Zoning Commission approves plans for The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 06/03/2016

NORWALK — Long-vacant land off West Avenue and Interstate-95 will take shape over the next three years into a million-square-foot upscale shopping center.

After discussion, the Norwalk Zoning Commission on Wednesday evening approved unanimously General Growth Properties (GGP) plans for The SoNo Collection.

“We’re very excited,” GGP Senior Director Douglas T. Adams said afterward. “It’s a major step clearing this — what was sort of the last major of the local approvals. We still have some additional work to do, but we look forward to moving forward onto the next phase.”

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Proposed Sono Collection commercial center receives zoning approval

Fairfield County Business Journal on 06/03/2016

The Sono Collection, a more than 1 million-square-foot proposed retail shopping center to be built in South Norwalk, has received a critical approval from the city’s zoning commission and may soon have the final permits necessary to break ground on the highly anticipated commercial hub.

The project received unanimous approval from the zoning commission at their June 1 meeting. The approval is the last local government requirement the project will need in advance of receiving city building permits. Only a traffic permit from the Office of State Traffic Authority remains, said Douglas T. Adams, senior director for development for the Chicago-based development agency responsible for the project, General Growth Properties (GGP).

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SoNo Collection clears all Norwalk hurdles

Nancy On Norwalk on 06/02/2016

NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Zoning Commission on Wednesday approved General Growth Properties (GGP) application to build a mall on West Avenue, between Interstate 95 and Pine Street.

The brief discussion centered on follow-up traffic studies, a sidewalk on Reed Street and legal language that would be a problem in the event of an appeal from the public. The Commission voted unanimously to approve the mall, dubbed The SoNo Collection, with conditions that included pavement markings to guide drivers exiting the parking garage and taking a right on West Avenue.

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Norwalkers laud The SoNo Collection at Zoning Commission public hearing

Nancy On Norwalk on 05/05/2016

NORWALK, Conn. — Speaker after speaker stepped to the microphone to sing the praises of the proposed SoNo Collection mall at Wednesday’s Zoning Commission public hearing. With about 40 people present in the City Hall community room for the continuation of a hearing that began last week, 12 of 15 people who chose to speak to the commission said positive things about the plan presented by General Growth Properties (GGP), be it about potential jobs or the improvement of the city’s image that they said the mall would bring.

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Norwalk Council gives enthusiastic nod to The SoNo Collection

Nancy on Norwalk on 04/13/2016

NORWALK, Conn. — Ringing endorsements heralded the Common Council’s unanimous approval Tuesday of two major components of The SoNo Collection’s design that is now before the Zoning Commission.

“They have gone above and beyond, they did a lot of concessions, they have added a lot to this project,” Planning Committee Chairman John Kydes (D-District C) said, adding that the rooftop plaza was entirely GGP’s idea. Kydes also said he was very happy with the underpass.

The public realm plans are “amazing,” Mayor Harry Rilling said. “They are going to make this not only a shopping experience, it’s going to be an experience that people can walk through. I don’t know of any project anywhere that I have seen with the public realm areas that will be this interesting, this attracting to people, getting people to come into the mall,” Rilling said.

“It has come a long way,” Travis Simms (D-District B) said. “… We haven’t had this buzz and this feel in quite some time and I think that this is really going to put Norwalk on the map. I have to commend all my colleagues for supporting this and making sure we got the best bang for our buck here.”

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‘Superior’ plan advances for SoNo Collection underpass

The Hour on 04/07/2016

NORWALK — Planning Committee members advanced Thursday evening a “significantly superior” plan for the long-debated North Water Street underpass within The SoNo Collection.

Steven G. Cecil, the urban planner engaged by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to work with mall developer General Growth Properties (GGP) to improve the underpass, outlined the changes.

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SoNo Collection developer reworks North Water Street underpass, fleshes out public realm space uses

The Hour on 04/06/2016

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties (GGP) has added a rooftop garden to The SoNo Collection and reworked its North Water Street underpass to allow in more light and better serve pedestrians, according to officials.

The rooftop garden would include a farmer's market, food and wine events, youth activities, an event lawn exercise and health activities, film and sports screening, and concerts and performances, according to the public realm space plan submitted by GGP.

On Thursday evening, the Common Council's Planning Committee will consider the underpass and public realm plans for the million-square foot shopping center.

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SoNo Collection in miniature: GGP unveils 3D model of 700K-square-foot mall

The Hour on 03/18/2016

NORWALK — Moving toward final approvals and hoping to break ground this summer, General Growth Properties (GGP) unveiled Friday in the Norwalk City Hall atrium a three-dimensional scale model of The SoNo Collection.

“We’re really pleased to be moving into the land-use portion of the approvals and design review,” said GGP Senior Director Douglas T. Adams. “We’re excited to unveil this model here with the mayor and thought the mayor’s idea of putting it here in the rotunda, initially at City Hall, was perfect for the people of Norwalk to come look at it, see it, ask questions and we’ll make our information available so people can get back to us with any comments and thoughts they have.”

