Pop-up shops have become fairly common over the past few years. But the developer behind one of Stamford’s new luxury high-rises is using the concept in a novel way: not just to further underscore the “community” theme it’s striven to construct among its residents, but to get its occupancy rate to pop as well.
“Trying to attract new residents is a part of it,” affirmed Abby Goldenfarb, one of the vice presidents of development at Trinity Financial, which opened the 19-floor, $80 million Vela on the Park building at 1011 Washington Blvd. last year. “We’re about 85 percent occupied and it hasn’t even been a year. But we think these kinds of events can help.”
The types of events Goldenfarb was referencing include a Feb. 19 pop-up trunk show featuring high-end knitwear company Sh*t That I Knit. Like Trinity, STIK is based in Boston, but founder Christina Fagan said she jumped at the chance to expose her wares to a new community.
“I’ve done pop-ups in the past,” Fagan, who started the online company in 2015, said. Noting that her inventory can be found in various stores in the Boston and Portland, Maine, areas, she said that she’s now “trying to expand and get better known in Fairfield County. Places like Stamford, Greenwich and Darien are definitely top spots for us.”
The Vela event ran from just 7 to 9 p.m. — pop-up stores typically operate for at least a few days — but Fagan said she was satisfied with the results. While declining to say how many of her store’s knitted hats (typical price, $125) were sold, she said the numbers were sufficient to justify the 20 “meditative kits” that STIK donated to Stamford Hospital.
The branded “Give-A-Sh*t Kits” include wool, needles, a pattern and additional materials a patient may need in order to complete a knitted project. Research has shown that quiet activities like knitting can help reduce cortisol levels and blood pressure, and lower stress and anxiety, Fagan noted.
Goldenfarb said Trinity has sponsored a number of similar events at Vela, featuring such vendors as fitness- and health-oriented companies Be Well Fit and Fit Solutions, Haute Sauna, luxury menswear retailer J. Hilburn, dog day-care provider Camp Bow Wow and Stamford restaurants Flinders Lane and Bar Rosso.
The Stamford Downtown Special Services District, a business improvement district established to manage, enhance and promote the city’s downtown experience, hosted an event at Vela on June 21 to show off its amenities and views of downtown Stamford, the New York City skyline and Long Island Sound. Refreshments were provided by a number of local eateries.
“It’s a new building in a developing neighborhood, so we want to try and bring together shared experiences for the residents,” she said. “These types of events can help them get to know their neighbors and foster a sense of pride in the building. And we also had probably 20 to 25 people who don’t live here stop by, so we try to encourage them to take a tour.”
Studio apartments in the 209-unit building start at $2,415 a month, with one bedrooms ranging from $2,626 to $3,624 and two bedrooms going for $3,215 to $4,112.
The building, which consists of 176,785 square feet of residential and 3,669 square feet of retail space — plus 6,166 square feet of amenity space – took roughly 15 months to complete. The “park” that Vela overlooks is actually two: the 12-acre Mill River Park at 1010 Washington Blvd. and Columbus Park on Main Street, which among other things hosts the popular “Alive@5” summertime concert series.