Developer Planning Big-Box Store
Firm Courts Neighbors Of 60-Acre Route 10 Parcel
By KATIE MELONE
Courant Staff Writer
August 11 2005
SIMSBURY -- A major New England development firm is quietly courting neighbors near a prime piece of Route 10 real estate where it reportedly is working on plans to put a retail center anchored by a big-box store.
Konover & Associates Inc. has outlined for neighbors preliminary plans for its proposed shopping plaza - which could include a national outfit such as Lowe's, Home Depot or Target - on 60 acres on the east side of Route 10 not far from Avon.
Konover's CEO Michael Goman and two traffic consultants from F.A. Hesketh & Associates vetted their plans last week with about three dozen neighbors. The entrance to the shopping center would be opposite Blue Ridge Drive or Lincoln Lane, said neighbors who attended Goman's presentation.
The neighbors, who live in and around the proposed development, have reserved public comment, but have formed an informal group that has begun to meet to discuss concerns about the proposal.
Goman, who serves on the Simsbury school board, could not be reached for comment, but Konover lists a "lifestyle center" in Simsbury on a website that details its development projects.
Lori Murphy, a Konover spokeswoman, said Goman was on vacation and is the only Konover employee who could speak about the project.
Murphy said big-box stores are often an integral part of retail developments.
"In order to make any new development economically viable, a big-box anchor tenant needs to be part of that scenario," she said. "We work with all the national tenants to potentially consider our sites."
The potential development site, formerly owned by Connecticut Light & Power, is now owned by Mark Greenberg of Infinity IV, LLC, a Litchfield-based company.
Past plans to subdivide the property, which is zoned for industrial use, or develop it as an office park, as Greenberg suggested four years ago, either stalled or were rejected by the town.
Greenberg said he could not comment on the specifics of the proposed development, other than to confirm he is involved in a joint venture with Konover.
Development proposals for the property have been divisive.
In 1999, the property became the subject of an intense political battle after the town's planning commission rejected a plan to subdivide a portion of the property. Some town officials contended that the decision cost Simsbury more than $1 million a year in tax revenue.
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant