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Fairfield Metro Developer: 'It's Time to Build Something We Can Be Proud Of'

Fairfield Metro Center Project Developer Kurt Wittek defends proposal for a 197-unit apartment building on one part of the Metro Center site.

As the developer of the Fairfield Metro Center project, I understand community opposition to new projects. I’m willing at all times to submit to the facts, and let those facts guide decisions regarding the project. I’m not willing to let people who oppose this project distort the facts to suit their own agenda. I believe this is a disservice to the decision-making process and an open public discourse.

To clarify the record:

1. Our proposal to build a 197-unit apartment building on one part of the site is not an attempt to gain “accommodations and concessions” from the Town or request anything that would “cost the taxpayers again” but is simply a matter of us following the normal procedures required to obtain the necessary approvals to build-out a part of the project.

2. Our proposed apartment building could by itself generate up to $1 million in net positive revenue for the Town. We designed it to appeal to young professionals and empty nesters. Extensive research and empirical evidence overwhelming shows that families with school age children do not occupy luxury one-bedroom apartments in large numbers near train stations (66% of our units will be one bedroom). We estimate that less than 20 school age children would reside at the project.

3. No town money has been spent “enriching developers.” Blackrock Realty has invested more than $40 million in the project without receiving one dime of return. This is not enrichment.

4. We believe a residential component at Fairfield Metro Center is good for Fairfield. It will add economic activity to the Town by having more residents shop in stores, dine in restaurants and use local services. Most importantly, it will help create the vibrant sense of place and activity that we envision for the overall project and surrounding neighborhood.

Fairfield has the highest mill rate of any coastal town in the county. The actions of the so-called “concerned” citizens, has been to discourage development wherever possible to retain the status quo. Unfortunately, the status quo in this case has created a town with very little commercial development, very little diversified housing stock and high and rising property taxes for its residents.

Connecticut and Fairfield are grappling with the effects of near zero job growth, a brain and talent drain, an aging population and an economy that was heavily reliant on the financial services sector, which has undergone a radical restructuring. The real issue we face is that if we don’t do something to attract and retain companies, jobs and talented young people to Fairfield our current system is unsustainable and will lead to further financial consequences. It’s time to start something. It’s time to build something in Fairfield we can be proud of and that will be good for the Town.

 

Kurt Wittek

Steve Curtin January 25, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I work for Blackrock. We are a taxpayer in Fairfield. For the record we have been paying $120,000 per year in property taxes to the town for ten years. Our agenda is to revitalize the Commerce Drive district and build a mixed use office park development with a hotel, retail and residential components that will attract jobs and companies to the region and drive economic growth and tax revenue. As a result of our efforts, along with the State and the Town, there is no longer a dilapidated eyesore of an industrial building littered with syringes on a contaminated site. Instead there is a new train station and a new public waterfront park. What's your agenda?
Faith January 25, 2013 at 04:32 PM
I have always been forthright about my agenda. I volunteered for 10 years on the RTM to try to keep property taxes affordable so myself and my neighbors wouldn't be forced to move south in our not so golden years. I recently purchased an investment house in Fairfield for rental, to help subsidize my property taxes. Many like myself because of the 30% reduction in real estate values, and ever increasing property taxes are stuck waiting it out to downsize, yet not being able to afford the taxes due to lessening income.
Devilin January 25, 2013 at 06:33 PM
A letter touting facts, decrying distortions and clarifying the record is a worthy endeavor. It states:" Fairfield has the highest mill rate of any coastal town in the county." Fairfield's mill rate is 23.37. Statford is a coastal town in Fairfield County. Stratford's mill rate is 34.15. I question the quality of the research and analysis put forth by this writer.
Igor January 25, 2013 at 06:52 PM
I think we should sit back and see what with could put there. CVS,bank, pizza parlor, rifle range, abortion center, library or Starbucks, porno store. This way we can always find someone to argue with.
R. Ludlowe January 25, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Are you, personally, a fairfield resident? And lets not split hairs over your agenda. Black Rock's agenda is to make a profit like any other business entity. You'll have to excuse most of us if we question the overall process and situation that we went through for our new station. If the goal was to clean up the site, there are certainly more cost effective ways to achieve that.

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