At Former Foundry Site In Rocky Hill

Combination of Retail, Restaurants and Housing

By DAVID DRURY, Special to The Courant

10:31 AM EST, December 6, 2012


Plans for River's Edge — showing a vibrant mix of housing, retail and public use arising from the former Connecticut Foundry property — have been filed with the town planning office.

The plans, submitted Nov. 30, closely reflect the conceptual design introduced more than a year ago when the town council entered into a development agreement with the property owner, Riverfront Future Partners, headed by New York developer Lenard Thylan.

That agreement, reached in October 2011, ended a contentious legal battle in which the town – unsuccessfully, as it turned out – attempted to seize the long-blighted property through eminent domain after the two sides could not agree on a development plan.

The initial phase of demolition – tearing down the former foundry building, a water tower and another smaller building – has been completed, according to the terms set by the state Department of Health for demolishing asbestos-laden structures. Removing the remaining concrete slabs will be part of site excavation, subject to testing by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, attorney for the developer Michael F. Romano said.

The town has agreed to contribute $650,000 toward cleanup and remediation of the property.

Site plans, developed by the local engineering firm of Hallisey, Pearson & Cassidy, show a series of five buildings, of two- and three-stories, constructed along the riverfront. A total of 78 housing units are shown with parking located beneath the buildings.

The first floor of the northern-most building is set aside for restaurant and retail use with housing above. The southern-most building is designated for multi-use. Maximum building heights for the project are 35 feet.

In addition to parking beneath the buildings, 66 additional spaces are planned for the parcel at the southeastern end of Glastonbury Avenue owned by the developer. A total of 250 parking spaces are shown in the plans.

A portion of the development area along the riverfront lies within the 100-year flood plain. A series of small retention ponds would be constructed for drainage.

About 2½ acres of the property are designated for public use: a four-foot wide stone pedestrian walkway along the river and a small public park honoring the memory of former state Rep. Richard Tulisano.

Architects Do H Chung & Partners of Stamford designed the residential units with "a Cape Cod beach house kinda look,'' Romano said in an e-mail. "Everyone is excited about the project. There seems to be a lot of interest in the residential units."

Romano said he expects to present the plans before the open space and conservation commission in January, with planning and zoning to follow.

Copyright © 2012, The Hartford Courant