Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Taking the High and Long Road to Development


By Barbara Heimlich
Editor, Stratford Crier

Source: Jim Cabrera and Ted Lane from Point Stratford Renewal (PSR)

Point Stratford Renewal (PSR) was chosen as the preferred developer by the Army in November, 2013, and on April 4th the conveyance from the Army to Point Stratford Renewal was finally completed.  After 11 years, the federal, state, and local governments finally deeded over the 76.7 acre site.  PSR will be entering into multiple agreements to remediate the “upland property”, while the U.S. Army continues their remediation of the mudflats.

PSR is working on entering into an Environmental Service Cooperative Agreement (ESCA), which will allow them to manage the remediation of the tidal flats simultaneously with the upland property, in order to speed up the timeframe of the project.

Development of the property is a three-step process:

  • Abatement
  • Demolition
  • Remediation

PSR’s first step is to bring the waterfront property, which runs from the Stratford Lighthouse to Birdseye Dock, identified in “The Town of Stratford Coastal Community Resilience Plan” as ecologically prone to coastal flooding and the effects of sea level rise, into alignment with Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) currently predicted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and considered the minimum standard for flood protection regulations and insurance.

This requires raising the property elevation seven feet.  Clean Earth, a publicly traded company and one of the largest soil providers in the United States is expected to provide 1 million tons of CTDEEP / EPA approved fill in order to adhere to the Federal and State requirements for future site development.

Though not the first time Stratford residents had been told that work was going to begin on development of the former Army Engine Plant (which always seemed to be timed with upcoming mayoral elections) this time the announcement was viewed as having a solid team lined up to make this redevelopment happen!

Jim Cabrera and Ted Lane are the principals of Point Stratford Renewal (PSR) and have a collective seventy-five years of local real estate experience. The principals were responsible for the acquisition and land development of Harbor Point, a 80-acre brownfield site in Stamford. PSR purchased the property with a conveyance fee of $1.00 and have committed to the successful upland remediation of the property through a Stewardship Permit.

Ted Lane, Point Stratford Renewal, Rachel Jacobson Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations Energy and Environment, (unidentified man), Connecticut State Representative Rosa DeLauro, Mayor Laura Hoydick, Jim Cabrera, Point Stratford Renewal

Since the April announcement of the development of the Army Engine Plant naysayers and supporters have taken to social media, as well as becoming a topic of discussion in diners, restaurants, and pizza joints!  Speculation runs rampant about the development and the effect on the Town of Stratford.

And now we will point out the Long Road To Development!

The development of the facility, will be an enormous task, as the 76.7 acre site has 25 buildings, not including outdoor tanks, piping, etc.

“For a project of this scale and complexity to be successful, key stakeholder alignment and community involvement are critical. We look forward to working together going forward as our team advances the remediation of the site as well as working with the Town on the ultimate vertical development project.” Peter Cabrera, Eagle Ventures

This is the first time in the years that I have lived in Stratford that the town is moving forward, not remaining stagnant, or going backwards! 

Point Stratford Renewal, in conjunction with Federal, State and Town officials and their consulting team, will use best industry practices to manage the remediation project from a public health and safety standpoint.

The Good News:

  • The development for this project will bring what will in all likelihood be a boon to our restaurant and hospitability businesses with the influx of workers, engineers, DEEP, Stratford Zoning, and probably many lawyers.
  • They are starting the laborious development at the water line and working  towards Main Street, which they believe will lessen the impact of the eventual demolition of all 25 buildings.
  • Post-remediation, the development project will ultimately provide Stratford with significant incremental tax revenue as the property has been federally owned for decades with $0 tax revenue realized by the Town.

PSR has assembled a best in class team of consultants and contractors to execute the remediation of the property.  In addition to working with the Town of Stratford engineering, planning, zoning, etc. to obtain needed permits and approvals, they are working with:

NorthStar:  the market leader in facility demolition services.  Specializes in total building demolition (including implosions), selective demolition, interior strip and gut work, and plant dismantlement. High-Value Asset Recovery specialists guarantee the safe dismantling and removal of industrial equipment, assets, and scrap having a network of domestic and international scrap buyers to ensure the most competitive pricing, maximizing value for NorthStar and its customers.

Loureiro Engineering Associates:  specializes in Building & Land Engineering projects that require finding a balance between maximizing the development potential of a site and sustaining the local environment through innovative technical solutions. Services range in scope from the preparation of permit applications for a development project to the preparation of detailed design plans and technical specifications for various municipal, industrial and private-sector improvement projects, committed to solving engineering challenges with cost-effective and practical solutions while delivering an ecologically responsible and sustainable development.  They are skilled at  understanding all current requirements pertaining to proposed residential, commercial, and industrial developments located throughout New England, including the environmental impacts that many of these developments can impose on a site. The collaboration between our business, engineering, and construction teams is an advantage for our clients, because we maintain a comprehensive understanding of all facets of your project throughout the design and construction phases. Our construction estimates are not simply an engineer’s opinion of cost, but a solid estimate from a contractor working in the public bid arena every day. This perspective is imperative for developing an accurate business model for your project. Whether you need engineering services or comprehensive project supervision, we will assemble a team that exceeds your expectations and ensures that your project survives the regulatory process intact.

BL Companies:  John Mancini, Executive Director of Business Development and Client Care, has 35 years of experience working as a civil engineer specializing in site design, roadway design and utility design. 

Shipman & Goodwin: Andrew Davis, chair of Shipman’s Environmental Practice Group, counsels clients in transactional, permitting, compliance and enforcement matters under federal and state health and safety, hazardous waste, air and water pollution, site development and property transfer laws. With more than 30 years in legal practice and graduate degrees in marine science and ecology, Davis assists private and public clients understand environmental risks, identify and develop solutions for managing those risks that matter, and — when appropriate — turn risks into opportunities.

What will the completed project look like?

Will it be planned mixed-use development that will accommodate several million square feet of residential, senior living, retail, hotel, entertainment, beer garden, and various commercial/industrial uses?

While there has been no “final vision” of the development at this time, the property was transferred with a deed restriction that prohibits future residential use on the site.  Point Stratford plans to work with the State and Town officials to identify future commercial users for the site.

The one development that Point Stratford Renewal is firm on is their keeping the shoreline open to Stratford residents for recreation and outdoor activities – they will be working with the Town of Stratford and various Town committees to assure that all of us in Stratford will eventually benefit!



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