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Norwalk Mayor Rilling and Representatives from General Growth Properties Unveil 3-D Model of The SoNo Collection

on 03/18/2016

Norwalk Mayor Rilling and Representatives from General Growth Properties Unveil 3-D Model of The SoNo Collection
Model will be on display in City Hall rotunda to allow for public view and feedback

Norwalk, Connecticut, March 18, 2016 — Mayor Harry Rilling today joined representatives from General Growth Properties (GGP), the developer of The SoNo Collection, to unveil a scale model of the development proposed to be built near the intersections of Interstate 95 and Route 7 in Norwalk. The 1” to 30’ scale model offers residents and stakeholders the opportunity to view a physical representation of the center’s appearance, providing a three-dimensional perspective of both the layout and façade of the structure.

The SoNo Collection is a mixed-use development that calls for 700,000+ square feet of retail space, including anchor stores Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's, as well as 80 to 100 inline retail stores, a 150-room boutique hotel and public realm space on the dozen-acre site off West Avenue and Interstate 95. The development will be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation in Norwalk. The project will support 1,900 construction jobs for 36 months and create 2,500 FTE permanent jobs in retail and hotel operations with an average salary of $41,000.

Mayor Rilling arranged for the model to be on display in the rotunda of Norwalk City Hall so it would be easily accessible to Norwalk residents. The Mayor is encouraging all interested parties to review the model and provide feedback to the developer.

More information on The SoNo Collection is available at SoNoCollection.com.

General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing and redeveloping high-quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.

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Norwalk Mall Project Moves Forward With Signing Of Land Use Agreement

Norwalk Daily Voice on 02/11/2016

NORWALK, Conn. — A massive project that would bring 700,000 square feet of retail space to South Norwalk took another step toward construction with the singing of a land disposition agreement at City Hall on Wednesday morning.

“This is an exciting day for Norwalk,” Mayor Harry Rilling told a gathered crowd. “It’s going to result in tax revenues; it’s going to result in thousands of jobs for our community.”

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The SoNo Collection said to be ‘moving along nicely’

Nancy On Norwalk on 02/11/2016

NORWALK, Conn. — General Growth Partners (GGP) is looking to begin construction on The SoNo Collection this summer, GGP Senior Planner Doug Adams said Tuesday.

His optimistic comment came after Mayor Harry Rilling announced that, Wednesday (today), the city would sign the reformulated Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for GGP’s property at the intersection of Interstate 95 and West Avenue and after the Common Council unanimously agreed that GGP has met the conditions defined in the revised Concept Master Site Plan (CMSP) in October.

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Norwalk Mayor Rilling Hosts Signing Ceremony for SoNo Collection Project

on 02/10/2016

Norwalk, Connecticut, February 10, 2016 — Mayor Harry Rilling today hosted a ceremony at Norwalk City Hall to mark the signing of a Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) by the City of Norwalk and General Growth Properties (GGP), the developer of the SoNo Collection. The LDA is a legal document that outlines the approved uses for the parcel of land on which the SoNo Collection will be located. In addition, the agreement contains business terms agreed to by the City of Norwalk, Norwalk Redevelopment Agency and GGP.

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Norwalk Council gives thumbs up to latest ‘SoNo Collection’ plans

Nancy On Norwalk on 02/05/2016

NORWALK, Conn. — Reviews were positive Thursday evening as changes, or “improvements,” to the plans for The SoNo Collection were reviewed by the Common Council Planning Committee. The two-story sculpture garden now planned for the northern corner of the mall is a “major win” and the rooftop terrace is “terrific,” Steve Cecil of The Cecil Group said. A “magnificent job” has been done to improve the pedestrian experience on North Water Street, Mayor Harry Rilling said, and Planning Committee Chairman John Kydes (D-District C) called the “notch” now planned for the North Water Street overpass, close to the railroad tracks, a “compromise that benefits everyone.”

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Planning Committee advance revised master site plan for The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 02/04/2016

NORWALK — The SoNo Collection came into clearer focus Thursday evening as the Common Council’s Planning Committee accepted a rooftop terrace and corner sculpture garden as potential public realm space uses within the proposed million-square-foot shopping mall.

“This addition in the corner of the project, that is the sculpture garden that has landscaping and kind of a glass space on the interior that extends the mall outward (on) the northwest corner, we think is major win to have, particularly this time of year,” said Steven G. Cecil, the design consultant engaged by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to review the Conceptual Master Site Plan (CMSP) for The SoNo Collection.

On a unanimous vote, the Planning Committee advanced documents and plans “evidencing that the CMSP has met the conditions of approval” given last fall.

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Revised plans for The SoNo Collection show rooftop terrace

The Hour on 02/01/2016

NORWALK — General Growth Properties (GGP) has met nearly all approval conditions set forth for the Conceptual Master Site Plan for The SoNo Collection. Revised plans for the million-square-foot shopping center show improved pedestrian access along West Avenue as well as a rooftop terrace. In October, the Common Council approved the master site plan for The SoNo Collection, subject to conditions to be resolved in discussions between GGP and the design consultant engaged by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency.Those discussions began in November and entailed at least a half dozen meetings, according to Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Timothy T. Sheehan.

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GGP opens storefront Outreach Office in South Norwalk

on 01/01/2016

Happy New Year!

We wanted to let you know that General Growth Properties (GGP), developers of the proposed SoNo Collection has opened a storefront office in the heart of South Norwalk. The SoNo Collection Outreach Office is located at 119 Washington Street.

