November 17, 2016
January 11, 2016
December 8, 2015
December 2, 2015
October 20, 2015
April 2, 2015
September 26, 2013
December 11, 2011
December 5, 2011
By Chris Bosak
DANBURY — A new, upscale hotel has joined the greater Danbury area.
Hotel Zero Degrees, 114-room boutique hotel on the city’s west side, is open for business. Its accompanying restaurant, Terra of Danbury, is scheduled to open next month.
“Looking at this from 30,000 feet, this is an interesting concept that could be a prototype for future hotels in many markets,” Charles Mallory, an owning partner, said Wednesday at a ceremony to introduce the hotel to the public. “It’s got a restaurant, banquet space, great views, green space. We should all be proud of it.”
Randy Salvatore, CEO of RMS Cos., added: “We hope this will become a central gathering place for the area. It will be a destination place for business and leisure travelers for years to come.”
The Danbury hotel follows the success of Hotel Zero Degrees locations in Norwalk and Stamford built by RMS Cos. The Danbury location includes 27 extended-stay suites and more than 3,500 square feet of event space. The owners are also building The Goodwin Hotel in Hartford.
“We’re so proud to have this in greater Danbury,” Stephen Bull, president of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, said. “This type of property doesn’t come by accident. It comes by having a strong economy here.”
RMS purchased the previously vacant land in the summer of 2015 from WCI Communities for about $1.2 million. Approvals and construction came faster than expected.
“This was completed in warp speed,” said Mallory, who is the founder of Greenwich Hospitality Group.
Salvatore said the dealings with the various city departments and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton led to the quick construction.
“We were treated objectively and fairly,” he said. “We like to do business in places like that and we look forward to future developments.”
People’s Bank helped to finance the project. RMS Cos. has invested more than $100 million in the Danbury area in recent years, mostly in building upscale housing.
“The city is here today because we support business,” Boughton said Wednesday at the ceremony. “The No. 1 focus of my administration is: How can we bring in and support business? People have a choice of where to spend their money. Money is accepted everywhere in the world. Randy chose Danbury and we congratulate him for having the vision to build this.”
Boughton also noted that a small shopping plaza will be constructed down the road as the planned neighborhood development on the west side continues.
Terra of Danbury, the restaurant within Hotel Zero Degrees, will be owned and operated by Z Hospitality. The group also owns the restaurant in the Norwalk Hotel Zero Degrees. It is the eighth restaurant opening for the 25-year-old hospitality business.
Terra of Danbury will be open to the public and employ about 30 people. It will serve northern Italian fare, according to Adam Zakka, director of operations and part owner of Z Hospitality.
“We try to provide chic, high-quality experiences, but also keep it very comfortable and casual,” Zakka said. “It will be warm and cozy with pastas and a wood-fired oven for pizzas. Prices span the spectrum.”
Z Hospitality also owns Mediterraneo, Terra and East End in Greenwich, Sole’ in New Canaan, Aurora in Rye, N.Y., and Mediterraneo at Hotel Zero Degrees in Norwalk.
Hotel Zero Degrees in Danbury is located at 15 Milestone Road across the street from Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut. It may be reached at 203-730-9200.
DANBURY – Construction has begun on a new 114-room hotel on Milestone Road.
Hotel Zero Degrees began construction with a groundbreaking at the 9-acre site on Friday.
“We are so excited to be expanding the Hotel Zero Degrees brand into the Danbury community,” said Randy Salvatore, chief executive officer of RMS Companies, in a prepared statement. “The corporate and residential growth over the past few years in this area of Connecticut has been astounding and we are looking forward to providing accommodations for business and leisure travelers as well as becoming the central gathering place for restaurant patrons and social groups.”
Hotel Zero Degrees Danbury expected to open before the end of the year, according to a news release.
NEW HAVEN >> Two private developers are proposing to fill several parcels in the Hill medical district with housing and commercial uses, under the aegis of the Hill to Downtown planning document that has evolved over several years.
Randy Salvatore, who just finished putting up the Novella apartments on Chapel and Howe streets, would work with Clifton Winkel, who has development rights to an estimated seven acres generally in the Gold Street, Prince Street, Washington Avenue and Lafayette Street area.
