The planned 128-unit apartment complex at the former Keating Ford property is going to be pricey for the developers and the renters, but the company is banking on it being worthwhile for both sides.
Representatives from Forest City, the publicly-traded company behind the development, were at on Thursday to share details about the project before it's heard by Stratford's planning and zoning commissions on Nov. 30.
Here are the answers to the paraphrased questions posed by the crowd of about 50.
The plan has yet to be formally submitted, but there is a proposed 33 studios, 62 one-bedrooms and 33 two-bedroom apartments renting from $1200 to $1650. The project itself is estimated to cost $15 to $20 million, and if all goes according to plan, construction could begin summer 2012 and finish by September 2013.
Would the apartments create traffic jams on adjacent roads?
Abe Naparstek, vice president of Forest City, said the separate entrances on Stratford Avenue and Main Street will alleviate the traffic, and that studies are ongoing to determine whether a light or other measures are needed. Ultimately, he said, it's up to the state to approve their plan since the two roads are state-owned.
"We're going to study all the car and traffic volumes and then study the demand and ... then we'll see if we'll need to do any improvements," he said.
Will you just build the property and then sell it several years down the road?
"Our goal is to build something that we will own for many generations," Naparstek said. "When you're building something that will last 30, 40, 50 years you build it with different care ... we want to be a partner in this community. We're not going to build this and sell it.”
Will you use local labor and resources?
Naparstek said they'll find a regional builder from this "market" to draw upon resources in the area, and he sees a similar situation playing out in Stratford that happened when they built in New Haven.
"On that project, about 25 percent of the labor is coming from New Haven and about 75 percent of the labor is coming from the region," Naparstek said. He added that the ratio of local workers depends on the availability of qualified workers.
The intersection of Stratford Avenue and Main Street is noisy and had some recent robberies. How are you going to get these people to pay the rent you're looking for?
"The types of people we attract to our development would not be scared off by those things. I don't see them exacerbating the situation," Naparstek said. "I think it only improves it. The best thing you can when you have an unsafe condition is add people to it that are productive members of society.”
How much parking will be available?
Forest City plans for 180 parking spots -- one for every bedroom and a ten percent surplus for guests.
What do you think of the proposal? Would the development benefit Stratford?