Our hope is that the office will serve as a resource for members of the community interested in learning more about the SoNo Collection project. Members of the development team will be there to provide information on various aspects of the project and to give updates on the status of the approvals process.

The office also has some artistic flair as we’ve partnered with the Sorelle Gallery to showcase local art. Artwork will be rotated monthly and highlights the many local artists in our community.

Initially, the office hours will vary with members of the GGP team available by appointment. Permanent office hours will be established in the near future. However, feel free to stop by as there is a good chance someone will be available to speak with you!

If you would like to stop by, say hello and get an update please contact Diedra Davis at (203) 529-4861 or Rob Jakubik at (203) 529-4862.


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General Growth Properties opens outreach office for The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 11/17/2015

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties (GGP) this week opened an outreach office in the heart of SoNo to inform people about The SoNo Collection.

"It's a place for residents and community members to walk in and ask questions and learn more about the project," said GGP Development Associate Rob Jakubik. "Ultimately, we hope to have a model that will be available here and renderings as well."

The SoNo Collection Outreach Office is located at 119 Washington St. Initially, the office hours will vary with members of the GGP team available by appointment. GGP ultimately plans to staff the office full time.

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November 2015 Project Update

on 11/04/2015

Thank you for your interest in The SoNo Collection, a proposed retail-based, mixed-use center in Norwalk, CT. The SoNo Collection site plan includes 700,000 square feet of retail space, including anchor stores Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's, a boutique hotel and public realm community space. Our company, General Growth Properties (GGP), is the project developer.

Our team at GGP would like to provide you with an update on several significant developments that have occurred in the approval process over the past month.

On October 5, the Planning Committee of the Norwalk Common Council approved and referred to the full Common Council, the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA), also known as the “business terms” and accompanying Conceptual Master Site Plan (CMSP) for The SoNo Collection. The approval was subject to 16 conditions recommended by the Redevelopment Agency and its design consultants, including that the overpass above North Water Street include no parking and that it extend no more than 260 feet.

We agreed to make the necessary concessions to satisfy all but two of the 16 conditions, which pertained to the overpass and parking. The parking and overpass design dimensions contained in the amended Site Plan are necessary to connect Bloomingdale’s on the south side of North Water Street to the rest of The SoNo Collection. However, over numerous conversations and negotiations with the City, we offered to reduce the area from 450 feet to 303 feet.

Despite our efforts, on October 13 the Norwalk Common Council approved the LDA and CMSP as presented by the Planning Committee, including the two conditions that we could not accommodate. We were disappointed because we satisfied virtually every request the City and the Agency made to modify our plan. In a final attempt, we met with the City and their consultants to find a solution and were ultimately successful in producing language that allows for the project to move to the next phase of approvals.

On October 27, the Common Council unanimously approved an amended LDA, CMSP and Urban Renewal Plan (URP), that includes the provision that the Agency will select a planning/architectural firm to collaborate with GGP on design review. They also took the unprecedented step of inserting the Council into the design review of the area underneath the overpass visible to pedestrians.

On October 29, in a unanimous vote, the Redevelopment Agency Commissioners approved the revised LDA and CMSP and made mutually agreeable amendments to the URP.

After 10 months of discussion, more than 20 meetings and several in-depth information-gathering sessions with the public, we applaud the City of Norwalk for moving the project forward. Strong support from local residents and business owners was critically important.

A high-quality shopping destination on this site will create a vibrant and exciting hub of activity, and serve as a strong foundation for future economic growth in Norwalk. GGP is committed to building a center that complements existing retail and entertainment offerings and attracts visitors from around the region. We strongly believe that this project will be transformative for Norwalk, creating thousands of jobs and generating significant tax revenue.

With the LDA, CMSP, and URP approved, GGP has committed to immediately engaging the City’s design review consultant so that we can begin the design process. It is important to recognize that while the project has made tremendous strides, many layers of City and State approval remain before we can start construction and ultimately bring this project to fruition.

We expect to submit our site plan to the Department of Planning and Zoning before the end of this year and, if the plan is approved, start construction in the first half of 2016.

We value your input and will keep you apprised of meetings, opportunities to provide feedback and ways to lend your support to this project.

Thank you for your continued support.


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Norwalk Redevelopment greenlights The SoNo Collection

Nancy On Norwalk on 10/30/2015

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling had three words Thursday about the mall: “It’s a go.”
The Redevelopment Agency voted unanimously Thursday evening to approve the revisions to the LDA (Land Disposition Agreement for the 95/7 site, the business terms and Concept Master Site Plan, and the urban renewal plan, both of which were approved by the Common Council Tuesday. That’s the last major hurdle for General Growth Properties (GGP) in its desire to build The SoNo Collection, Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) said.

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SoNo Collection clears last hurdle before Zoning Commission review

The Hour on 10/29/2015

NORWALK -- Mall developer General Growth Properties (GGP) on Thursday evening received the last set of approvals it needs to submit a development application and detailed site plan for The SoNo Collection.
"Mr. Chairman, commissioners, I'm happy to indicate to you that you are the final approval relative to The SoNo Collection advancing forward and being able to go into final design and submit to the zoning (department) for site plan review," Norwalk Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Timothy T. Sheehan told Redevelopment commissioners before the vote.

