The South End of Stamford, Connecticut: Master Plan with Luxury Rentals and Lots of Pets

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In the past 13 years, the South End of Stamford, Connecticut, a 322-acre peninsula on Long Island Sound, has gained more than 4,000 new rentals, most of them in fancy high-rise buildings. The apartments are part of a mixed-use master plan called Harbor Point and have helped bring new energy to an area that used to be littered with decaying industrial sites and fallow land.

Aakash Patel, 27, moved from his 400-square-foot Manhattan studio to a one-room apartment in Harbor Point’s newest apartment building, Opus, last September. Mr Patel, the vice president of a venture capital company, said he was looking for a bigger apartment in New York but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the price since he works from home several days a week.

“I also saw that many of my friends who were in town before did not withdraw,” he said. “It turned out that there wasn’t that much social or professional benefit for me in being in Manhattan.”

Mr. Patel pays about $ 4,200 a month for a corner apartment with a view of the Sound. While it’s not cheap, he said, similar views and amenities, including a concierge and spa, are out of reach in Manhattan at the price. “Stamford felt like a good first step with its proximity to town and Harbor Point, given the concentration of commuters,” he said.

Par Shakiban, 78, chose Harbor Point as a convenient place to downsize from his Bedford, NY home. He already had a deep connection with the South End as he ran the Italian restaurant Eclisse there for 26 years until it closed in 2016. He still operates European-style cafes called Patisserie Salzburg in Rye, NY and New Canaan, Connecticut, as well as his newest location at Harbor Point.

He and his partner have lived in their two-bedroom apartment on the Beacon for about four years. Harbor Point is definitely just a “stopover” for some renters, but “we have a lot of people making Harbor Point their home,” said Shakiban. “It’s a great area to live and the accommodations are top notch.”

But the ongoing redesign of the South End by property developer Building and Land Technology has also shaken up some longtime residents who live in the humble apartment buildings around Harbor Point. Years of seemingly uninterrupted construction – with the associated dust and noise – and the creation of one luxury high-rise building after another feels like a takeover for some.

Building and Land has done most of the development in the area, including building or renovating 14 apartment buildings and more than 2 million square feet of office space. Another apartment building with 180 units is under construction.

“It’s not the same neighborhood feeling as it was when I first visited,” says Marlene Rhome, who owns a two-family home and has lived in the South End for 43 years. “Don’t get me wrong – it’s good that you developed something. It was mornings and mornings that were empty. But now it’s so far that it’s just ridiculous. “

She and a few other residents are trying to get city approval from a local historic district commission to protect the historic structures in the area.

Just below Interstate 95 and Stamford Rail Station, the South End is a jumble of converted factory buildings, bodegas, early 20th century apartment buildings, new residential towers, small restaurants, and small parks. Formerly cut off from the rest of Stamford, the neighborhood is now better connected to downtown, where development has shifted south, while construction in the South End has shifted north, said Ted Ferrarone, co-president of Building and Land Technology .

The development boom has expanded the population considerably over the past ten years to an estimated 7,500 people. Corporations are moving in too – Charter Communications, the provider of spectrum Internet and cable services, recently opened a new headquarters on Washington Boulevard near the train station.

Another addition is a glass and brick building on the east bank of the peninsula. The 133,000-square-foot waterfront building called The Village is anchored by Wheelhouse, a media, marketing and investment platform founded in 2018 by entrepreneur Brent Montgomery. On the ground floor there is a full service restaurant and Cisco Brewers in Nantucket has a beer garden during the summer months.

Rob Lia, President and General Counsel of Wheelhouse, said the company was counting on the building’s interior design and decor with industrial flair to attract some of the local talent currently headed to New York.

Newer small businesses in the South End include Third Place, a renovated factory space on Pacific Street that gives people space to work and have coffee, gather over craft beer, or hold private events. The owners of Half Full Brewery in the Waterside section of Stamford came up with the concept also to create a sense of community, said Conor Horrigan, the brewery’s founder.

Harbor Point rents averaged $ 1,974 for a studio; $ 2,568 for a one bedroom; $ 3,699 for a two bedroom; $ 5,905 for a three bedroom; and $ 27,500 for a four-bedroom penthouse, according to information from Building and Land Technology.

The stock of multi-family houses and condominiums is very limited – at the beginning of January there were none on the market. The average retail price for the six apartment buildings sold in the past two years was $ 522,500, according to Aida Pedroza, a realtor with William Pitt Sotheby’s. Last year, four condos were sold at an average price of $ 341,875.

ONE Condominium with 23 units Washington Boulevard, currently under construction, will be home to households with or below 50 percent of the median income in the area. (For a household of four, the income limit is $ 75,900.) The project involves the restoration of a historic three-family Victorian farmhouse. Sixteen units are already reserved, priced between $ 240,000 and $ 310,000, said Joan Carty, director of nonprofit property developer Housing Development Fund.

Since most of Harbor Point’s buildings are pet-friendly, dogs are almost as numerous as people on the sidewalks and waterfront. Commons Park, in the middle of Harbor Point, has a dog park, a playground and a coffee kiosk.

In summer, the waterfront is teeming with boaters, programmed events and water taxi services. The Ponus Yacht Club has a clubhouse for dining and a deck on the water.

At the foot of the peninsula, Kosciuszko Park offers a circular hiking trail, ball fields and a playground.

Harbor Point can “feel like a bubble at times,” as the areas around it “have been less loved,” said Patel.

Students in the South End attend Springfield Elementary from kindergarten through fifth grade; Dolan Middle for sixth through eighth grades and Stamford High School. The SAT scores for the 2018-19 grade (the latest data available from the state) averaged 492 in evidence-based reading and writing and 484 in math, compared to federal averages of 514 and 500, respectively.

The Academy of Information Technology and Engineering is a cross-district Magnet High School in Stamford. Admission is based on an application and lottery system.

The independent one School by the water enrolls around 150 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Enrollment is limited to low-income students and tuition fees are covered by private donations, said David Olson, the school’s executive director. The admission rate is around 20 percent, and around 80 percent of current students are from Stamford.

“We work hard to be strong neighbors to the community,” said Olson. “Every day when school is over, the neighborhood children come by to use our soccer field. We try to share our resources. “

It takes about an hour to get to Grand Central Terminal on the New Haven Metro North Line from Stamford Station. A round-trip ticket costs $ 23 to $ 30.50, depending on the time of day, and a monthly pass costs $ 335.

The drive to Midtown Manhattan on Interstate 95 takes one to two hours, depending on traffic.

In 1892, George Blickensderfer, who lived in Stamford, was granted a patent for his design of a typewriter that was much more portable than the bulky machines of the time. His South End factory was reportedly one of the largest typewriter manufacturers in the United States ConnecticutHistory.org. In 2020, land and technology demolished some of the vacant factory listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently working on a redevelopment plan.

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