Honda Dealership on Mason Street May Be Replaced with Residential Development with Workforce Housing

A pre-application has been submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission to redevelop the Honda dealership, which has a sales and service use in the business zone, with residential housing at 290-294 Mason St and 275-321 Mason St pursuant to Section 6-110.

Currently there is a moratorium on the Town’s 6-110 regulation which relates to “moderate” income housing, also referred to as “workforce housing” (e.g. for teachers, police, firefighters)

P&Z may extend the time of the current moratorium for three months. PLPZ 202100041 is a text amendment to invoke a moratorium from 6-110(g) –use of incentives to promote moderate income dwelling units.

The pre application notes the redevelopment would be consistent with the goals of the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD). And dwelling units are permitted in the CGB zone (Central Greenwich Business).

Rendering of proposed 30 unit residential development on Mason Street.
Existing Honda dealership on Mason Street.

The applicants are Greenwich Capital Properties Group LLC, Orchard Place Associates LLC, and Bruce Park Associates LLC, who own the property.

The file indicates the east side of Mason Street the site consists of a 48,221-square foot parcel.

The west side consists of a 10,284 square foot parcel and a 5,499-square foot parcel, the latter of which extends to Greenwich Avenue.

Automotive uses have existed on portions of the Mason Street properties since the early 20th century.

Greenwich Honda has operated its sales and service in several one-story buildings on the property since 1995.

The applicant believes that the Mason Street portions of the property are uniquely positioned to be redeveloped with housing in a walkable, pedestrian-friendly setting proximate to Greenwich Avenue, consistent with the POCD and the objectives of the Town’s Building Zone Regulations Section 6-110.

According to a letter from Matthew N. Steinberg, AICP of Divney Tung Schwalbe LLP, initial planning studies considered residential buildings on both the east and west sides of Mason Street.

Steinberg was formerly a staff planner for the Town of Greenwich.

“It quickly became apparent, however, that locating all residential units within one building on the larger east parcel would be more efficient, would reduce curb cuts and simplify traffic circulation on Mason Street, and would leave the smaller west parcel, directly proximate to Greenwich Avenue, for potential use as publicly-accessible open space,” Steinberg wrote in the letter.

The proposed redevelopment would create a new four-story residential building along the eastern portion of Mason Street.

The building would contain approximately 30 apartments and associated amenity spaces.

By constructing the building into the hill at the rear of the site, the proposed project would conceal the parking below a large, landscaped deck.

To fit within the scale of the surrounding buildings, the design consists of four interconnected, gabled forms. The building architecture is inspired by American Shingle Style, clad in traditional materials.

Steinberg wrote that the applicant has been attending and participating in the Commission’s workshops on the proposed amendments to Section 6-110 of the Zoning Regulations.

Proposed 1.0 FAR, four stories and 48 feet high

“If the Town’s intent is to encourage the redevelopment of high-value CGB-zoned properties from commercial to residential use, the applicant strongly believes that incentives in those zones proximate to downtown Greenwich, where existing infrastructure, retail and restaurants can support and be supported by new close-in residents, should permit an FAR of 1.0 or more and building heights of at least four stories and 48 feet,” Steinberg wrote.

He said the proposal was designed to be consistent with the POCD and support the vibrancy of downtown as a desirable place and destination.

“Should the permitted FAR and/or height be reduced below the current Section 6-110 limits, a residential proposal such as illustrated herein would not be feasible,” Steinberg’s letter said.

(1) Orchard Place Associates LLC (registered to Richard J. Margenot) is the owner of 290 Mason Street (01-2123/S) and 275-321 Mason Street.

Bruce Park Associates LLC (also registered to Richard J. Margenot) is owner of 294 Mason Street.

(2) Orchard Place Associates LLC is also the owner of 405 Greenwich Avenue, which is located in the CGBR zone. The existing building, which would remain, consists of a two-story commercial structure with an existing art gallery use on two levels.

The pre applicaiton is not yet scheduled for a Planning & Zoning meeting agenda.

Back in 2017 there was a proposal to move the Honda dealership to a newly constructed facility in Stamford and locate the Acura dealership to Mason Street.

The property owner and Acura sought to to demolish a portion of the front of the Honda sales building and add a curb cut to create a drive-through from Bruce Park Ave, but the commission balked at the curb cut.

See also:

Mason Street Car Dealers Seek Controversial Curb Cut on Bruce Park Ave in Reshuffle of Honda to Acura

January 2017