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New London - The city has granted Klewin Development LLC prime developer status for an empty lot at the corner of Bank and Howard streets, and the developer hopes to build about 30,000 square feet of retail space on the city-owned property.
"We're excited to be selected for prime development status,'' Kyle Klewin, co-owner of Klewin Development, said Monday.
He called the 3.23-acre lot, which has been vacant for 40 years, "probably the best site in New London."
The company is talking to potential tenants, Klewin said, but the project is in its beginning stages. Proposals will be presented to residents, he said.
"We want input from the mayor and community and all of New London on the development to find the best mix,'' he said.
"It'll be a collaborative process. That's important."
On Friday, Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said the company was granted prime developer status to build on the property and would begin searching for tenants.
"There are multiple different options, but in order for the developer to approach retailers they need the designation to show the city is willing to work with them,'' Finizio said.
With news that the National Coast Guard Museum may be built in New London and the potential start of residential construction in Fort Trumbull, Klewin said "exciting things are happening in New London."
Klewin is partnering with Simon Konover Development Corp. of West Hartford, and Sheldon Oak Central of Hartford, a nonprofit that develops housing and commercial properties to sustain community economic growth.
The property, which is referred to as Parcel J, has been vacant since the New London Redevelopment Agency bought the land about 40 years ago as part of the 1973 Shaw's Cove Urban Renewal Plan. Over the years proposals have included residential and commercial development and a hotel.
In 2008, the City Council disbanded the 50-year-old Redevelopment Agency. Any plans for the property must be approved by the City Council, as well as other city land-use agencies.
Klewin Development is a subsidiary of Klewin Construction with offices in Connecticut, Florida, Arizona, California and Georgia. Klewin has worked on many private and public projects in the region over the years, including Foxwoods Resort Casino, Dodd Stadium in Norwich, and the marine science center at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus in Groton. The company also renovated the Garde Arts Center.