Recently, we did a story of has approved in the last few years, from to set to be built on Parkway South.
Yet there remains one piece uncompleted. In September of 2008 – one month before the economy collapsed – Farmington developers had plans approved for Waterford Station, a proposed retail center across the street from the Crystal Mall complete with a Circuit City and Red Robin.
However, in the four years that have followed, nothing was ever built. Circuit City went out of business and deals with Red Robin and Sports Authority have changed or fallen through over time, according to Jed Hayes of the Benderson Development Company, the business that is planning to develop the property.
“No shocking thing, it just took us so long to get through the approval, so that the time we got it through the market went away,” Hayes said. “But we are pushing along, and trying to get something.”
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A new state law allows Benderson to hold the permit on the property until Sept. 23, 2017 – nine years after it was originally approved. Hayes said Bendersome is still trying to get anchors under contract for the development, with the possibility of filling the smaller tenants later.
“We are basically looking for project anchors,” Hayes said. “We are trying to still put the project together, it is just tough in these times to do that.”
The plan was to turn 845 Hartford Turnpike, a 20-acre property across the street from the Crystal Mall and just south of the Waterford Commons, into a three-building retail shopping center. The plan called for one building with two 30,000 square-foot units for two large anchor stores, another 17,400 square-foot building with smaller tenants and a building for a 6,680 square-foot restaurant.
Originally, Benderson planned to have Circuit City and Sports Authority as the center’s two main anchors and Red Robin to fill the restaurant. However, Circuit City filed for bankruptcy in November of 2008, and terminated its contract with Benderson.
“It wasn’t just that,” Hayes said. “It was everything. If Circuit was going out of business and the economy is still going well, we could have found a replacement. It was a combination.”
Hayes said it was actually lucky that the deal fell apart before construction began on the project, as then the company would have been responsible for the property with no tenants to pay the bills. Hayes said the company is dedicated to making the property work, but has no time frame on when the project will get restarted.
Meanwhile, Town Planner Mark Wujtewicz said the proposal by Benderson was the most complicated one he dealt with in the decade-plus he’s held the position. However, the permit will now last until 2017, as the state passed a new law that says all permits approved before 2011 will be good for nine years instead of five.
“It certainly is (an advantage) not to have to go back and do those approvals,” Hayes said. “That definitely is a considerable benefit.”