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Norwalk Common Council approves GGP overpass

The Hour on 10/27/2015

NORWALK — The Common Council on Tuesday evening granted SoNo Collection developer General Growth Properties’ (GGP) request to build a 303-foot overpass above North Water Street and include parking within it.

But as part of the approval, council members stipulated that they and an architectural firm will have a role in how the area beneath the overpass looks to pedestrians.

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GGP enlists support for The SoNo Collection

Nancy On Norwalk on 10/08/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – Upbeat feelings about a possible mall in SoNo were stoked Wednesday by developers looking for support at next week’s Norwalk Common Council meeting, where the fate of the project may be decided.

“In essence, we would love for all of you to come out and express your opinion on the project if you like what you heard tonight,” General Growth Properties Associate Developer Rob Jakubik said at the GGP town hall in the South Norwalk branch library. “Obviously we are going to take your input under consideration as we go through design review.”

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Residents offer suggestions for SoNo Collection during meeting at South Norwalk Library

The Hour on 10/08/2015

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties (GGP) pitched and received feedback on its plans for The SoNo Collection during an informational meeting at the South Norwalk Library on Wednesday evening.

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Norwalk weighs in on proposed SoNo Collection

Nancy on Norwalk on 09/18/2015

NORWALK, Conn. — Time to reverse that old Norwalk paradigm, according to Patsy Brescia.
“I like to think that we are going to become that jelly in the doughnut. We are going to have a wonderful jelly doughnut and the rest of Fairfield County is going to be quite jealous of us,” Brescia said Tuesday to the Joint Mall Committee, calling the possibility of a high-end mall in SoNo a “major opportunity to enhance the lifestyle of our community.”

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Most seemed in favor of The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 09/18/2015

To the Editor: I had an opportunity to attend the meeting at City Hall regarding a pending project called the SoNo Collection (to be located immediately next to I-95 in Norwalk on West Ave). It's a high end shopping center, being proposed to the city with A+ retailers including Bloomingdales and Nordstroms, plus 80-100 smaller retailers.

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GGP Updates Public, Receives Largely Positive Feedback on The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 09/09/2015

NORWALK -- Ensure proper security, bring some good restaurants, resolve concerns about delivery trucks and don't be discouraged by the review process.
Those were among residents' suggestions for General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) as the Chicago-based mall developer updated the public on its proposed regional shopping center mall for the 95/7 site during a meeting at Norwalk Community College Wednesday evening.

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Norwalk finally reveals proposed business terms with mall developer

Nancy on Norwalk on 09/03/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – The proposed business terms between Norwalk and The SoNo Collection calls for the developer to give the city $1 million up front for “air rights” and other easements, as well as making sure Norwalk gets property tax income from the $300 million projects as soon as it is built.
Norwalk would, in the proposed agreement, for every year of the first seven years, reap 50 percent of the property taxes assessed for the mall that General Growth Properties (GGP) would build on the 95/7 site. This differs from the current terms of the Enterprise Zone that GGP inherited when it bought the site from Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, which call for no tax payments in the first two years and then a gradual increase over the next five years.

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SoNo Collection Barbecue Draws Crowds For Food, Fun

Norwalk Daily Voice on 08/24/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – General Growth Properties (GGP) hosted members of the Norwalk community at a barbecue Wednesday evening to celebrate summer and hear the latest updates on the proposed SoNo Collection mall project.
Nearly 100 people from several Norwalk neighborhoods partook in the good food and fun times at the Plaza at 50 Washington Street, and also used the event as an opportunity to discuss the project and share their thoughts.

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Norwalk’s Human Services Council Helps Get Kids Ready For School

Norwalk Daily Voice on 08/22/2015

NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk Human Services Council , along with several sponsors, helped make a success of Washington Village's Family Day on Friday, with a handout of backpacks and school supplies, along with food and fun for the whole family.
"Everything is donated. Donors include the First County Bank, the First Niagara Bank, HEI Hotel and Resorts, as well as individuals, and GGP also paid for an ice cream truck to come out," said Carlos Reinoso Jr., director of the Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition of the Human Services Council.

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A Better South Norwalk Hosts Community Day

Norwalk Daily Voice on 08/21/2015

NORWALK, Conn. -- A Better South Norwalk community members will be hosting the Fourth Annual South Norwalk Community Day on Saturday, Aug. 22 from 2 to 6 p.m. with a rain date on Aug. 29.
The event will take place at Ryan Park in South Norwalk. The event is aimed at bringing South Norwalk residents, business owners, community leaders, and community stakeholders together. The event this year will focus on community health and establishing and promoting youth interest in team sports.

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SoNo Collection Community Barbecue Draws Large Crowd to Share in Food, Fun and Ideas

on 08/20/2015

Norwalk, CT – August 20, 2015— On Wednesday, August 19th, General Growth Properties (GGP) hosted members of the Norwalk community at a barbecue to celebrate summer and hear the latest updates on the proposed SoNo Collection mall project. The event took place at 6:00 p.m. at the Plaza at 50 Washington Street in Norwalk.

Nearly 100 people from several Norwalk neighborhoods partook in the good food and fun times, also using the event as an opportunity to discuss the project and share their thoughts.

