Two mixed-use projects win approval

Two retail projects along Bridgeport Avenue have been approved unanimously by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

At the Feb. 28 meeting, the P&Z voted in favor of a nine-building retail, restaurant, hotel, and office development on the former United Illuminating property at 801 Bridgeport Avenue. The commission approved a Planned Development District (PDD) for the 19.1-acre parcel.

The commission also approved R.D. Scinto Inc.’s proposal for one large retail, office and service building on 2.8 acres at 899-905 Bridgeport Avenue.

The UI site has been empty for a few years, and existing buildings will be demolished to make way for a 30,100-square-foot retail building, pharmacy, bank, three restaurants, hotel, coffee shop, and office building. More than 600 parking spaces will be provided.

A small public park will be built in the middle of the Fountain Square project, and detailed plans finalized to potentially extend the sidewalk all the way to the next property to the north.

The project will have entrances on Bridgeport Avenue and Parrott Drive, and a new traffic light will be added at the intersection of the two roads.

Member James Tickey said eliminating two buildings “made the project less dense” and creating the park will lead to “a more balanced development.” The developer’s original proposal had 11 buildings.

Member Mark Widomski said “the green area is great” but lamented that sidewalks won’t be added all the way up Parrott Drive.

With the Scinto project, the P&Z approved modifying an existing PDD for a hotel and restaurant that never materialized. Now a 26,200-square-foot building with 131 parking spaces and one driveway will be built. Existing structures will be demolished.

After Widomski brought up the lack of a sidewalk on Bridgeport Avenue, R.D. Scinto will be required to have an engineer do a feasibility study on putting a sidewalk in front of the development.

“I know the applicant was open to it,” Chairman Virginia Harger said of a sidewalk.