Bridgewater unveils plan for renovations on Glendinning campus
Updated 7:40 am, Friday, April 10, 2015
A year after collapse of plans for the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates to relocate to Stamford, a pre-application has been filed with the Planning and Zoning Commission for changes on the financial giant's corporate campus at One Glendenning Place.
The plan, reviewed at Thursday's P&Z meeting, calls for renovation of two of the five buildings on the 15.84-acre Glendenning site, which is a designated Design Development District.
The Bridgewater property is one of five corporate DDD zones in town. The property also includes 5.89 acres on Ford Road.
Also proposed is a two-level underground parking garage that would eliminate 160 above ground parking spaces.
A newly created "great lawn" -- which would replace the existing parking spaces -- would have plantings, Wesley Stout, of Wesley Stout Associates, New Canaan-based landscape architects and planners, said of the plans.
"It will be virtually invisible," he said of the underground parking. "It's an ambitious plan."
Stout said that two three-story office buildings, known as buildings A and B -- and which are "core buildings" -- would be "fully renovated."
A smaller building used as a central reception area would be completely rebuilt, under the proposal. There will also be plantings and buffering as well as a new fish ladder installed on site, Stout said. "It will be uniquely and environmentally responsible," he said.
At the request of a lawyer representing Bridgewater, the P&Z in March 2014 approved a proposal loosening the tight development restrictions that applied to the DDD districts since the regulation was adopted in 1980.
The P&Z, in unanimously approving revisions to the DDD regulations, struck a compromise on the allowance for expanded coverage on the affected properties, cutting back the proposal to no more than a 10 percent increase in building or site coverage from the 20 percent that Bridgewater sought.
Commission members were told Thursday night that this proposal would expand Bridgewater's coverage close to the 10 percent threshold on the building side and maybe a little more on the site proposal.
Larry Bradley, the town's planning and zoning administrator, said it could be some time before the proposal comes back to the commission because of several reviews by other town boards and commissions needed prior to P&Z action. He estimated it would be up to a year before a formal application is received.
But Bridgewater officials told the P&Z they want to formally bring the plan back by sometime this summer.
Commission member Cathy Walsh said she liked the proposal. "It's much improved over the one submitted four or five years ago," she said.
Bridgewater, the world's largest hedge fund, has been located in town for the past 17 years. It had announced plans last year to move its corporate offices to Stamford. Despite $115 million in state incentives for the firm to move to a new waterfront headquarters in that city, the project became mired in local zoning disputes and Bridgewater ultimately pulled out.
Bridgewater Associates was the town's fourth largest taxpayer on the 2014 grand list with holdings assessed at $22,053,470.