“It was great to see so many people here tonight.” said Doug Adams, Senior Director of GGP Norwalk. “It’s nice to have the opportunity to get people’s feedback in a laid back and fun environment.”

At the barbecue, guests enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs from Outdoor Cookers, and enjoyed the sounds of Djneeshnyce.

“I am excited that this project will not only boost Norwalk's economy but will provide much needed jobs for the residents of Norwalk, said Norwalk resident, Eva Beau. “This event is another example of GGP taking the time to listen to the voice of the Community which is key in obtaining our support.”

General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.


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City should OK mall plan to allow developer to meet timeline

Nancy on Norwalk on 08/05/2015

To the Editor,
We wholeheartedly support Senator Duff’s appeal to the City of Norwalk to move this project expeditiously through the approval process. As SoNo’s largest property owner, we believe the SoNo Collection will enhance the community and create value for the city, its residents, local businesses and stakeholders.
We are writing to respectfully urge the Mayor and the City of Norwalk to take all the necessary steps needed to meet the timeline that GGP has requested. The project represents a rare and unique development opportunity with a highly experienced developer. GGP has already secured two premier retailers, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, to anchor the proposed center. In addition, GGP’s relationships with national brands will bring new and exciting retail options to our city. The long term benefits to residents and local businesses will be tremendous.

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Duff Urges Norwalk To Approve SoNo Collection Project

Norwalk Daily Voice on 08/05/2015

NORWALK, Conn. — State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) recently urged the Norwalk Common Council and Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to approve the proposed Norwalk retail development dubbed The SoNo Collection.

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City should OK mall plan to allow developer to meet timeline

Nancy on Norwalk on 08/05/2015

To the Editor,
We wholeheartedly support Senator Duff’s appeal to the City of Norwalk to move this project expeditiously through the approval process. As SoNo’s largest property owner, we believe the SoNo Collection will enhance the community and create value for the city, its residents, local businesses and stakeholders.

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Support for SoNo Collection

The Hour on 08/04/2015

To the Editor:
We wholeheartedly support Senator Duff’s appeal to the City of Norwalk to move this project (SoNo Collection) expeditiously through the approval process. As Sono’s largest property owner, we believe the Sono Collection will enhance the community and create value for the city, its residents, local businesses and stakeholders.
We are writing to respectfully urge the Mayor and the City of Norwalk to take all the necessary steps needed to meet the timeline that GGP has requested. The project represents a rare and unique development opportunity with a highly experienced developer. GGP has already secured two premier retailers, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, to anchor the proposed center. In addition, GGP’s relationships with national brands will bring new and exciting retail options to our city. The long term benefits to residents and local businesses will be tremendous.

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It’s time to expedite The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 08/02/2015

So, there is a billion dollar deal on the line for Norwalk, lets not screw it up.
The forward momentum of the SoNo Collection, a proposed 700,000-plus square foot mall off I-95, now sits in the hands of city officials. Let's not let egos or grand standing get in the way of the project continuing to move forward.

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Duff lends support to expedited review, approval of SoNo Mall

The Hour on 08/01/2015

NORWALK -- Citing tax revenues and jobs at stake, state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said Friday that now is the "time to approve the SoNo Mall."
In a statement, Duff, D-25, urged the Norwalk Common Council and Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to "take affirmative steps during the month of August and approve, without further delay, the proposed Norwalk retail development, dubbed The SoNo Collection."

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Duff to Norwalk: Time to get off the pot and OK the mall

Nancy on Norwalk on 08/01/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – The time for talk is over, Norwalk’s State Sen. Bob Duff said Friday, calling on the Redevelopment Agency and the Common Council to move forward with approvals for The SoNo Collection, the proposed West Avenue upscale mall.
“I respect the time and effort that members of the Common Council and Norwalk Redevelopment Agency have put into making the initial proposal by the developers a better one, but now it’s time to move from concept and conversation to shovels in the ground,” Duff said in a statement emailed to the media. “August is a very important month for the project’s timeline and proposed opening. It’s time to say ‘yes.’”

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Norwalker: SoNo mall would be ‘highest best use’ even with ‘tunnel

Nancy on Norwalk on 07/27/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – Times change and so do urban land economics, Ernie DesRochers said.
“This is not your grandfather’s Norwalk mall,” DesRochers said, of the developing proposal for The SoNo Collection. “In fact, there are only a few properties in the U.S. that approach the high-end concept that is being proposed to you. … The SoNo Collection represents a 2015 vision of what that site can be, not a 2005 or a 1995 or an 1885 vision.”

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Report Finds SoNo Development Will Deliver Jobs, Tax Revenue To Norwalk

Norwalk Daily Voice on 07/06/2015

NORWALK, Conn. — General Growth Properties has revealed there will be key economic impacts as a result of the proposed 95/7 project, now known as The SoNo Collection, according to a press release.
The information was gathered from an economic report prepared by HR&A Advisors Inc., a leading real estate, economic development and public policy consulting firm. The report summarizes the significant economic benefits the project would deliver to the City of Norwalk and the state, including job creation and increased tax revenue, according to a press release.

