‘High-end multi-use’ development coming to Bridgeport Avenue?

A proposed new retail, office and service building along southern Bridgeport Avenue would be “a very high-end multi-use development” featuring a glass and gray-colored terracotta design to give it a unique, elegant look.

That’s what developer Robert A. Scinto told the Planning and Zoning Commission during a Jan. 9 public hearing on the plan to put a 26,200-square-foot structure at 899-905 Bridgeport Avenue.

Scinto, chief operating officer of R.D. Scinto Inc. and son of the well-known developer, said the center should attract stores, restaurants, medical offices, other professional offices, and various service-oriented firms. He said the L-shaped building would likely have five to 10 tenants.

The company’s new development at the corner of Bridgeport Avenue and Commerce Drive, now under construction, is “100% leased” and commercial tenants who couldn’t get in there are interested in this location, according to Scinto.

“We have interest from a lot of different tenants,” he said, noting the location’s proximity to the Scinto office park and other corporate enterprises. “We feel confident to go ahead and start this project,” Scinto said.

The proposed one-story building would be built on a 2.9-acre property just south of the Shoreline Veterinary Center. The land now has an assortment of small structures, mostly vacant, and is owned by a Westchester County, N.Y., entity. All existing structures would be demolished, and the land re-graded so the parking lot and building would be six to eight feet above the road.

There would be 131 parking spaces, which is 13 more than required, and one driveway entrance on Bridgeport Avenue with both right- and left-turn lanes for exiting.

Scinto is seeking to modify a previously approved Planned Development District (PDD) for a hotel and restaurant at the site that were never built.

Resident Caitlin Augusta said she liked the “high-end workmanship” in the proposal but wants smart growth initiatives incorporated to prevent Bridgeport Avenue from becoming another Post Road filled with strip centers.

Augusta suggested fewer parking spaces and more open space, such as a central spot with benches and trees to create “a more welcoming pedestrian area” where people could gather. She also wants a larger buffer near the road so people don’t just “see a giant parking lot,” and suggested using pervious pavement to let water drain and adding solar panels and electric-vehicle charging stations.

Two other members of the public who spoke liked the idea of eliminating the extra 13 parking spaces so there would be more greenery.

Greg Tetro, a founder of the Save Our Shelton organization that’s been fighting large development projects, said he’s confident Scinto will “do a quality job” but worries about the future of retail. He said retailers may simply move to the new development from other locations on Bridgeport Avenue, creating vacancies elsewhere.

Developer engineer Joseph Pereira said the development would improve the treatment of storm water run-off at the site and not generate more traffic than the previously approved PDD project.

Scinto said he was open to adding a sidewalk along Bridgeport Avenue in front of the project after the idea was raised by P&Z member Mark Widomski.

The P&Z closed the application’s public hearing but did not begin deliberations or take a vote.