RCDA sends proposal for Fort Trumbull development to City Council

New London — The Renaissance City Development Association’s executive board on Tuesday morning unanimously approved a resolution to present to a City Council committee a Pennsylvania company’s plan for a 104-unit, $18.4 million residential development in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood.

The proposal, submitted earlier this month by A.R. Building Co., calls for an 80-unit “urban living” apartment building, two 12-unit townhouse buildings with integrated parking garages, a clubhouse with common areas and a fitness room, and an outdoor pool.

The development would be situated on the same RCDA-owned parcels that were to be the site of the 103-unit Village on the Thames townhouse-style development, which was first proposed in 2009 but fell apart just days before a planned groundbreaking in 2013. It would be located on roughly 4 acres of land split among parcels 2A, 2B and 2C and would have water views overlooking Coast Guard Station New London and Fort Trumbull State Park. The entire project is on land that was once the Naval Undersea Warfare Center site.

A.R. Building is also requesting first right of refusal to parcel 3B, which the company hopes could be a site of a second project phase consisting of an additional 80 units.

“What attracted us was the growth of New London, the direction the whole city is going in. It’s a dynamic city, and we really wanted to be a part of it,” Jason Kambitsis, A.R. Building’s director of land development, said Friday. “We want to play a major role in the development of Fort Trumbull.”

If the City Council concurs that the A.R. Building development is worth pursuing, the RCDA could enter into exclusive negotiations with the company to reach a development agreement.

In 2000, the City Council approved a Municipal Development Plan for Fort Trumbull produced by the New London Development Corp., predecessor of the RCDA. Under the plan, nearly all the buildings in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood were leveled to make way for new multiuse developments.

Some properties were taken by eminent domain and some of the owners fought the takings, which sparked a legal debate that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2005, the court ruled in Kelo v. City of New London that the city had the right to use eminent domain powers to take property for the city’s economic development purposes.

The only development in Fort Trumbull since 2000, when the development plan was approved, is an 88,000-square-foot office building, which was refurbished in 2005 by the Boston development firm Corcoran Jennison. It had previously been part of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, which was moved to Newport, R.I.

c.young@theday.com

Twitter: @ColinAYoung

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