192-Unit Affordable Housing Development Would Raze Restaurant, Historic Houses

On Friday afternoon a public relations firm sent a press release with some details about a pre-application for a massive 192 unit 8-30g affordable housing development on Church Street, Sherwood Place, and Putnam Court.

(See: Pre-Application Submitted to Greenwich P&Z for 192-Unit 8-30g Development on Church Street in Downtown)

The applicants are Eagle Ventures, which was founded in 2010 by Greenwich native James P. Cabrera, and SJP Properties.

On Tuesday, the pre-application was made public by Planning & Zoning.

1 Putnam Court.

The development would have 30% of units offered as “Affordable” as defined by the State of Connecticut’s affordable housing statute 8-30g.

The statute exempts developments from local zoning regulations with the exception of health and safety concerns, for which the bar is set high.

The attorney for the applicant is Chip Haslun of Johnson, Haslun & Hogeman, LLP, who operate out of 21 Sherwood Place, across the street from the back of the development.

On Friday, Sept 10, 2021 Haslun wrote to P&Z saying the applicant would seek to present their pre-application at the next available hearing date (potentially Sept 28 per the meeting calendar).

Haslun wrote that the proposed development would be on about 2 acres of consolidated property, currently occupied by Townhouse Restaurant, medical offices, a spa, a dance studio and several multi family and single family structures in the CGB, CGBR and R-6 zones.

Properties to Be Demolished – All sold to Church Sherwood LLC, James P Cabrera, principal, for $0 consideration

Numerous buildings, mostly historic houses, would be subject to the wrecking ball:

39 Church Street (1884) sold from Sherwood Plaza Realty LLC (principal is Danny Gabriele) to Sherwood Church LLC in 2014, then from Sherwood Church LLC to Cabrera’s Church Sherwood in 2016

43 Church Street (1889) sold from Daniel Gabriele to Sherwood Plaza Realty LLC (principal Danny Gabriele) in 2014, then to Sherwood Church LLC in 2016 and to Cabrera’s Church Sherwood LLC for $0 consideration

47 Church Street (1899) sold from Danny Gabriele in 2013 to Sherwood Plaza Realty LLC, Danny Gabriele principal, to Sherwood Church LLC and then to Cabrera’s Church Sherwood LLC for $0 consideration

35 Church Street (1940) home to Townhouse Restaurant sold in 2016 from Lucas Steakhouse Inc to Cabrera’s Church Sherwood LLC for $0 consideration

32 Sherwood Place (1915) sold from Luca and Eugenia Gabriele to Sherwood Plaza Realty LLC, then to Sherwood Church LLC, then to Cabrera’s Church Sherwood LLC for $0 consideration

36 Sherwood Place (1970) (home to Dance Adventure) sold from Luca and Eugenia Gabriele to Sherwood Plaza Realty LLC, then to Sherwood Church LLC, then to Cabrera’s Church Sherwood LLC for $0 consideration

42 Sherwood Place (1972) home to Children’s Medical Group, sold from Luca and Eugenia Gabriele to Sherwood Plaza Realty LLC, then to Sherwood Church LLC, then to Cabrera’s Church Sherwood LLC for $0 consideration

1 Putnam Court (1908) sold from Sherwood Church LLC to Church Sherwood LLC in 2016 for $0 consideration

2 Putnam Court (1908) 2 & 3 Putnam Court LLC to Sherwood Church LLC in 2014, then to Church Sherwood LLC for $0 consideration

3 Putnam Court (1908) 2 & 3 Putnam Court LLC to Sherwood Church LLC in 2014 then to Church Sherwood LLC in 2016 for $0 consideration

4 Putnam Court (paving) sold from Sherwood Plaza Realty LLC to Sherwood Church LLC in 2014, then to Church Sherwood LLC in 2016 for $0 consideration

“The intent is to create a contextual architectural design that will blend with the adjacent Fourth Ward neighborhood…” Haslun wrote in his letter.

Per the Greenwich Historical Society, the Fourth Ward, began in 1836 as one of only two centrally-located urban subdivisions in town that pre-dated the coming of the railroad in 1848.

“In contrast to the summer homes of wealthy New Yorkers on the Post Road, the concentration of predominantly Irish families who settled this area earned it the nickname ‘Fourth Ward’ after the working–class immigrant neighborhood in lower Manhattan. In 1860 immigrants built the town’s first Roman Catholic church, St. Mary Church, on William Street (demolished c.1910). By 1900 over twenty multi-family dwellings solidified the area’s working-class image, and ten percent of the neighborhood was home to African Americans. Working primarily as laborers, laundresses or chauffeurs, they enlarged a house on Northfield Street into the First Baptist Church, one of only two African American churches in Greenwich that still stand today. By 1929 development stalled until 1955 when the first commercial buildings were built, signaling the redevelopment that has continued to this day.”

Haslun’s letter said the development was responsive to the 2019 POCD “in that it would be an ‘infill’ development on underutilized land, would add diversity to the housing stock and would considerably increase the number of affordable dwelling units in Greenwich.”

The location is near public transportation, Greenwich Ave, YMCA, YWCA houses of worship, Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich Library, schools and parks.

The area is also served by public water, sewer and gas.

The total sq footage of the apartment building is 62,330.

It is proposed to be 7 stories, 84 ft high.

192 units as follows:
• 40 one bedroom units
• 31 one bedroom + plus den
• 86 two bedroom units
• 35 three bedroom units

Parking
• 234 spaces
• Includes 7 accessible spaces

39 Church Street
47, 43 and 39 Church Street
Townhouse Restaurant view from rear on Putnam Court.
2 Putnam Court.
3 Putnam Court.
32 Sherwood Place
42 Sherwood Place
36 Sherwood Place
Ground floor plan.
Floor plan: 4th through 7th floors

Note to readers: This is a pre-application, and has yet to be scheduled for a meeting agenda, so P&Z commission and town planner are unable to answer questions at this time.

The time to comment or ask questions is if and when the application is scheduled for a public P&Z meeting. The idea of a pre-application is to dedicate about 20 minutes to the item during a P&Z meeting so the applicant gets enough feedback to determine whether to pursue an application. javascript:window[“$iceContent”]

Per CT Gen Stat § 7-159b (2013) pre-applications are non binding.They may not be appealed under any provision of the general statutes, and shall not be binding on the applicant or any authority, commission, department, agency or other official having jurisdiction to review the proposed project.

47 Church Street. Photo: Greenwich Assessor’s office
Left to right: 47 Church (white with mansard roof), 43 Church (blue) and 39 Church Street (white). Sept 10, 2021 Photo: Leslie Yager
Rear of 39 Church, 43 Church and 47 Church Street. Photo: Leslie Yager

32 Sherwood Place

36 Sherwood Place

42 Sherwood Place

1 Putnam Court

2 Putnam Court

3 Putnam Court

4 Putnam Court