LaToya Cowan, who works for the Economic Development Corp., Wednesday presented general concepts to Hill residents of what could go on these parcels, as the first concrete construction in an area that for decades has been a sea of parking lots.
The parcels are city owned, but Winkel has development control in an agreement that goes back to 1989, was amended in 1996, and extends to 2025.
His company is AMA Connecticut Funding Corp.
Under a proposed land development agreement with the city, there would be a tighter timeframe on construction in the area, Cowan said.
Also, Winkel would transfer his development rights for the 10 parcels to Salavtore’s company, RMS Companies.
Salvatore said he is not seeking any state or local funding for the project and said he wants to take his clues from what the neighborhood wants.
“The last thing I want to do is come into a community and try to get something approved that the community is not behind,” he said. “I want to make sure there is a meeting of the minds between what the community wants and I what I think we can develop.”
“I love New Haven. I love the excitement and the activity around it. These are some underused parcels right now that really have some good potential,” he said.
Winkel said he brought in Salvatore because of the way he works with residents.
“I decided that I wanted a housing developer as a partner,” said Winkel, whose specialty is medical labs.
Winkel has developed about 85 percent of the land under his control, including 10 Amistad St., where there is stem cell research labs; the former Richard C. Lee High School, which was home to the Yale School of Nursing; the Amistad Park; the new Amistad roadway; and a 1,000-space parking garage.
Cowan said potential uses for the properties are at the beginning stages of discussion.
The feedback from the community centered on the need for housing and commercial uses that will enhance the neighborhood. Considerable discussion focused on the need for sustainable, career-oriented jobs for residents, starting with construction work.
Patty Newtown Foster said residents also should have been presented with a document they could have taken home and studied.
Serena Neal Sanjurjo, executive director of the Livable City Initiative, said she hopes to go to the Board of Alders Sept. 8 to introduce the land agreement. She said this is just the beginning of the development discussion.
Sanjurjo said planning to stem flooding in the area would continue.
As for residential developoment, Cowan said it would grow around St. Anthony’s Church and, if the development comes to fruition.
“It will be in the middle of a spectacular neighborhood,” Cowan said.
Winkel said the residential component is pretty set for the Gold Street area, but the rest of it was conceptual at this point. He said development is “always a balance.”
He hopes to “create a neighborhood where there has been nothing.” Winkel said he has never “walked from the project,” referring to his development rights in this part of the city. “I wanted to finish it,” he said.
The proposal presented Wednesday has medical offices along Congress and Washington avenues and bioscience, offices and a garage near Tower 1.
Hill residents Paul Larrivee and Helen Martin wanted to know what happened to making redevelopment of the dilapidated Church Street South housing project a priority.
Sanjurjo said it initially was part of the Hill to Downtown plan, until the Northland Investment Corp.’s view of development differed markedly from what the city wanted.
Northland is owner of the 301-unit Church Street South development; legal aid attorneys currently are pressuring it to fix multiple apartments filled with mold from leaking roofs and windows.
Anstress Farwell, who runs the New Haven Urban Design League, said the proposed zone change to BD3 would leave too much latitude for the developers and lead to “all kinds of unintended consequences.”
She also said it was not a true transit-oriented development, as emphasized in the Hill to Downtown document. Farwell said there is a tremendous need for more housing and the proposal does not improve walkability from nearby Union Station.
Cowan said 70-foot height restrictions for certain portions would be added to the text of the zone change.
Martin felt any reference to biotech labs would involve Yale University. “We don’t need any more Yale here,” she said. Larrivee said he would oppose anything that didn’t generate taxes.
Salvatore said, as part of the agreement, the development would be taxable for the next three decades, no matter who was to it in the future.
“This is not a Yale project,” Sanjurjo said.
On the issue of realigning streets to make it easier to develop the odd-shaped lots in this part of the Hill, Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson said the thinking on that has changed.
He said it would cost between $80 million to $90 million to do this on Lafayette Street because of the utilities in the area that would have to be moved.
Nemerson also defended the percentage of minorities hired for the 100 College St. project, as an example of using city residents, as required by city ordinance.
