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Connecticut

Windsor developers break ground on 750,000-square-foot warehouse and $15 million roads project

Great Pond Village, the massive multi-use project in Windsor planned for more than a decade, is advancing to the second stage as builders prepare to erect a 750,000-square-foot warehouse and a network of new roads and utilities.

Town officials along with Gov. Ned Lamont and Sen. Richard Blumenthal attended a groundbreaking Tuesday to mark the start of the second phase of Great Pond Village, a project that ultimately will encompass 650 acres.

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NorthPoint plans to spend about a year constructing the warehouse and logistics center.

“It’s exciting that out of 169 towns, the developers picked Windsor for such as huge development as this,” Mayor Donald Trinks said Wednesday.

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“They have serious plans for the future. And the area is great — it’s far enough away that you can put up a lot of things without negatively impacting residents,” Trinks said.

Online pet products retailer Chewy had been expected as the warehouse tenant, but decided in the spring to postpone or cancel plans for leasing. NorthPoint decided to go ahead with construction anyway, and will seek one or more new tenants.

Winstanley Enterprises initially talked with town officials about Great Pond in 2008, and at the time was looking to build as many as 4,000 houses, condos and apartments for nearly 8,000 residents. That version of the plan also included 850,000 square feet of civic, retail and office space.

The company has been modifying its plans in the years since, and the town has revised its vision, too. Currently the plan is for more intensive development north of Great Pond itself, with new housing and hundreds of acres of open space to the south.

“The large area north of Great Pond is buffered on all sides by a large, dense conservation area and is intended for larger-scale office, warehousing, industrial and research facilities,” according to a 2020 guide written by the developers.

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“Access to this area is via a dedicated truck route that avoids the village center. ... The daytime population of this area will also greatly support the restaurants and retail within the heart of the village,” the guide said.

Trinks said the town would benefit if more industrial and commercial development is done.

“The original plan was for mixed-use retail and housing. That’s exciting enough, but now they’re putting this whole industrial piece in,” he said. “We though it would just be a village of residents and small retail, but now there’s looking into some big industrial building — not warehouses, but tech. These are high-end, top notch developers who don’t do things halfway. Winstanley is a total class act.”

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Winstanley completed the Preserve at Great Pond, a 230-unit apartment complex, several years ago, and plans more housing. Part of the second phase of development is roughly $15 million in road work and new infrastructure to accommodate future buildouts beyond the warehouse.

“You go up there now and there are backhoes, bulldozers and dump trucks. The developers are confident they’ve got enough interest that they’re going ahead and putting up the building,” Trinks said.

The long-term build-out of the site will provide Windsor with a steadily increasing boost to its tax base, he said.

“This plan is really for the future. When I look at the Day Hill Road corridor, I’m awed by what the guys in the ‘50s did — we have thousands of industrial acres up there with hardly any houses nearby,” Trinks said. “My predecessors had a vision for the town. And I think this project is visionary.”


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