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Yale group looking long-term at Fort Trumbull

New London - The city has invited a group of urban designers to come here and help with a plan for future development in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood.

Alan Plattus, associate dean and professor at Yale School of Architecture, met with city officials and some residents in February to talk about the workshop working on a long-term plan for Fort Trumbull.

Plattus proposed a three-phase plan that would include reviewing current proposals, stakeholder meetings, site documentation and analysis; developing schematic urban design options; and preparing plans and renderings of a concept for the area. The entire project would cost $37,500.

The council's economic development committee approved the idea April 12, and the full council decided late Monday night to go forward and work with Plattus and his architecture students.

The vote was 5-0. Councilor Wade Hyslop did not attend the meeting and Councilor Michael Buscetto left before the vote.

The council also decided to exempt 6.5 acres in the Fort Trumbull Development area where the Westport-based Stillman Organization has proposed building 80 rental townhouses.

The Yale work is expected to take about three months.

Doing the work will be a faculty project director, a senior project manager and a graduate student project staff member. All would be working part-time.

Ten years ago the city undertook a multimillion redevelopment project, almost entirely funded by the state, to clear the Fort Trumbull peninsula to make way for new development that would bring jobs and tax revenue to the city.

The New London Development Corp., a quasi-public group that spearheaded the project, eventually decided to use eminent domain after several homeowners balked at moving. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the city's use of eminent domain.

The city took properties and demolished houses and other buildings to make way for a development of homes and a conference center/hotel. But no new construction has taken place at Fort Trumbull. A renovated existing office building is the only structure on the land.

The housing project proposed by the Stillmans earlier this year is the first new building proposal since 2008, when Corcoran Jennison of Boston lost its preferred-developer status to build a hotel/conference center and housing.

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