Officials from Stamford, Conn., got a first look at the plans to build Bridgewater Associates' new headquarters on their waterfront.
The plan for a 750,000-square-foot campus for Bridgewater on 14 acres in Stamford currently used as a boatyard already has the forceful support of Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy. But it is the city and its various boards and agencies that will have the final say on the matter.
Yesterday's meeting brought together Stamford's mayor, members of its Board of Representatives, its economic development director and its Land Use Bureau chief with developer Building and Land Technology CEO Carl Kuehner and two Bridgewater executives, Joseph Parsons and Paul Darrah.
The meeting was viewed positively by the attendees, with Mayor Michael Pavia lauding the developers' and Bridgewaters' openness to ideas, "which is terrific." Board of Representatives President Randy Skigen added, "I think it's got a great deal of potential for the city," while acknowledging "there are a number of issues that need to be worked out in order to make it happen."
Pavia said the same, noting that there will be "a Zoning Board and a Planning Board review process that I believe will be very involved, probably one of the most involved land use issues that they've ever had to face."
Indeed, mention of those two boards couldn't help but emphasize that the heads of both skipped the meeting, despite invitations. And Zoning Board Chairman Tom Mills told the Stamford Advocate that he stayed away to avoid antagonizing the project's chief critics, who do not want to see the boatyard go.
"We were getting a lot of calls from people thinking there were backdoor deals going on and everything else," Mills said. "I don't need to stir up the pot any more than it's already been stirred. They didn't want me to go so I didn't go."
Maureen Boylan, head of the Save Our Boatyard group, criticized the meeting for being closed to the public. "They can try and fast-track it all they want, but it's not going to happen," she said.