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Article Published June 27, 2017

Branford's Atlantic Wire Factory Demolition Anticipated to Begin July 1

By Pam Johnson/

On or about July 1, demolition of Branford's former Atlantic Wire factory will get underway to clear the way for the new Atlantic Wharf mixed-use residential and commercial development at 1 Church St.

In a press release issued on June 27, the Town of Branford Building Department noted it anticipated the issuance of a demolition permit for the former Atlantic Wire Factory. The demolition is expected to begin on or about July 1 and continue through September, 2017.

During the demolition, a portion of Meadow Street between Church Street and Montowese Street is expected to be closed and limited to local access only for a period of time, the Building Department reported. Detour signs will be placed directing traffic around the site on an
"as needed" basis.

The big factory tear-down will allow for the installation of brand-new Atlantic Wharf, a 205-unit residential and commercial mixed-use development. Atlantic Wharf will rise on the former factory's 7.5 acres of former industrial land overlooking the Branford River.

After nearly a year of review, the final Atlantic Wharf site plan was approved by Branford's Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) in January of 2016. An intended spring 2016 project start was then stalled by a civil suit brought in February 2016 by a Wilford Avenue property owner. The suit, brought against the PZC and Atlantic Wharf developer Metro Star LLC (Milford), was dismissed earlier this year.

Built of brick, the Atlantic Wire mill began operating in 1906. It was permanently shut down for site contamination problems in the early 2008, including pollutants detected in the Branford river. The rambling factory's looming presence will be replaced by a complex of 10 three-story buildings with a maximum allowable building height of 40 feet. Nine of the new buildings will occupy the former factory land, which faces the Branford River on one side; while the tenth residential building will be built across the way at 256 Meadow Street (presently an empty lot). The mixed use concept allows for residences, retail, restaurants and office space.

MetroStar Properties Executive Manager and founder Robert Smith Jr. has described the new Atlantic Wharf complex as one which will draw millennials and others seeking high end homes in a transit-oriented area. Atlantic Wharf's location puts it within walking distance of bus lines and the town center as well as the newly-expanded Amtrak rail station. Atlantic Wharf has become an integral part of the discussion during Branford's recent workshops to help plan for a new Transit Oriented Development (TOD) fanning out from the Branford rail station (see the story here).

Atlantic Wharf will also include a residential underground parking garage with 195 parking spaces below and 78 above (street level). The complex will also install a new road, on the side of the development facing the Branford River, to be accessed from a realigned Meadow Street/Church Street intersection and a new four-way intersection at Montowese Street and Pine Orchard Road.