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General Growth Properties pitches jobs, property tax benefits of proposed 95/7 mall

The Hour on 06/25/2015

NORWALK -- The 95/7 mall will create 2,600 full-time jobs and bring Norwalk more than $40 million in property taxes over a 15-year-period, according to an economic analysis released by the developer.
On Thursday, General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) released the highlights of an economic report prepared by HR&A Advisors Inc., a real estate, economic development and public policy consulting firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

View Original Source

The SoNo Collection Delivers Jobs & Tax Revenue

on 06/25/2015

Norwalk, Connecticut, June 25, 2015— General Growth Properties (GGP) today revealed key economic impacts as a result of the proposed 95/7 project, now known as The SoNo Collection. The information was gathered from an economic report prepared by HR&A Advisors Inc., a leading real estate, economic development and public policy consulting firm. The report summarizes the significant economic benefits that the project would deliver to the City of Norwalk and the State of Connecticut, including job creation and increased tax revenue.

The findings conclude that The SoNo Collection will create an anticipated 1,900 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs over the 30 month construction phase alone. Most of the jobs will be concentrated in the construction sector, but will also benefit a diverse range of supporting industries, including architecture, real estate, healthcare and retail. After construction of the project the ongoing retail and hotel operations will support 2,600 FTE jobs, the majority of which will be in Norwalk.

In addition to job growth, the report highlights key benefits to Norwalk taxpayers. The project is expected to generate over $5 million in city building permit fees, and would become the third largest taxpayer in the city, once the Enterprise Zone deferred assessment for real estate property tax expires. It is expected that the project will generate over $40 million of taxes to the city over a 15 year period. The site currently produces approximately $150,000 in annual city tax revenues and, if left undeveloped, would only generate $1.6 million over the same 15 year period.

The report analyzed the project’s economic impacts using IMPLAN, a nationally recognized input-output model that studies interactions between 440 industries. Specifically, the report examined the one-time impacts from construction, as well as the ongoing impacts from the operations of the retail and hotel uses.

General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.


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Norwalk Developers Seek To Connect City With Trolley

Norwalk Daily Voice on 05/28/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – Developers of major retail and housing projects along West Avenue in Norwalk are seeking federal money to create a trolley system that would connect the city and make moving around much easier for residents, workers and visitors alike.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy hosted a round-table discussion Wednesday with representatives of the city, the Norwalk Transit District, Belpointe Capital, which is developing the Waypointe project, and General Growth Properties, which is developing the 95/7 mall . They discussed the developers’ application for a $14 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, which would be used to support the building of pedestrian-friendly and public transportation projects.

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“Norwalk Rising:” Developers tout Norwalk’s growth to real estate professionals

The Hour on 05/26/2015

STAMFORD — Norwalk is ready to shed its small-town image and step out from the shadow of Stamford, local developers said Tuesday afternoon at a meeting of the Real Estate Finance Association Fairfield/Westchester Chapter held at Stamford Marriott.
“We want to make people aware that Norwalk is no longer the hole in the doughnut,” Clay Fowler, principal of Norwalk-based Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, told The Hour after the meeting. “The hole is full of wheat and yeast and is rising.”

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SoNo renaissance continues: Commercial real estate co. seeing boost in area interest

The Hour on 05/23/2015

NORWALK — “For lease” signs have been popping up in windows all along Washington Street, but those multiple vacancies won’t be that way for long according to one local, commercial real estate broker who is seeing a new dawn in SoNo and a number of new lessees willing to put pen to paper.
Rick Leeds, of Simon David Real Estate, whose office is listing some of the commercial properties on Washington, is seeing a resurgence of interest in the area.

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GGP names mall ‘The SoNo Collection’

The Hour on 05/20/2015

NORWALK — General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) unveiled Wednesday the name for its proposed regional shopping center for the 95/7 development site in Norwalk: “The SoNo Collection.”
“We see SoNo as an existing collection of great assets and we see ourselves, in bringing Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, as adding to that collection,” said Douglas T. Adams, GGP senior director. “This is an opportunity to market ourselves, the entire SoNo district and all of Norwalk in one name.”

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GGP Names Mall ‘The SoNo Collection’

The Hour on 05/20/2015

NORWALK — General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) unveiled Wednesday the name for its proposed regional shopping center for the 95/7 development site in Norwalk: “The SoNo Collection.”

“We see SoNo as an existing collection of great assets and we see ourselves, in bringing Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, as adding to that collection,” said Douglas T. Adams, GGP senior director. “This is an opportunity to market ourselves, the entire SoNo district and all of Norwalk in one name.”

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GGP touts sustainable building award, vows energy-saving construction for 95/7 mall

The Hour on 05/18/2015

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) vowed Monday to incorporate sustainable building and construction standards into its proposed regional shopping center for the 95/7 development site in Norwalk.
"GGP's sustainability and energy efficiency plans for its 95/7 project are in line with the Norwalk Mayor's Energy and Environment Task Force stated goal of, 'focusing on sustainable building and construction standards,'" GGP said in a statement Monday. "The company plans to incorporate the sustainable practices outlined in the report, such as energy efficient heating, cooling, lighting, water usage, equipment and waste management, into the project's building designs."