One woman complained that minorities get the labor work, rather than the higher skilled jobs.
Nemerson said they are trying to get 25 percent of work across all categories of construction work. He said the largest percentage are laborers, which he said involves much more sophisticated work than people generally realize.
Hill Alder Dolores Colon said she always hears this complaint on jobs.
“We want steady, long-lasting jobs. New Haven (residents) are not getting the benefit” from the millions in work that is part of construction in the city, she said.
Salvatore said he is always interested in hiring local residents and is onboard with mandating certain percentages. He said it makes sense to hire people who live nearby and know the city.
New Haven Register
NEW HAVEN >> Developer Randy Salvatore, who is looking to do a third project in the city, got positive feedback from Wooster Square residents Wednesday on his plans to convert the C. Cowles & Co. factory to apartments.
Alder Aaron Greenberg, D-8, arranged for a meeting of neighbors who came to the New Light School on Wooster Place to listen to Salvatore’s preliminary plans for the conversion of the 125-year-old building on Water Street that was a big part of the city’s industrial history.
Salvatore said he likely will convert the original five-story building to between 90 and 100 loft-style apartments with some 75 more in a new building he would construct adjacent to it after razing the more modern factory extension.
He hoped to keep the brick interior and possibly polished concrete floors, similar to the design of Winchester Lofts across town where the former Winchester Repeating Arms firearms factory was converted to housing.
The Stamford developer said he is considering constructing two multi-family houses along Brown Street that would blend in with the other homes in that area.
Anstress Farwell, president of the New Haven Urban Design League, suggested Salvatore consider having a nonprofit that could access funds for affordable housing build the Brown Street component to his specifications.
Salvatore said he would look into that and he also liked her idea that the estimated 3 acres be submitted as a planned district development that would give him more flexibility.
He promised the several-dozen residents that vehicular access to the property would be from either Water Street or Chestnut Street, but not Brown or Wooster streets, which would only have pedestrian pathways. Salvatore envisioned a market going into what was once Cavaliere’s Market on Wooster Street.
He said there might be a space for some retail in the new building, but not the original structure, which does not have a ground-floor entrance.
As with all New Haven developments, the neighbors were concerned about parking and happy when Salvatore said it all would be on-site, with some underground. The ratio would be one space per unit, but Tony Kosloski said that will not meet the needs of the residents.
Salvatore said his other developments and traffic studies show that one per unit is enough and that residential developments bring down the volume of traffic on a street.
The popular restaurants on Wooster Street generate a lot of traffic and Kosloski said they already spill into Chestnut Street. He agreed that a turnaround at the end of Chestnut would be a welcome traffic fix. A representative of Sage Arts, a 23-unit housing development in the area, said parking is always a problem.
Kosloski was alone in his recommendation that the Light Industrial zoned property be used to bring in jobs, not housing.
Salvatore said that is not feasible and the design of the Cowles building is one of the reasons the company moved to North Haven to a one-story structure. He said he also doesn’t do that type of development.
“I wouldn’t look at people going into a neighborhood as a negative. I think putting pedestrian activity in a neighborhood adds to the commercial viability of the area establishments,” Salvatore said.
Kosloski said he would prefer to see a way for the community to support itself, rather than this “hipster idea about status quo gentrification.”
Hundreds of more apartments are in the planning in two nearby proposals that are now tied up in court, with more than 200 apartments under construction on State and Mechanic streets. Also, hundreds more are built or under construction downtown.
One resident wondered whether there were jobs coming to the city to support these residences.
The developer said generally the trend for baby boomers and millenials is to live in cities. “The cities are where the growth is,” Salvatore said.
A representative of New Haven Promise, a program that rewards New Haven students with good grades with free state college tuition, said the 500 students in the program desire to come back to New Haven after college, but they need affordable housing to do that.
Bev McClure of St. John Street thanked Salvatore for being respectful of the historic nature of the neighborhood. She also made a pitch for a pharmacy or doctor’s or lawyer’s office as part of the development.
Her advice to him was to “get on with it” as she was tired of projects being approved but taking years to build, although the two nearest developments were stalled because of the unanticipated court challenge.
