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Official: Stamford transit center decision forthcoming

Stamford Train Station

State transportation officials say they hope to choose a developer for the construction of a new parking garage and transit-oriented development at the Stamford Transportation Center later this month or early next year.

While the project is centered on the replacement of the station’s current parking structure, the bid selected by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) could include plans for a new, mixed-use complex of more than 500,000 square feet that would be located just steps from the train, according to sources with knowledge of the proposals.

DOT, which owns the Stamford Transportation Center, received multiple bids in response to a July request for proposals for a new garage and transit development, said Director of Communications Judd Everhart.

“We did receive several proposals,” Everhart said. “We’re evaluating them now and expect to select a developer by the end of the year.”

The request for proposals stipulates that up to $35 million in state-bonded funds are available for the project developer. The garage must be built within a quarter-mile of the station, Everhart said.

Regional economists and developers estimate the cost of structured parking at between $20,000 and $25,000 a space, on average. In addition to building a new garage of at least 1,000 spaces, the developer chosen for the project will also be responsible for demolishing the current 727-space garage.

According to the DOT request, a contract between the state and the chosen developer could include rights to develop the airspace above the current station and garage complex, which is owned by the state.

Everhart confirmed that the air rights could be included in the eventual agreement, but said he doesn’t think “the air rights issue will be any more or less important than all of the other issues.”

He said the DOT request gives developers submitting proposals the option to build the new parking garage on privately owned property — so long as it falls within a quarter-mile of the station — or to demolish the current garage and build a new structure on its footprint.

If the chosen developer builds the new garage on private land, Everhart said they would have the rights to the plot occupied by the current garage once it was demolished.

“But any development they proposed would have to be defined and included in their response to the RFP (request for proposals), so everything can be evaluated as a whole,” he said.

A source with knowledge of the proceedings said it is not out of the question to see a development that includes 800,000 square feet of new space, which would be split between the sites of the current and future parking garages.

Laure Aubuchon, director of economic development for the city of Stamford and a member of the advisory committee appointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to review the proposals, said any future repurposing of the site would “just be a further spark for Stamford.”

Aubuchon said the advisory committee received the proposals for review the week of Nov. 26, and estimated a decision would not be made by DOT until the new year.

She noted that the final decision would be made entirely by DOT.

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Patrick Gallagher

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Comments (1)

  • John Stoddard

    The very idea that parking for users of Stamford Station a distance farther than “across the street” is absurd. Commuters convenience should be the first criteria for locating parking. The State of CT’s very idea that parking could be a quarter mile (multiple blocks) away indicates that the State of CT is remarkably out of touch with reality.

    History may have a lesson for us. When acres of automobile parking lots became common outside of factories, oil companies built gas stations next to the parking lots, to capture all those commuters and fill their gas tanks. What was the reality? Workers were too anxious to arrive at work on time, and too anxious to get home at the end their shift, to stop for gas! So the gas stations at the factory gates failed. There is a history lesson here that applies to commuters using Stamford Station. Bottom line – triage commuters’ need for “across-the-street-parking” above the need for retailers. Given the current status of parking along the Metro North corridor, “triage”, not planning, is the proper verb!

    Reply

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