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GGP Issues 2015 Sustainability Report

on 05/05/2015

Norwalk, Connecticut (May 18, 2015) – Earlier this month, GGP released its 2015 Sustainability Report detailing the company’s achievements in sustainability during the past year. The report focuses on GGP’s approach to environmental and social responsibility and its commitment to increasing opportunities for building efficiencies. Among these opportunities is the development of the proposed 95/7 project in Norwalk.

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Norwalk chamber crowd applauds mall proposal

Westfair Online on 04/10/2015

Chamber President and CEO Ed Musante says the time has come to remove obstacles and build the mall.

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Bloomingdale’s commits as second anchor for 95/7 mall in Norwalk

The Hour on 03/31/2015

NORWALK — Upscale department store chain Bloomingdale’s has committed itself as the second anchor tenant in General Growth Properties, Inc.’s (GGP) proposed regional shopping mall for the 95/7 site in Norwalk, according to officials.
Last month, Nordstrom, Inc., another upscale retailer, announced that it had committed to the regional shopping center that is now under review by the city.

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Bloomingdale’s would join Nordstrom as SoNo mall anchors; news gets warm reaction

Nancy on Norwalk on 03/31/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – Bloomingdale’s is coming to Norwalk – assuming the city approves the expected proposal by General Growth Properties to build a shopping mall on West Avenue adjacent to I-95.
The announcement was made Tuesday morning by Bloomingdale’s parent company, Macy’s Inc., via press release.
It would be the only Bloomingdale’s location in Connecticut.

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Bloomingdale’s To Open New Store In Norwalk, CT

on 03/31/2015

CINCINNATI, Ohio, March 31, 2015 – Macy’s, Inc. today announced that Bloomingdale’s plans to open a 150,000-square-foot, three-level location in fall 2018 in an all-new shopping, dining and entertainment center being developed in Norwalk, CT, by General Growth Properties (GGP).

The Bloomingdale’s store will include a wide assortment of designer and luxury goods, including women’s apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty, men’s, kids and home. Bloomingdale’s Norwalk store is expected to employ a workforce of approximately 200 associates.

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GGP’s plans for mall clear early hurdle

The Hour on 03/19/2015

NORWALK — Elected and appointed officials on Thursday evening laid the ground work for General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) to develop plans for a regional shopping center at the 95/7 site in Norwalk.
After discussion, members of the Common Council’s Planning Committee and the Norwalk Redevelopment Commission voted unanimously to advance recommended land uses and square-footage ranges for the dozen-acre development site off West Avenue and Interstate 95.

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SoNo mall given ‘strong support’ in first chance for Norwalkers to weigh in

Nancy on Norwalk on 03/17/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – It was a good night Monday for the developers who want to build a mall in SoNo – most of the people speaking to the government officials who can advance the project said positive things.
“We were really pleased for a couple of reasons,” said General Growth Properties Senior Developer Doug Adams after 24 people spoke to the Common Council Planning Committee and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency. “It’s really good to hear firsthand from the public … and there were people out tonight that we don’t always hear from. It’s always good for me to know that the decision-makers are hearing from the public and we felt it was a pretty overwhelming show of support from the people that, again, we don’t always hear from. The comments from folks that had concerns or questions we thought were all reasonable and worthy of discussion, so overall good meeting.”

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Proposed mall will be fully vetted before getting the green light

Nancy on Norwalk on 03/11/2015

To the Editor:
Much progress has been made recently on the 95/7 regional mall development proposed by GGP for the Reed Putnam parcel along West Avenue in Norwalk.
The Ad-Hoc Committee, composed of members of the Common Council, the Redevelopment Agency, and Planning Commission who were tasked with evaluating the existing Land Disposition Agreement (LDA), has recommended changes to the LDA to the permitted uses and square footage that will allow for the proposed Concept Master Site Plan to move forward. Also, Nordstrom, a leading national fashion specialty retailer, recently committed to be one of two retail anchors for the center. What a great addition to the Norwalk business community and to the City as a whole!

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Proposed SoNo mall concept moves ahead with ‘significant’ improvement of Norwalk process

Nancy on Norwalk on 03/02/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – SoNo’s proposed mall cleared its first hurdle Saturday as the Joint Committee agreed on recommendations to send back to its respective bodies for approval, in a far cry from the schizophrenic Norwalk process in the past.
“You are creating a vibrant, exciting urban core,” Attorney Larry Cafero, representing General Growth Properties, said to the members of the Common Council Planning Committee, the Redevelopment Agency and the Planning Commission who had come out Saturday morning. “… Maybe by accident, maybe by coincidence, the kind of dream that we all, and certainly you guys have as decision makers, is coming. We’re almost there. If we are lucky enough to be part of this it is just an incredibly exciting thing done the right way for Norwalk.”

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Rilling backs mall plan, says existing circumstances changed his mind

Nancy on Norwalk on 03/02/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – They say a leopard can’t change is spots, but no one ever said a mayor can’t change his mind. And that, apparently, is exactly what has happened.
When Mayor Harry Rilling was candidate Harry Rilling in 2013, he said on more than one occasion that, while he wanted to get development in action at the various bombsites around the city, he was against the idea of a mall for the 95/7 property.
While the mayor does have the bully pulpit, he has no role in the approval process.