McClure would also rather see condominiums as a way to encourage more permanent neighbors rather than the constant flow of students moving in and out.
Farwell said a recent study found that condos are doing well statewide, but the taxes in New Haven hurt that type of ownership.
McClure was clear she did not want low-income housing because she said it hurts property values. She criticized the lack of upkeep at the nearby Farnam Courts project.
Salvatore said applying for assistance to build affordable housing “takes considerable amount of time” and he wouldn’t want to wait and miss the market.
When asked if he would consider a 55-and-older housing plan, Salvatore said that’s not in his plan, but he could have amenities that would support that demographic.
Others made a pitch for a public meeting room in the development, as well as some open space that would encourage outside activities. Security at the complex and the parking area was also recommended.
Hill-to-Downtown — the city’s plan to link Union Station and Downtown with new commerce — cleared a hurdle Wednesday night.
The five members of the City Plan Commission present voted four to one to approve a rezoning proposal for the 20.6 acres between Union Station and Downtown. The proposal to change the area’s zoning from general business to BD-3 — a categorization which encourages high-density, mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly development — will go before an aldermanic committee on Nov. 30. The proposed BD-3 zoning plan will also allow for lab space as New Haven pushes to attract biotech companies.
“The completion of the Alexion building, that is also in the BD-3 zone, is an opportunity as a community to take advantage of its historic addition and the new interest we’re getting from biotech companies,” said City Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson SOM ’81. “This zone is specifically set up to take advantage of companies looking to move into the city.”
Edward Mattison LAW ’68, the head of the commission, said he voted for the plan because it allows concerned community members to continue providing input via the Board of Alders.
Executive Director of City Planning Department Karyn Gilvarg — who was present at the meeting though she is not a member of the commission — said the time come for the Hill-to-Downtown project to move forward. The city released the original plan in 2013 after one year of discussion between city officials and community members.
Westville Alder Adam Marchand GRD ’99, the only member of the five-person commission to vote against the proposal, said that a special Hill-to-Downtown committee should be created before the project moves forward. The committee should hear community concerns on the issue and bring their findings before the commission, Marchand said. While the BOA has already approved the creation of the committee, members are yet to be officially appointed.
“It’s an important procedural issue I feel we need to respect,” Marchand said.
The commission voted after a public hearing that allowed community members to speak about the proposal. Members heard from a range of individuals, from high-ranking city officials to concerned parishioners at Saint Anthony’s Church.
The two parishioners who testified said the zoning would allow for high-rises near their church that would cast shadows over its parking lot. Blocking light to the lot would make it icy, a safety hazard for many of the church’s older parishioners.
Furlow and Hill alder Dolores Colón said many of her constituents had also voiced concerns over parking shortages. Many living in her ward are not able to park in front of their homes because others have already snagged the spots on the curb, she said.
The competition for parking spots, Colón said, considerably impacts the quality of life for her constituents. But changing the zoning to a BD-3 would only exacerbate the parking shortage because of its less stringent requirements for developers to build parking spots, she said.
Colón said that a parcel of land included in the zoning proposal is located across the street from a senior residence and should not be zoned as BD-3. She added that several other blocks should likewise not be a part of the 20.6-acre zoning proposal.
“We don’t want all these different parcels that make up the 20 acres to be under the same umbrella right now,” she said.
RMS Companies is currently the only private developer committed to the Hill-to-Downtown plan, but there is potential for other companies to join in the future. Because of the project’s uncertain nature, the city should be cautious making long-lasting zoning changes that cover such a broad swath of land, Colón said. RMS is creating five properties across four blocks in the area.
New Haven has 45 different boards and commissions.
New Haven Register
NEW HAVEN >> The Novella apartments were celebrated Tuesday as a great addition to the city’s housing stock and held out as the kind of project that can result when a developer and the community work out their differences.
The 136 apartments at Chapel and Howe streets are the latest among some 2,000 units built, approved or in the planning in New Haven.
Randy Salvatore, president of the RMS Companies, which built Novella, also was tagged by Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson as someone whose actions cement the city’s credibility as a place to build.
Nemerson said in the last 50 years, not one developer who built a new spec building from scratch came back to build a second building.
