Formal Proposals for Former Unilever HQ Come Before Clinton PZC
Progress at Stations Landing is full steam ahead. Two new applications have officially been filed for the potential development to be built at the former Unilever headquarters: one for a brewery and restaurant and one for condominiums.
Ever since the former Unilever headquarters was sold in the summer of 2019 there had been talk from the developer that the future uses would include a brewery and restaurant as well as residential uses. Now, that news is official.
Two separate applications will be on the agenda of a Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) meeting on Monday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. It is expected that the commission will accept the applications and schedule public hearings for the applications at a later date. It is possible that more information on both applications will be revealed at the PZC meeting.
According to an application from developer 1 John Street Clinton, LLC, received on Jan. 9, the developer intends to put a 24,321-square-foot brewery and restaurant into a portion of the large headquarter building on John Street. The brewery is Kinsmen Brewing Co., an active brewery operated and located in Milldale (a town located not far from Southington) that operates a taproom in a renovated 19th century factory. According to a drawing attached to the application, the project is titled “Kinsmen II.”
Sketches of the project depict a large taproom, banquet hall, brewing area, and kitchen on the first floor in addition to offices and storage areas. The proposal features a large outdoor patio on the first floor and an upstairs with a mezzanine and lounge area. The application states the brewery will be open seven days a week.
In fall 2019, the PZC granted the property owners permission to use 217,471 square feet of the headquarters building for an indoor recreation use. The potential brewery and restaurant would be placed in the same building. The building is 312,345 total square feet presently. Property owner Michael Massimino said at a December 2019 PZC meeting that a company interested in putting in an indoor turf field for sports is “for sure” going into the building.
The second application also filed on Jan 9 is for condominiums to go into a former office space on the property at 9-15 John Street. The application states the total acreage for that portion of the property is 1.65 acres and the building is 20,654 square feet. The condo application was filed by 9-15 John Street Clinton, LLC, which has the same ownership as 1 John Street Clinton, LLC. The agent on both applications is Christopher Gagnon from BL Companies, LLC, and the owner is listed as Massimino.
A Busy Meeting
The two new applications won’t be the only ones from the Unilever site developer on the agenda Jan 13. The PZC is eligible to decide on proposed changes to the Transit Oriented Development Overlay Zone (TODO) where the property is located. The developer proposed the changes to the PZC in late 2019.
Consultant planner John Guszkowski explained that the TODO is useful to developers because “the benefit to the developer is that the variety of uses, and the opportunity to flexibly mix different uses, within the TODO zone is far beyond anything that would be available within the current I-1 industrial zone.”
By approving the changes to the TODO, the PZC would allow the developer to allow for an arcade to be allowed as part of the property, to change the maximum allowed height of new structures from four stories or 50 feet to five stories or 60 feet, to reduce the minimum square footage of any dwelling to 350 square feet from 500 square feet, and to increase the maximum building coverage to 50 percent of the property.
The total property encompasses about 20 acres at the intersection of Hull and John streets and has been vacant for almost six years. The redevelopment project website, stationslanding.com, features renderings and more information about the project.