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September 23, 2018  |  

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Essex Apartment Development Gaining Steam

Published Nov. 08, 2017

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The Essex Station Luxury Apartments at 21-29 Plains Road in Centerbrook Village are nearing the green light to begin accepting rental applications–even though the three-building project isn’t yet finished being built.

Norwalk-based Signature Contracting Group, LLC, has submitted the final papers to Essex’s zoning department. Part of that is the possible addition of a disclaimer about potentially hazardous air quality issues due to the proximity of the nearby Essex Steam Train Station.

The development will include 52 units in three separate buildings, with 16 units set aside for moderate-income housing, on three separate lots. Moderate income units are defined by Connecticut State Statute 8-30g, which requires at least 30 percent of the units be, for at least 40 years, sold or rented at or below prices deemed affordable for families, whose income is less than or equal to 80 percent of the median income, who will pay 30 percent or less of their annual income on housing. In Essex, that means that 16 of the 52 units will be available only to households earning up to $72,194 with a resulting maximum monthly housing cost of $1,804.

The 3.7 acre project is set on the location of former Iron Chef restaurant and each building has its own storm water drainage and septic system.

The plan is set to have 30 one-bedroom units that will be 766 square feet each and 22, two-bedroom units of 1,035 square feet apiece. The design of the units include porches, nine-foot ceilings, gas fireplaces, marble bath vanities, and granite countertops.

Concerns about the development have dogged progress from the start. In addition to the air quality matter, questions have been raised about the lack of elevators in the three-story buildings, septic and stormwater control, and emergency vehicle access.

According to Essex Zoning and Inland Wetlands Enforcement Agent Joseph Budrow, this project has remained compliant with local building codes. The project began in February 2016 and, according to Budrow, is now about 60 days away from construction being completed.

The development is located in a business and industrial zone. Zoning conditions preclude the apartments from being converted to condominiums and require a six-foot high security fence to be constructed around the perimeter.

The project is owned by Essex Holdings, LLC, of Westport, which bought the three parcels of land for $1.35 million; the project’s $8.6 million financing is held by a Rhode Island-based lender.

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