A proposed new office building in Shelton would be built of steel and glass, offering a modern architectural look as well as outdoor second-floor terraces with views of the nearby woods.
“The building is stunning,” Robert A. Scinto, chief operating officer of the R.D. Scinto Inc. development company, said when unveiling renderings of the structure.
“This building is definitely going to stick out … It’s definitely a Class A building,” said Scinto, son of the well-known developer. He said his family has spent years deciding how to best utilize the site on Commerce Drive.
The firm wants to construct the 58,550-square-foot building on an almost five-acre parcel at 20 Commerce Drive, between Progress and Research drives. The site is now vacant.
The building would essentially be built on a hill overlooking Commerce Drive, near the Scinto corporate park.
P&Z now considering application
Scinto and other company representatives discussed the proposed building on June 8 during a Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) public hearing on the application to build it.
The project already has been approved by the city Inland Wetlands Commission. The Far Mill River is just across Commerce Drive from the property, and the land includes some wetlands-regulated areas and a small watercourse.
The site is zoned for Light Industrial Park, which allows for such an office building, so no zone changes or variances are needed.
Three stories of offices
James Swift, an engineer and landscape architect working for R.D. Scinto, made a presentation on the project to the P&Z.
The building would have three floors of offices, plus some parking under the building as well as a surface parking lot. There would be parking for 210 vehicles.
The driveway would be off Commerce Drive. The property has about 420 feet of frontage on Commerce Drive.
Having the only driveway off Commerce Drive was a concern for P&Z Chairman Ruth Parkins. She said it can be a challenge for drivers to pull out onto Commerce Drive heading west, taking a left toward Huntington Street.
Parkins said she would prefer the driveway access was from a side road, perhaps Research Drive.
The building’s design is unique, resembling two squares on top of each other with the upper square — somewhat curved on its two longer two sides — being on an angle. Parts of the upper section are cantilevered, hanging off the lower section.
This would allow for some unique amenities, such as the second-floor outdoor terraces.
Scinto said the structure would be expensive to build, requiring a lot of steel.
Topography is a challenge
The property is on a slope, gaining elevation from the road. The grade is about 5%, leading Swift to call it “a challenging site.”
The building would be built into the hill, similar to a split-level house.
One advantage of the slope is that it should screen some of the building’s parking areas from the road. About one-fourth of the parking is under the building.
In addition to the topography, the proximity to the Far Mill River also is a factor that has to be considered.
Handling storm water run-off
Swift said the project would have a storm water management system with a focus on filtering and cooling water before it is discharged. The water would be treated on-site and released slowly into the ground, Swift said.
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The goal is to ensure the discharged water’s quality and temperature don’t have any negative effects, especially on the Far Mill River.
City inland wetlands staff has suggested some revisions to the storm water management system, primarily involving the catch basin areas.
Tenants being sought
Scinto said the company is seeking tenants to fill the building. It likely would have multiple tenants, perhaps filling spaces from 2,000 to 20,000 square feet each.
“We have a lot of potential tenants looking at it right now,” he told the P&Z.
Scinto said the timetable for construction is uncertain, and may require some advance lease agreements. He said zoning approval should make securing tenant commitments easier.
Neighbor seeks modifications
A representative of an abutting property owner at 15 Progress Drive raised some concerns about the project. The abutting property owner controls three properties in Shelton, with the other two being on Bridgeport Avenue.
Mark L. Lubelsky, a New York City-based attorney, asked about the water retention plans for the R.D. Scinto proposal. He said another Scinto project has caused water issues for this abutting property owner, damaging a transformer.
Lubelsky met with Swift and talked to the elder Scinto — also named Robert — to discuss their concerns in advance, and wanted the P&Z to be sure the suggestions he discussed with them were included in the project.
“I think our main concerns have been accommodated,” Lubelsky told the P&Z.
Swift said R.D. Scinto Inc. has agreed to “modifications” based on the abutting property owner’s concerns, and would not object to these changes being made conditions of approval for the project.
Lubelsky also questioned how the Scinto project would impact wetlands, possibly affecting development plans by the abutting property owner in the future.