The Mansfield Downtown Partnership Inc. and Leyland Alliance, developers of the
Storrs Center project, will begin holding a series of open houses on Thursday, Feb. 2, starting at 5:30 p.m.
The public meetings are designed to keeps lines of communication open between developers of the 15-acre retail and housing development and area residents as the project moves forward, says Cynthia van Zelm, executive director of the Mansfield Downtown Partnership.
“I think we’ve established a good rapport with the area’s residents, and we certainly want to continue working on that relationship,” she says. “We’d like to continue these monthly meetings right up to the time construction begins, and probably beyond.”
The meetings, scheduled for the first Thursday of every month, will be held at the Partnership’s offices, located behind People’s Bank and Starbucks.
During the fall, the Partnership received a series of approvals – all unanimous – for the project’s Municipal Development Plan, which lays out a vision for the project. Now, the group must return to the Mansfield Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss creation of a Special Design District (SDD), which would apply to a mixed-use area such as Storrs Center.
Van Zelm said officials hope to present that plan to the commission in February or March.
“We’re continuing to move forward, with creation of the SDD,” says Thomas Callahan, assistant to UConn President Philip E. Austin and a member of the Partnership’s board of directors. “We all continue to be optimistic.”
If the zoning commission approves the new zone, van Zelm says, the team can begin seeking approvals for actual site plans and building designs, while work begins on a new building near the south entrance to Bishop Center to house many of the businesses currently located in the Dog Lane-Route 195 area.
Once the businesses move, that strip mall will become the town square, the first piece of the four-phase puzzle that will ultimately be Storrs Center.
To date, van Zelm, says she and the developers have received more than 100 inquiries from businesses interested in Storrs Center.