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Lowerdeck

Two new proposals for Norwich Hospital/Utopia site

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Here we go again with the old Norwich Hospital site...

High-End Homes Are Proposed For Hospital Property

Preston — High-end development means low impact on the surrounding community. That was the mantra repeated Thursday night by representatives of Northland Investment Corp. as they presented their $1 billion vision for the former state hospital property on Route 12.

View the Preston Gateway proposal

View Northland's Preston Green proposal

The firm contends that the more expansive the development and the taller the buildings, and smaller the footprint, the less of an impact there would be on the community, its infrastructure and the surrounding environment.

And possibly most important, Northland officials said, is that the firm does not have to get approval from outside financial supporters to make its commitment to the project.

“The financial decision maker is in the room,” said Larry Gottesdiener, chairman of Northland. “And that's me.”

Northland's presentation was the second in as many days for the site. On Wednesday night, Preston Gateway Partners LLC shared its $780 million vision for the property.

While both plans call for a significant amount of housing and retail space to be laid out in a New England village green setting, the types of housing and philosophies behind the two projects are starkly different.

Northland is proposing high-end housing marketed primarily to people vacationing in the area or who are buying a second or third home. Preston Gateway's plan calls for a greater variety of housing types, from affordable units to single-family and townhouse-style buildings.

Edited by Lowerdeck

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I really like Northland's proposal. The other one is quaint though and may face less resistance. I think that as part of a growing region both plans look appropriate and feasible for Preston.

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I really like Northland's proposal. The other one is quaint though and may face less resistance. I think that as part of a growing region both plans look appropriate and feasible for Preston.

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The "big meeting" was last night. instead of choosing a developer the council was wise enough to let this one be decided by voters. I like this move because it really is an important decision and one that everyone must live with.

http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-ctnor...0,3493209.story

what I do not like is that it reopens the possibility for Utopia to get back involved.

I think this should just be between the two current proposals. Utopia had their chance and failed.

so in some regard I feel for Northland. they have been voted favorite by everyone but the people, and now must win that vote too. I am sure Northland feels like they are getting screwed.

who knows I hope everything comes to a happy solution.

my main concern is that the Norwich side of things choosed the year round indoor waterpark to help attract more visitors.

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The "big meeting" was last night. instead of choosing a developer the council was wise enough to let this one be decided by voters. I like this move because it really is an important decision and one that everyone must live with.

http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-ctnor...0,3493209.story

what I do not like is that it reopens the possibility for Utopia to get back involved.

I think this should just be between the two current proposals. Utopia had their chance and failed.

so in some regard I feel for Northland. they have been voted favorite by everyone but the people, and now must win that vote too. I am sure Northland feels like they are getting screwed.

who knows I hope everything comes to a happy solution.

my main concern is that the Norwich side of things choosed the year round indoor waterpark to help attract more visitors.

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Big Courant article today about this vote.

looks like the one company is presenting today.

http://www.courant.com/business/hc-preston...0,4506010.story

A Battle Of Billion-Dollar Developments

Renova Gateway Partners of Wellesley, Mass., wants to replace 54 dilapidated structures on the 420-acre, state-owned site along the Thames River with its Preston Gateway development, a mix of 1,350 residences in seven village-style neighborhoods, a pair of hotels, office and retail.

Northland, the largest landlord in downtown Hartford and the developer of the Hartford 21 apartment tower, is promoting its proposal, Preston Green, as an exclusive luxury resort featuring 1,500 villas, condominiums and apartments, two hotels, retail and a marina.

On Thursday, Renova and its competition, Northland Investment Corp. of Newton, Mass., will appear at a public forum on the specifics of the two proposals.

On July 1, Preston residents will choose their favorite, even as town leadership is divided over the proposals and their cost to taxpayers

this article is more on Renova than Northland since today is their day.

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Big Courant article today about this vote.

looks like the one company is presenting today.

http://www.courant.com/business/hc-preston...0,4506010.story

A Battle Of Billion-Dollar Developments

Renova Gateway Partners of Wellesley, Mass., wants to replace 54 dilapidated structures on the 420-acre, state-owned site along the Thames River with its Preston Gateway development, a mix of 1,350 residences in seven village-style neighborhoods, a pair of hotels, office and retail.

Northland, the largest landlord in downtown Hartford and the developer of the Hartford 21 apartment tower, is promoting its proposal, Preston Green, as an exclusive luxury resort featuring 1,500 villas, condominiums and apartments, two hotels, retail and a marina.

