartment complex on Howard Street, claims the first new construction in the area that was at the center of the landmark 2005 US Supreme Court case Kelo v. New London.

Once the approvals are in place, Optimus has three years to complete the project with incentives built into the deal to bring the project to fruition even sooner. If the proposal obtains the necessary permits and approvals, the City would sell the property, located on designated parcels 2A, 2B and 2C, to Optimus for $ 750,000. The property is adjacent to the US Coast Guard station and Fort Trumbull State Park and a short distance from the city’s $ 30 million regional recreation center.

RCDA chief executive Peter Davis said incentives of up to $ 100,000 off the purchase price could be obtained by Optimus if he submitted design documents for review, obtained permits and closed the property. by the end of the year. It’s an admittedly ambitious timetable, said Davis, but he has confidence the company plans to act quickly. Optimus has been working for at least a month with the civil engineering firm Close, Jensen and Miller to finalize his plans for submission to the city.

Optimus also agreed to provide RCDA with a deposit of $ 50,000 to cover RCDA’s expenses for the work leading up to the fence.

Optimus, based in Southampton, Mass., Has a portfolio of senior residences and in 2019 completed a 115-unit senior housing complex called Elmbrook Village in Bozrah at an estimated cost of $ 17 million.

RCDA began working with Optimus several years ago when the company considered building a hotel and conference center on another parcel of Fort Trumbull. He also explored the idea of ​​a senior housing project, an idea that was rejected by the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

City council, which did not publicly comment on its unanimous vote on Monday, previously approved the abandonment of part of East Street to help accommodate development and reduce development costs.

Davis said Optimus is confident that it is doing everything in its power to have all the necessary submissions by December.

“We are very excited about this project. We have all worked very hard to develop this plan. We have looked at various design concepts and believe the end product incorporates the vibe of the neighborhood and of New London in general, ”said Linda Mariani, President of RCDA. “This will be a tremendous addition to the development of our city and will complement the other projects planned for the Fort Trumbull area.

Mariani thanked Davis, Optimus Chairman Fred Mielke and RCDA Attorney Mark Zamarka for taking the time to finalize the details of the development agreement.

A representative from Optimus was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

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