He said Salvatore plans to build five as part of a plan for the Hill neighborhood, which is just beginning the approval process.
That plan calls for some 140 apartments, plus commercial space, as well as offices and biotech labs with $1.25 million paid to the city for its land. Development on these parcels has been stalled since 1989.
Aldermanic leadership is expected to take a closer look at that project at a meeting on Oct. 26, after which it will be sent to a committee where the public will get a chance to talk.
There already is some pushback on the proposed labs and offices, as well as the limited number of affordable housing units. The first group to hear it said their concerns were around housing and jobs for New Haven residents. Others said it fails to meet the criteria of a transit-oriented development.
Salvatore, before the Novella was approved, had extensive talks with the Chapel West neighborhood, which objected to parts of his original plans in what was a parking lot at Chapel and Howe streets.
Eventually, Salvatore agreed to move a 19th century home to a new location. He also is renovating two multi-family homes behind the new apartment complex on Dwight Street.
The Novella was the first project by RMS Cos. in New Haven, which is well known in Fairfield County.
“You have treated us fairly, objectively and created a business-friendly environment that makes a developer like myself eager to make continued investments in this great city of New Haven,” Salvatore said.
He thanked Alder Frank Douglass, D-2, and the Chapel West Association for their guidance through the approval process.
“You certainly did not bend on your vision for this site,” Salvatore said, picking up on Douglass’ references to their back-and-forth on the details over 18 months.
He said Douglass’ representation of his constituents remained “steadfast. You were at all times fair with us and certainly up front with me as to what you were looking for. … I’m convinced now more than ever … that we collectively built a much better project as a result of this collaborative process we went through.”
“Collaboration started off a little bumpy at first,” but then got resolved, Douglass said. He said it will be important for the neighborhood to have its input in the Hill, as well.
The Novella has studios; junior studios; one-bedrooms and two-bedroom apartments and offers amenities such as a cinema-style movie theater, a rooftop sun terrace with grilling stations and an indoor lounge for tenants.
Salvatore said they are now some 40 percent leased and tenant growth has been steady.
Gary Sessions, a New Haven resident who was hired as the leasing agent, led Mayor Toni Harp on a tour of the apartments and made his best pitch, showing her how a bed in the junior studio lifts up and converts to a desk.
“How cool is that,” Harp said.
He then took her to the rooftop terrace. “I know you are going to enjoy this,” Sessions said.
“Well, I haven’t been disappointed yet,” the mayor responded.
Harp said the housing indicates that New Haven “is at the hub of a vital region … people want to live here.”
Nemerson said the apartments, with its amenities, can compete with anything a tenant could get from Baltimore to Boston for a better price.
“This is the hottest city in Southern New England,” Nemerson said.
DANBURY — A Stamford-based developer who has already invested more than $100 million into the Danbury area has proposed a new boutique hotel on the city’s west side.
The hotel would be the same concept as the Hotel Zero Degrees brand that RMS Cos. have developed in both Stamford and Norwalk, according to Randy Salvatore, the company’s founder.
“There are a lot of great things going on in the Danbury area right now,” said Salvatore, who also recently completed Copper Square, a luxury housing complex on Stony Hill in Bethel that includes more than 130 townhouses and duplex units.
“There has been a lot of corporate activity in that area,” Salvatore said. “The city is located just over the New York border and its a very attractive option for people.”
According to plans filed with the city, the hotel will include 111 rooms, a 100-seat restaurant and a 120-seat banquet facility. Officials said the developer is considering rooftop dining at the hotel.
“We met with them initially about the hotel project last fall and I’m glad to see that they are moving forward with it,” Boughton said. “It’s low impact and a good use of that site.”
Stephen Bull, president of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, said the hotel should be extremely well received in the area, particularly given the amount of corporate activity including the new Belimo building and Praxair’s recent announcement that they plan to build a new $65 million world headquarters in the city.
“When a senior executive comes to Danbury from Switzerland they will demand a certain level of services in the area,” Bull said. “Because of our very diverse business base in the city we all need diverse amenities to meet their needs.”
Bull said that he’s visited Zero Degrees in Norwalk in the past and was impressed with the facility.
