Residential construction set to start next to Stamford synagogue
STAMFORD — Construction is set to start this month on a residential complex next to Congregation Agudath Sholom after the developer acquired from the synagogue the land for the project.
RMS Cos., the Stamford-based developer of the University of Connecticut’s new downtown dorms, bought the vacant 4.5-acre lot at 159 Colonial Road from the synagogue last month for about $6.2 million. The parties closed on the deal after RMS gained local land-use boards’ approvals for the development.
At 159 Colonial, RMS plans to build 25 single-family detached houses and 37 townhomes. The complex would also include a clubhouse, pool and playground.
“I think it’s going to fulfill a need we have in the area for single-family detached homes,” RMS founder and CEO Randy Salvatore said in an interview last week. “That’s a product where there’s a big demand that has not been fulfilled recently.”
An unused ball field and defunct building that once housed the synagogue’s Hebrew school now stand on the site. The old structure will be torn down.
“We chose RMS because of Randy Salvatore’s reputation as a developer of high integrity in Stamford,” said Rachel Dayan, the synagogue’s board president. “We think this will be a huge benefit to the neighborhood. It will attract new residents to Stamford and it will also appeal to a lot of older residents interested in downsizing, but remaining in the area.”
The sale proceeds would be “set aside for the future” of the synagogue, Dayan said.
The first group of homes at 159 Colonial are expected to be ready for occupancy within the next seven to eight months, according to Salvatore.
“Some of the homes will have first-floor master bedroom suites,” Salvatore said. “It will appeal to many seniors because you won’t need to use the stairs. By the same token, it will appeal to a broad range of people, including young families, singles and young couples.”
The site stands a couple of blocks from the Glenbrook business district and about 1 mile from both Stamford High School and the Newfield Green shopping center.
“The location is so convenient — you can walk to downtown and walk to Glenbrook, but you still feel like you have a little bit of privacy,” Salvatore said. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
The residential development will not affect the modern Orthodox synagogue’s operations. Based at 301 Strawberry Hill Ave. for approximately 50 years, the synagogue’s congregation includes about 425 family memberships.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Dayan said. “That’s our home.”
RMS, which is based in downtown offices at 1 Landmark Square, represents one of southwestern Connecticut’s most active developers. It is the owner and developer of the University of Connecticut residence hall that opened last August at 900 Washington Blvd. About 260 full-time students are living this school year in the dorms.
Recent RMS development and renovation projects include several apartment buildings in downtown Stamford and townhomes in other parts of the city; condominiums in Norwalk; townhomes in Danbury and Bethel; apartments in New Haven; Hotel Zero Degrees buildings in Stamford, Norwalk and Danbury; the Delamar Southport hotel in Fairfield; and the Goodwin Hotel in Hartford.
“We’re very excited by the market and how Stamford continues to grow,” Salvatore said. “We’re bullish on Stamford, and we’re bullish in general.”
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