Real estate developer Stephen Zemo & Affiliated Cos. has bid $1.25 million to purchase a 5-acre plot in Ridgefield, Conn., on which he would build a hotel, self-storage facility and an undesignated commercial building. Zemo’s bid was the only formal plan submitted to town officials, who are trying to recoup a $7 million investment on a 45-acre property, which was approved by voters in 2011.
The 5-acre lot bid on by Zemo is one of three parcels the town’s board of selectmen is trying to sell. It is across the street from the other 40 acres. “These were requests for proposals, where we asked the person submitting the proposal to present their concept, along with what they wanted to pay,” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi.
Zemo has proposed a three-building complex called Old Quarry Commons, with an estimated construction cost of $13 million to $17 million and an annual tax bill up to $302,000, according to the source.
The 50,000-square-foot self-storage facility would feature three stories, with two levels on the main parking-lot grade and a lower level. It would be built adjacent to the town’s wastewater-treatment plant, which borders the lot’s eastern boundary. “This building and its location were chosen for several reasons,” Zemo wrote in his proposal. “Firstly, the long rectangular massing serves as a visual block to the town’s wastewater treatment, both for this proposed project and for the adjacent townhouse development. Secondly, the lower level will be all individual garage bays that will provide a storage opportunity for small local contractors. This type of offering is becoming scarce at affordable rents. Thirdly, while there are self-storage facilities on Route 7, there are none in the center of town, so this building would allow a more convenient location for many residents and businesses.”
The proposed hotel would comprise 40,000 square feet and sit toward the front of the lot, while the commercial building would comprise 20,000 square feet toward the rear of the property. The property is zoned for a variety of commercial uses, including warehouses and offices, but excludes retail, according to the source.
Marconi said the proposal would likely generate discussion, but that any deal would require negotiations. “We can reject it, go back out to bid,” he said, pointing out that this will be a decision between the board of selectmen and the people of Ridgefield, because all land sales or leases require a town meeting.