“It was absolutely gorgeous,” he said. “If Stamford has these kind of facilities to service their corporate clients then we need to have them in Danbury, too.”
The investment that RMS is making in the area, he added, likely won’t go unnoticed.
“If an institutional investor like RMS is willing to put that kind of money into our community, it’s a signal to other investors that something is going on here they need to pay attention to,” he said. “Money follows money.”
firstname.lastname@example.org; 203-731-3358; www.twitter.com/DirkPerrefort
More people can now call Downtown Stamford Home. After almost a year of construction, the opening of The Moderne, a new apartment building at 163 Franklin Street, was celebrated by a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.
The 58-unit complex has a lot to offer its residents.
“The unit finishes are hardwood floors, have granite countertops,” says Randy Salvatore, Owner of RMS Companies. “And the amenities we have a movie theatre, we have an exercise room, we have a great rooftop lounge, we have a great rooftop lounge, we have a cappuccino bar on the first floor so we tried to create almost like a hotel feeling here.”
Salvatore says The Moderne officially opened its doors to tenants on September 1 and has been well received.
“We have 31 of the 58 units rented, so over 50 percent in about four weeks,” he says.
And of course, location is key.
“Tenants today; they want everything at their fingertips, they want to be able to walk out after they come home from a long day and be able to walk down and get a casual dinner, or get a cup of coffee on the weekend, or to go see a movie and so the downtown provides all of those different experiences.”
Downtown plans: Developers seek to convert old business structures to apartments
STAMFORD — As part as an ongoing redevelopment trend in Stamford, two obsolete office buildings downtown may find new life as housing complexes.
The city’s Zoning Board is reviewing two separate applications that, if approved, would create a total of 37 residential units in two former office spaces.
Mario Lodato, a downtown commercial property owner, is seeking to redevelop a five-story, 27,000-square-foot building at 460 Summer St. into 21 residential units.
Both projects were presented during a public hearing last week at the Government Center.
Over the years, smaller, aging Class B and C office buildings have struggled to find tenants, making their transformation into residences viewed as smart adaptive reuses.
According to the city’s land use bureau, the pace of such projects has picked up over the past six years. Since 2005, there have been at least six office-to-residential conversions in the downtown.
Salvatore is set to purchase the building at 1200 Bedford St. next week for an undisclosed sum. He estimated the cost of redevelopment as roughly $4 million. “We’re keeping the shell, but it’s basically going to be a new building,” he said.
In the right setting, conversions can be attractive, cost-efficient investments.
“Typically a lot of the older buildings are located in good areas,” Salvatore said. “They were very well built but now are tired and the uses that are there are not suited to the market.”
Beginning in 1994, the city began amending zoning rules to loosen density restrictions and reduce affordable housing requirements for conversion projects. Rather than the usual 10 percent, only 6 percent of units must be below-market rate housing.
“It seems to be right on the market,” said Norman Cole, the city’s principal planner and acting land use bureau chief. “There’s a lot of property out there that wants to be converted.”
Staff Writer Elizabeth Kim can be reached at email@example.com or 203-964-2265.
Norwalk Daily Voice
Randy Salvatore, founder and president of Stamford-based RMS Companies , will receive the 2011 Real Estate Award at the 16th annual March of Dimes Fairfield County Real Estate Award Breakfast on Thursday, Dec. 8. Seven hundred industry professionals are expected to attend the event at The Hilton Stamford.
The Real Estate Award Breakfast honors an outstanding individual and/or company whose commercial real estate activities have significantly enhanced the local community.
RMS Companies is a full service real estate construction and development firm. Salvatore has been recognized as the 2010 Developer of the Year by the Fairfield and Westchester County Chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAOIP), 2007 Builder of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Homebuilders and as one of Fairfield County Business Journals 2006 40 under 40 recipients. Projects developed by the RMS Companies have received more than ten Home Builders Association of Connecticut, Inc . (HOBI) awards for construction excellence within the last eight years.
Recent projects include the blvd, an award-winning 94-unit luxury apartment building in downtown Stamford, Hotel Zero Degrees , a 97-room urban chic boutique hotel and the Village at Rivers Edge, a 170 unit townhouse development.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.