A new pre-application for the renovation of Greenwich Train Station and mixed-use block has been submitted to the town’s Planning & Zoning Commission.
Attorney Bruce Cohen submitted a narrative on behalf of Greenwich Plaza Inc, who own the 83,116 sq ft parcel on Railroad Ave between Greenwich Ave/Steamboat Rd and Arch Street by the train station and now shuttered movie theater.
Back in 2019 the applicant received preliminary site plan approval to redevelop the site including the adjacent property south of the train tracks.
The project was to be part of a public-private partnership that involved Greenwich Plaza purchasing from the town air rights over the office buildings at 2 Steamboat Rd.
The town and Greenwich Plaza were unable to reach an agreement on the air rights and the project was withdrawn.
Since then, Bowtie Cinemas, which was already struggling, permanently closed the theater during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the applicant’s narrative, the theater’s physical deficiencies worsened over the past two years.
The theater is over 50 years old, and its roof is in poor condition. The structure experienced significant water damage from Ida. The building sits unoccupied and might not be leasable without significant investment.
The applicant now has a conceptual plan that is less expensive, but provides several of the benefits proposed in 2019.
The proposal is to demolish the theater and in its place construct a new mixed-use space with a pedestrian plaza and access to the train platform.
Also, they seek to renovate and reface the remaining mixed-use building and improve the train station significantly.
The footprint of the existing structure to the west of the theater will stay the same (from Citibank to former Hopscotch space). So will the parking lot adjacent to Arch Street and the on-street spaces on Railroad Ave.
Highlights: New 3,800 sq ft Restaurant, Pocket Park, Bigger Waiting Room
• Corner of Railroad Ave and Steamboat Rd will have a 3,800 sq ft restaurant and small pocket park with green spaces and outdoor seating for the new restaurant.
• Access to train platform will have a new staircase for improved access. They will remove the unsightly refuse area.
• Renovate row of storefronts between the train station and former movie theater for new retail storefronts and tenants, to connect the active retail streetscape of Greenwich Ave to the train station.
• The train station itself will be refaced and renovated with new materials, lighting and signage. Inside the first floor entrance new materials and lighting will create a more open feel.
• On the second floor, the ticket booth will be removed, letting light in and allowing for a bigger waiting area.
• The elevator door will be reoriented allowing for a small retail space.
• On the west side of the train station, Citibank is expected to remain. There will be a mix of retail and office spaces on the existing footprint. The applicant believes that small office spaces will be desirable post-Covid.
• The back of house areas along the train tracks will feature a delivery corridor and discreetly store refuse for tenants.
• The surface parking lot with 36 spaces will remain as well as 32 parking spaces along Railroad Ave
• Along Arch Street, the buffer will be replanted
The site is already underparked by 100 spaces. That is considered an existing legal non-conformity the applicant proposes to maintain.
Specifically, there are 36 on-site parking spaces while 147 are required under today’s regulations.
Planet Pizza – 10 spaces; Olive Branch – 12 spaces; Retail space – 57 spaces; Personal Service (former Hopscotch) – 68 spaces. Parking for the train station is in commuter parking lots. Parking for the theater was at Greenwich Plaza.
The applicant seeks to be on the agenda at the earliest P&Z public meeting possible.
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