How Seaside Sanitarium Will Be Developed

Farmington developer Mark Steiner, in a pre-application meeting, discussed his plans for the historic site.

At a pre-application meeting last week with Waterford’s Planning and Zoning Commission, developer Mark Steiner outlined his plans to develop the former Seaside Sanitarium, where he hopes to rebuild the existing buildings into 50 high-end condos along with constructing approximately 72 single-family homes on the property.

After more than a decade of back-and-forth, Steiner agreed to purchase the former sanitarium , although the state is still the owner of the property. In the summer of 2011, Steiner applied for and , including removing a 55-and-older age restriction and allowing him to rebuild the historic buildings.

His pre-application meeting was the first insight into his plans for the project. There, Steiner and his team said they would rebuild the Cass Gilbert-buildings following the original buildings plans and turn them into a condos and he would build roughly 72 single-family homes in “Tudor” style on the property, according to Town Planner Mark Wujtewicz.

While applying for changes to Waterford's zoning regulations last summer, Steiner said several times this would be one of his last projects as a developer, and he wanted to make it great. Neighbors have for a variety of reasons, saying the density he is proposing is too great, the additional houses will ruin their water views and it could potentially increase their taxes.

Pre-application meetings give the developer and the commission a feel for the proposal and how it will be received, Wujtewicz said. Nothing in the meeting is binding, he said.


Patch did not attend the pre-application meeting on Monday, but received a synapsis of it from neighbor Debby Green, which Patch confirmed with Wujtewicz. Steiner’s plans to turn the property into 122 high-end units, 50 of which are condominiums and the remaining would be homes built on the property.

The existing buildings are in bad condition and Steiner’s team deemed they need to be rebuilt, Wujtewicz said. Steiner will follow the original building plans, creating a close replica of the original buildings, but will likely make the buildings slightly wider, Wujtewicz confirmed.

Steiner will be able to reuse parts of the building, like the granite arches around the windows, Wujtewicz said. His goal is to rebuild the employee building into a six-unit condominium complex and rebuild the large building into a 44-unit condominium complex, according to Wujtewicz.

Then, he plans on putting approximately 72 single-family houses on the property, Wujtewicz said. The houses will be built in "Tudor" style, which features decorative, angular lines on the face of the homes and prominent gable ends.

The zoning regulations require Steiner to provide public access to the beach at Seaside, and he is proposing to do so with a new entrance that does not go through the residential area, Wujtewicz said.

Steiner did return a Thursday voicemail left by Patch.


, which sits at 36 Shore Road, is a 36-acre waterfront property built in the 1930s by famed American architect Cass Gilbert. The property was used as a tuberculosis hospital and a hospital for the mentally ill, among other things, until it was closed in 1996, and has remained vacant ever since.

In the early 2000s, Waterford held a referendum asking residents if they wanted to buy the property from the state, but residents rejected the purchase. Meanwhile, Steiner has been interested in the property since at least 2000.

The state was originally going to sell him the property in 2007, but then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell changed her mind and decided to hold onto it. In the spring of 2011, Steiner reached an agreement with the state to buy the property for $8 million.

The sale will be finalized after Steiner acquires a permit to develop the property.

Paul Petrone August 21, 2012 at 12:19 AM
The first sentence is absolutely right, everything Steiner is proposing is non-binding. He has yet to formally submit his plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Then, the commission will hold a public hearing and then it can review and change the plans or reject the plans outright. It is a very long, very public process.
nascarblue August 21, 2012 at 10:14 AM
hopefully something or someone will do something to this beautiful property, i worked there when it was a hospital and took care of the mentally challanges, etc, i remember being put on the floor with the grown men that were to sick and dangerous, i was told, Pat just go up there for the rest of your shift, 3 more hours, i thought how bad can it be?? boy was i wrong, these men were so strong and when a fight broke out it took 6 very big staff to stop it, i was approached 3 times by these men and what they wanted and told me they were going to take, i was looking for a way out, the doors are always kept locked for a very good reason, finally i flagged down a nurse and she let me out and asked me "what are you doing up here, no one is allowed unless you are certified to deal with mentally challenged men, very large men, i told her the man downstairs told me to come up and help out, i told her a fight already broke out and i was scared, she told me i should be scared these guys are in here for murder, rape, abduction, etc, waiting to go to court or go to whiting forcensic's in middletown, she got me out just in time, i found out later 2 men were planning on attacking me, if those walls could talk they could tell alot of stories, personally i would not buy a condo or anything else there, very unsettling place...
The Fernando Family August 27, 2012 at 03:52 PM
The town should have bought this beautiful property. Sad thing to have just given it away like that. 36 acres of ocean view property for a mere 8 million. We should've had a boardwalk, a museum, a retreat for boaters, the whole town could've benefited from this lovely site!
Mari F August 27, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Also comes to mind, walking and biking trails, a refreshment stand, picnic area, playscape for kids, maybe a cafe with patio for people to meet and hang out!
Liz August 27, 2012 at 05:08 PM
The property is still owned by the state, Steiner's group hasn't completed the sale (I don't think the deposit has even been paid.) The engineer that spoke at the Planning and Zoning meeting was not the one approved by the commission, so the buildings may yet be able to be preserved. Steiner's development group became the 'preferred developer' on a plan that never was going to be used - 80 condos in the existing historical buildings. My son asks "This is the only free beach that people can visit, so why are we selling it?" So why is CT selling? For a few million dollars and to cover up their mistake of not properly putting the facility in cold storage so it would not deteriorate so rapidly And currently the minimal security is allowing even more damage. It is a shame!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »