A new P&Z application for a development would replace the former Honda dealership, as well as a residential house and a commercial building on Greenwich Avenue, with multi-story apartment buildings.
The proposal mentions the inclusion of retail space on the first floor level.
As for Honda they have relocated to Stamford and today there are temporary pop-up stores in the empty buildings on both sides of Mason Street.
The application describes a development with buildings straddling Mason Street – one with 6 stories and one with 5.
A total of 155 parking spaces would be provided for commercial and residential uses.
The narrative says an initial design was for a 7 story building on the east side of Mason Street and a 5 story building on the west side, for a total of 92 units (28 of set aside as affordable under SMI), but that after working with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund board, the taller building on the east side of Mason Street was reduced by one story for a total of 94 units.
Of the 94 units, 38 of them – or 40% – would be set aside under the Area Median Income AMI requirements, which are higher than State Median Income SMI.
“This would be an assisted housing project with the support through a loan from the Greenwich affordable Housing Trust Fund,” the applicant says in a narrative signed by attorney Tom Heagney.
With help from the trust, the proposal is for government assisted housing, which is one type of 8-30g. The other type is a ‘set aside.’
Separate but Equal?
The applicant seeks to locate all the assisted units in the 5 story building.
They would then put all the market rate units on the other side, in the 6 story building.
Separating the government assisted units might raise questions about equal treatment.
Back in April 2022, during P&Z discussions about a proposed 7 story 8-30g on Church and Sherwood (since withdrawn), the topic of equal treatment came up. The proposed development had numerous amenities, and P&Z chair Margarita Alban was concerned about a possible series of tenant fees for basic services that might make the units unaffordable.
Back in 2021 a proposal to transform the Honda dealership properties into 30 units of market rate housing may now seem quaint.
At the time there was a moratorium on 6-110 workforce housing, but the applicant sought to submit under that town regulation.
A rendering at the time was of a building designed to fit within the scale of the surrounding buildings, with four interconnected, gabled forms – architecture inspired by American Shingle Style. On the other side of Mason Street, where today’s applicant proposes a 5 story building with all the assisted units, they proposed to create a park, which would have bumped up their FAR for the 30-unit building.
The applicant noted the location was walkable and pedestrian-friendly, ideally located close to Greenwich Avenue and the train station, which remains true today.
At a March 2021 P&Z meeting, Rick Margenot, whose family owned the property for decades, shared a bit of its history noting that at one point it was a dealer for Studebaker cars.
P&Z commission feedback concerned removal of trees and ledge rock, as well as FAR. Ultimately that application was not pursued with P&Z.
Under the state affordable housing statute, 8-30g, developers are exempt from local zoning except in rare cases of health and safety.
The application is not yet scheduled for a P&Z public meeting, though the Nov 28 meeting agenda tentatively features several major proposals including 1 American Lane, 9 Glenville Street, 8-30g on King Street at Greenwich Woods, Hamill Rink and a new restaurant at Pickwick Plaza.
*NOTE: An attorney for the applicant contacted GFP Monday evening to say that the purchase price for all properties totaled about $21 million because it included 294 Mason Street