Gateway's second residential phase to go before Inland Wetlands Agency

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East Lyme — Plans for the second phase of the Gateway Commons residential development — 120 additional rental units — will go before the town's Inland Wetlands Agency in September.

The first phase of the residential development, with 280 apartments in 10 buildings, is 97 percent occupied, said Newton C. Brainard, vice president of development and acquisition for The Simon Konover Co. of West Hartford. Simon Konover and KGI Properties of Providence are developing the Gateway Commons site, with rental units near Interstate 95's Exit 73 and a proposed commercial area, with a Costco slated to break ground in September, near Exit 74.

The Zoning Commission approved in 2008 a master development plan for Gateway Commons and granted the developers in 2015 a revision to allow a total of 400 residential units. 

"Our master development plan allows for 400, and I think the performance of phase I of the 280 has been such that we believe that adding another 120 of a slightly different product will be a benefit to the town and to us," Brainard said in a phone interview on Monday. "We think the market is very strong right now and will continue to be strong."

The plan for this second residential phase of Gateway Commons, roughly to the southeast of the existing residential development, calls for five 12-unit buildings called "manor homes"; 60 townhome-style units, clustered in pods of six or eight units; and a clubhouse with a fitness center and pool.

The "manor homes" are two-story buildings with four apartments and 12 garages on the first floor and eight apartments on the second floor, Brainard said. The plan is for 10 approximately 900-square-foot, one-bedroom flats and 50 approximately 1,150-square-foot, two-bedroom flats. Each apartment will have its own entryway and a direct-entry garage.

The townhome-style units will be two floors and approximately 1,700-square feet, with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, he said. Each unit will have its own front door and an attached garage.

Brainard said he thinks the product will particularly appeal to the age 50 and up demographic, who may not want to own a home but still would like a living space with their own front door and garage.   

Many of the people already living at Gateway are millennials, and many others, particularly in the three-bedroom units, are in the age 50 or older demographic, Brainard said.

The plan for the additional 120-units includes extending East Society Road about a quarter of a mile, which would entail crossing a wetlands, he said.

The developers and their experts plan to present permits for that crossing from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection at the planned Inland Wetlands Agency hearing. The developer's application includes a stormwater management report and a report from a soil scientist.

An Inland Wetlands Agency public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at Town Hall. A site walk of the property is planned for 9 a.m. Sept. 15. Agendas for the meetings will be posted closer to the date.

The agenda for the site walk will include the location for participants to meet but site walks typically begin at Town Hall, according to the town's land use office.

If the developers receive approval from the Inland Wetlands Agency, they anticipate the next step would be to go before the Zoning Commission for final site plan approval, Brainard said. If they receive all the approvals required to move forward, they anticipate breaking ground on the additional 120 units in the first quarter of 2019, he said.


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