On Thursday, Renova and its competition, Northland Investment Corp. of Newton, Mass., will appear at a public forum on the specifics of the two proposals.

On July 1, Preston residents will choose their favorite, even as town leadership is divided over the proposals and their cost to taxpayers

this article is more on Renova than Northland since today is their day.

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I think the Northland proposal will be of higher quality and less like a cookie cutter group of subdivisions than what the Renova proposal sounds like to me. Northland will also be managing the development if they build it as opposed to Renova who may section of the subdivisions and have different management firms or even sell some to other landlords. I think both would be OK for the town though, but Northland's plan sounds a lot more urban and a lot more like what we don't have much of in CT and should be building more of.

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Preston is rural Connecticut at it's finest, or was until Foxwoods came along. There's no zip code for the entire town, it's a couple rural routes off Norwich. The town is two thirds plots of 50 acres or larger. IIRC, there's no town water or sewer either.

This may only be a slither of Preston landwise, but whatever happens to this site will dramatically alter Preston's image. Even 500 to 1000 new residents will be a huge uptick for the town.

One thing that must be said about eastern Connecticut, and many other parts of this state as a whole... it is suburban and rural at the same time. Not suburban in a Manchester, Farmington, Glastonbury sense. But people in eastern Connecticut will drive a long way for work. The casinos, New London/Groton, Worcester (I'm one of those), Hartford, Providence.

Edited by Lowerdeck

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I dis agree with you and will now go into devils advocate mode, so don't take this in any way bit friendly jabber :)

How is SE CT in any way urban? Building a minor psudo urban core a la Northland will do nothing but take away from the improvements in New London and Norwich. This is rural CT. it is sub urban at best. The onlything needed around here is more middle and upper class people. or even additional entertainment venues that will strengthen the attractions that the Coast, the Casinos all ready are.

If Renova win, this clears the way for the Norwich section of the property to be awarded to the company looking to build an indoor water park etc. It is not so much that the Northland proposal is bad, it is just that Northland wants the Norwich parcel and wants to barely use it. There is no need for any more High rises in SE CT.

bla

ok so those were bad arguments, but the point remains that I am really hoping for something else that will contribute to the region (water park/Bourbon street) rather than another gated community. and since Renova wants to build a public golf course and a marina I tend to think those are nice assets.

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Are a golf course and a marina really the sustainable choices now that the economy has shifted? Having moved away, I'm not as up on the day to day articles dealing with the proposals for the Preston and Norwich sites, but I do know that an indoor water park is quite possibly the worst idea for the Norwich parcel (other than a hodgepodge of sub-par condo developments).

Both the Town of Preston and the City of Norwich are already too dependent on residential property taxes to fund their budgets, commercial development is the answer. That being said, commercial development that "fits in" with the local landscape would be preferable.

Form Based Code and proper design guidelines should be implemented previous to development taking place, and they should be FOLLOWED. This is a huge opportunity for SECT as well as the region as a whole. Urban infrastructure is already in place (upgrades and repairs will be necessary), people should not settle for sprawling, unsustainable garbage anymore. The era of $4+ gas is upon us, the opportunity to build something for the long term should not be lost. Waterparks and Disney-like "towns" are not sustainable, socially or environmentally. Southeastern Connecticut has spent too long with all its chips in one basket, it needs to diversify its economy, for the good of the state of Connecticut and southern Rhode Island. The people deserved better than "Utopia," and they spoke up. They should not sit quietly while another pie in the sky proposal is shoved down their throats.

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Are a golf course and a marina really the sustainable choices now that the economy has shifted? Having moved away, I'm not as up on the day to day articles dealing with the proposals for the Preston and Norwich sites, but I do know that an indoor water park is quite possibly the worst idea for the Norwich parcel (other than a hodgepodge of sub-par condo developments).

Both the Town of Preston and the City of Norwich are already too dependent on residential property taxes to fund their budgets, commercial development is the answer. That being said, commercial development that "fits in" with the local landscape would be preferable.

Form Based Code and proper design guidelines should be implemented previous to development taking place, and they should be FOLLOWED. This is a huge opportunity for SECT as well as the region as a whole. Urban infrastructure is already in place (upgrades and repairs will be necessary), people should not settle for sprawling, unsustainable garbage anymore. The era of $4+ gas is upon us, the opportunity to build something for the long term should not be lost. Waterparks and Disney-like "towns" are not sustainable, socially or environmentally. Southeastern Connecticut has spent too long with all its chips in one basket, it needs to diversify its economy, for the good of the state of Connecticut and southern Rhode Island. The people deserved better than "Utopia," and they spoke up. They should not sit quietly while another pie in the sky proposal is shoved down their throats.

