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Developers seek to transform former office spaces into housing
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-964-2265.