Fairfield County Business Journal

FAIRFIELD COUNTY

BUSINESS JOURNAL

 

 

Crescent Village overcomes problems

By Keith Loria

 

 

Despite initial cries from the neighborhood over the closing of the long-standing Pinecrest Country Club in Shelton to make room for a 135-unit townhouse complex, things seem to be moving smoothly for the new project.

 

The Zuckerman family had owned the property for more than 50 years but Jonathan Zuckerman felt the time was right when he sold the 33-acre River Road property to New York City developer Stephen Julias, who set his sights on developing Crescent Village.

 

Things started slowly as delays were caused by negotiations for a sewage-treatment plant, zoning and a slow changeover from Zuckerman to himself.  The sale was completed in March but the project began about three months behind schedule.

 

Julias fought for months to win approval to connect the units to the town’s water-treatment plant, and without winning that battle; the project might have never taken off.

 

It also began somewhat surprisingly with a new developer, as Julias sold the project to Newtown developer Bryan Robik of Robik Glantz Builders after he worked through all the problems.

 

“Stephen Julias got it approved and I bought it from him as I was looking for deals and was introduced to him by a broker who worked at Coldwell Banker,” Robik said.  “This was good timing wise for me.  I had just completed a 57-unit in Norwalk and so I was actively looking for another deal.  This intrigued me because the approvals were already done.”

 

WELL RECEIVED

 

Crescent Village broke ground almost three months ago, and work has started on the initial infrastructure and blasting.  Robik said they are planning to have their first model ready for the sales office in April.

 

“We’re going to pave the first phase, which is the entrance and the first 33 units this season,” he said.  “Our sales have been pretty good.”

 

Finding luxury townhouse in this area is not easy, which might explain why expectations are so high.  “We started marketing on phase one of 33 units of which we have 16 deposits,” said Diane Cahill of Century 21.  “We are very well received on our preferred buyer list.  We had our first soft opening releasing the sneak preview of the project.”

 

The units consists of all two bedroom, 2 ½ bath, some with master bedrooms on the main level.

Most have lofts and two-car garages (attached or under). Prices start at $399,900 to $469,900.

 

“Most of the neighbors came out against it, but after six months, it’s beginning to be well received,” Cahill said.  “Everyone is worried about kids and schools and higher taxes.  We proved that it is a positive project for the community and well needed.  I think they are still celebrating at City Hall.”

 

TIRED OF FIGHTING CITY HALL

 

Since there is very little in the corridor next to the Merritt Parkway, it’s a great location for a new development.  Especially now that all the zoning is in place.  Cahill mentioned another project that was recently approved by another developer in downtown Shelton that was well received.  They have 100 units with a waiting list of people who want to get in, she said.

 

“Shelton is great, the tax base is great with lots of the office parks there,” Cahill said.  “Where can you go and get a luxury town-home today with $2,500 to $3,500 in taxes?  You can’t do that in Westchester.”

 

And given its proximity to both Route 8 and the Merritt Parkway, Crescent Village is accessible for commuters in Connecticut and Westchester.  “I liked the location because it’s less than two miles to two major highways,” Robik said.  “It’s also across from a yacht club and you can have a boat and get access out to the Sound.”

 

The Pinecrest Country Club was a banquet hall and catering facility that had been in the Zuckerman family since the mid-50’s and was host to weekly outdoor musical series every summer.  Zuckerman had a series of issues with city officials and it’s believed that he was tired of fighting City Hall when agreed to sell the property.