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well some good points there about how neither project is really right for the region, but keeping with my devils advocacy...

A marina and a Golf course are sustainable choices. You have to think that the real property taxes on those boats kept at this new Preston Marina are going to be great for the tax base. Also Golf Courses do not put much strain on the local infrastructure so I am pretty sure they are a net + for the tax rolls. Additionally they rise the assessed values of the homes built on them making those homes net + as well. Bringing wealthy tax payers to this part of SE CT is no big deal. There are all ready random Mc Mansions all around Colechester and even Montville due to the Casinos. There are very few "sprawly" residential developments and of the two proposals Northlands is MUCH more sprawly. The economy shifting, in my opinion is the WORST POSSIBLE REASON to do anything. The economy works in cycles. By the time most of this project is built the economy will have recovered, and spending money will be in vogue once again. Think about it. 2 years of site remediation. Then something like 5 years of building starting with things like roads and septic.

During this timeframe there will be another 1000 jobs opening up at the Mohican Sun. Also the construction of either project will be creating hundreds of construction and then operational jobs. There will be a demand for what is going on here and the current state of things has little or nothing to do with it. so stunting a project because today is a little depressing is just bad business.

But Yeah well we can all hope for more actually intelligent design. I for one would hope for the additional tourist attraction for the Norwich part for tax reasons and to bring more wallets to the area, and create a 3rd major attraction. The way I see it the Casinos have all ready fractured the traditional commercial centers of norwich and NL. At this point it can not be reversed, or even repaired. I gravitate more towards the idea of making this the playground of the NE. Put in Bourbon street, put in the year round water park. Put in the upscale development that can not be avoided apparently, then connect them all.

Connect them locally and regionally.

Use some kind of people mover (rail) connecting the casinos and the hospital site. Then connect them to both New London and Norwich. Each of these 5 small centers if connected efficiently could create the feel of one larger cultural and commercial center. Ideally this connector would link to the ferry terminal in NL that abuts the train station there. Also I would hope that there was a way to connect to Hartford and Bradley.

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You're right, I actually got a chance to check out he proposals and Preston Green is more sprawly with seemingly fewer buildings spread out much further apart from one another almost at opposite ends of the golf course area. I do actually think the Preston Gateway site plan may be a bit more reasonable now, but the projects are incredibly similar. It is almost a toss up.

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40326064.jpg

Area Roots Attract Developer To Preston Site

By ERIC GERSHON

Courant Staff Writer

June 24, 2008

PRESTON

Larry Gottesdiener, downtown Hartford's biggest landlord, makes his home in Wellesley, Mass., but lately he has been trumpeting his New London roots.

Gottesdiener has rarely had so much incentive to play the prodigal son of southeastern Connecticut.

Northland Investment Corp., his real estate development firm, is one of two companies competing to reinvent the 420-acre, state-owned former site of Norwich Hospital in Preston, a dozen or so miles up the Thames River from Groton, in the heart of casino country.

On July 1, voters in Preston will decide whether Northland or its competitor, Preston Gateway Partners, a group led by Renova Partners LLC, or neither firm should develop the site. Renova, also of Wellesley, Mass., specializes in cleaning up hazardous waste sites.

Northland, which developed and owns the state capital's Hartford 21 luxury apartment tower, has proposed a $1 billion mixed-use luxury resort that would be its largest development by far in that part of the state. Northland already owns apartment buildings in the region.

Called Preston Green, the Northland projectenvisionstwo five-star hotels, 75 homes with average asking prices of about $1.5 million, 1,500 high-end condominiums, a spa, a marina and an 18-hole golf course worthy of professional tournament play.

Plans also call for the renovation of three existing buildings on the site and the construction of 100,000 square feet of retail space intended for restaurants and small, boutique retailers that will lend the feel of a resort.

Gottesdiener says the project would be unique in the region and would exist in happy symbiosis with the state's two tribal casinos, without being dependent on them. Preston Green will offer amenities the casinos do not, he said, such as five-star hotels, the marina and residences.

Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun

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Small-Town Campaign Waged By Developers In Preston

By ERIC GERSHON {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}} Courant Staff Writer

June 30, 2008 PRESTON - Larry Gottesdiener and John Hanselman want the same thing: the right to spend the better part of $1 billion to transform the abandoned state asylum here into a riverfront playground.

But only one man can win, and currying favor with the local power elite

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And Northland is the winner: http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-ctpre...0,2765488.story

Preston Chooses Hartford Developer For Norwich Hospital SiteBy

ERIC GERSHON {sodEmoji.{sodEmoji.|}}Courant Staff Writer

July 2, 2008 Preston voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly picked Hartford's biggest property owner to develop the 420-acre riverfront property that was once home to Norwich Hospital.

In referendum balloting, voters decided in favor of Northland Investment Corp., owner of downtown's Hartford 21 luxury apartment tower, which plans to build a $1 billion luxury resort at the site of the abandoned hospital, just across the Thames River from Mohegan Sun Casino.

The company and the town have until Jan. 4 to negotiate a development agreement, a lengthy process likely to begin today.

"We feel like we won the Triple Crown," said Chuck Coursey, a spokesman and campaign strategist for Northland, referring to the fact that the company's proposal was endorsed by an advisory committee, the town's board of selectmen and now the voters.

Preston First Selectman Robert Congdon confirmed the outcome and unofficial vote results for Northland and its competitor, Preston Gateway Partners: 805 yes votes for Northland and 407 yes votes for PGP.

Citizens could also vote not to negotiate with either of the Massachusetts-based developers, but only 233 voted that way.

The vote concludes a month-long campaign triggered June 5 when the board of selectmen decided to give voters the choice of either project or neither.

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Least something is being made with the space finally. Far too long it's sat vacant, and it doesn't take up much room landwise in Preston to create a dramatic change in the rest of the town.

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There waas an article in the Day today about the first meeting to get things hashed out between the town and Northland.

No real info in the article.

here is a tiny blurb of its booringness

Preston - Town officials will meet this morning in Hartford with representatives from Northland Investment Corp. to begin negotiating a development agreement for the former state hospital property.

but they are just letting us know that the long tedious process has begin. I am sure this will be a completely booring and silent project for most of the next year.

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Preston is pretty pathetic.

apparently today they are terminating their deal with Northland.

they dont like that the plans for the project are changing. apparently Northland is looking for more apartments because the market is leaning that way. also apparently the golf course and 1 hotel might not be built in the first phase as the market may not warrent it at this time.

this all makes sense in the business would. but preston has some kind of inflated ego about how good this land really is.

at this point I almost hope Nortland walks, because this town seems difficult to work with. they have delayed so much and they have done so much to make this difficult. I dont mind a town looking after itself, but if you do not want a development, dont go looking for developers and wasting everyones time and money.

stay rural Preston. There is nothing wrong with rural.

and honestly 1 Billin worth of development is likely more than a town this size can handle (politically)

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Preston is pretty pathetic.

apparently today they are terminating their deal with Northland.

they dont like that the plans for the project are changing. apparently Northland is looking for more apartments because the market is leaning that way. also apparently the golf course and 1 hotel might not be built in the first phase as the market may not warrent it at this time.

this all makes sense in the business would. but preston has some kind of inflated ego about how good this land really is.

at this point I almost hope Nortland walks, because this town seems difficult to work with. they have delayed so much and they have done so much to make this difficult. I dont mind a town looking after itself, but if you do not want a development, dont go looking for developers and wasting everyones time and money.

stay rural Preston. There is nothing wrong with rural.

and honestly 1 Billin worth of development is likely more than a town this size can handle (politically)

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I from time to time see the Norwich Bulletin and the NL Day, it seems like every time I look now Preston does something completely wrong.

Preston's leaders clearly have no idea what they are doing, they are too scared of doing something like this will irreparably change their town for the worse. I fail to see how developing one tiny corner of the town will make the rest of the town change from the rural farming community it is now, other than a possible population increase and associated issues. But the money they are rejecting is simply astounding for the sake of remaining that little farming town, especially when everywhere else around it is getting an economic boost from the casinos.

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Hartford Courant

Courant.com

CT PROPERTY LINE

Preston Pushed To Close Land Deal With State

By ERIC GERSHON

January 13, 2009

The town of Preston is close to obtaining a prime piece of state land along the Thames River for $1

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They must be content in doing absolutely nothing with the site, or anything in town. They had a golden opportunity, and it would only affect a small sliver of town... and couldn't jump - twice.

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