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Review panel recommends land uses, square footages for 95/7 mall proposal

The Hour on 03/02/2015

NORWALK — An ad-hoc panel has ratcheted up retail and dialed back office space, but left flexibility in its recommendation regarding General Growth Properties, Inc.’s (GGP) proposed regional mall for the 95/7 site.
“What we tried to come out of it with is based on the (market) studies and reports,” said Felix R. Serrano, Norwalk Redevelopment Agency chairman and panel member. “We updated it for today’s environment and, obviously, with regards to the office, we ratcheted down the maximum (square footage) significantly. With retail, we’ve put in the ranges relative to a specific request.”

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City Consultant: Don’t Build New Office Space

on 02/27/2015

NORWALK, Conn. (February 27, 2015) – An updated report examining the current state of the Class “A” office market in Norwalk was recently submitted by CBRE Group, a leading commercial real estate market analyst hired by the city of Norwalk, to the Joint Committee studying the proposed “95/7” project. The Joint Committee is a combination of Norwalk Planning Commission, Common Council Planning Committee and Norwalk Redevelopment Agency members.

CBRE’s report to the City of Norwalk concludes that existing market conditions do not justify new office construction. The report examines several factors, including new construction costs, financing, delivery time, vacant inventory, Merritt 7, and area competition.

One factor to note, Class A office space in Norwalk currently rents at an average of $32 per square foot; Stamford commands slightly higher rents of $38 per square foot, while Greenwich commands significantly higher rents at $71 per square foot. CBRE’s report affirms that new construction costs today necessitate rents in the high-$40’s to mid-$60’s and involve a waiting period.

The analysis of the commercial office market in the greater Norwalk area was requested as the Committee considers a proposed change to the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for the 95/7 parcel. The site is currently entitled for up to 1.1 million square feet of mixed-use development, with 600,000 square feet dedicated to office use.

Given that the vacancy rate for Norwalk Class A space is currently 16.3%, with 734,000 square feet of inventory vacant, General Growth Properties (GGP) believes the development of a mixed-use project that includes office space is not viable in the near or intermediate-term.

GGP remains confident that the best way to utilize the site is a mix of retail, hotel, and public realm uses. Though primarily a high end retail fashion center, the project will include public plazas, education space, public common areas, restaurants and a select service luxury boutique hotel. The center will create nearly 2,600 ongoing jobs – 2,285 of which will be in Norwalk – at an average salary of $41,700. Located within an Enterprise Zone, the center will generate a projected $5 million in annual city tax revenue and more than $5 million in City permit fees.

General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.


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Malloy backs 95/7 mall; GGP cites market study

The Hour on 02/27/2015

NORWALK -- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday lent his support to the regional shopping center that has been proposed for the 95/7 site in Norwalk.
In a statement, Malloy welcomed news that retailer Nordstrom, Inc., had committed itself as an anchor tenant in the proposed 1.1 million square foot mall.

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Nordstrom To Open In Norwalk, Conn.

PR Newswire on 02/26/2015

SEATTLE- Seattle-based Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN), a leading fashion specialty retailer, today announced plans to open a full-line store in the new regional shopping center in Norwalk, Conn. being developed by General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP). The three-level, approximately 150,000 square-foot store is scheduled to open in fall 2018 and will be the company's second full-line store in the state. The company opened its first Nordstrom in Connecticut in 1997 near Hartford at Westfarms Mall in Farmington.

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GGP: Nordstrom commits to Norwalk shopping center project

The Hour on 02/26/2015

NORWALK — Upscale fashion retailer Nordstrom, Inc., has committed itself to 150,000 square feet within General Growth Properties, Inc.’s (GGP) proposed regional shopping center for the 95/7 property in Norwalk, according to officials from both organizations.
"I hope that the community is as excited as I am about Nordstrom committing to Norwalk," said GGP Senior Director Douglas T. Adams. "GGP understands we are still in the city approval process, but this is an important step forward to making the project a reality."

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Nordstrom To Open In Norwalk, CT

on 02/25/2015

SEATTLE (FEBRUARY 25, 2015) - Seattle-based Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN), a leading fashion specialty retailer, today announced plans to open a full-line store in the new regional shopping center in Norwalk, CT being developed by General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP). The three-level, approximately 150,000 square-foot store is scheduled to open in fall 2018 and will be the company’s second full-line store in the state. The company opened its first Nordstrom in Connecticut in 1997 near Hartford at Westfarms Mall in Farmington.

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Greater Norwalk Chamber throws its support behind GGP’s mall proposal

The Hour on 02/19/2015

NORWALK -- A little more than a week after a group of local politicians expressed support for the proposed retail development at the 95/7 site in South Norwalk, the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce is throwing its weight behind the project.

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GGP 95/7 Proposal Earns Norwalk Chamber Endorsement

on 02/12/2015

Norwalk, Connecticut, February 12th, 2015— General Growth Properties, Inc. (GGP) is pleased to receive the unanimous endorsement of its development proposal from the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce. Established in 1889, the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce has long been committed to the economic vitality of Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Weston, Westport and Wilton. Their endorsement of the project is important to GGP.

This vote of confidence from Greater Norwalk businesses, both large and small, reinforces GGP’s commitment to build a high-quality shopping destination complements existing retail and entertainment offerings and attract visitors from around the region.

GGP’s proposal creates a vibrant, exciting, and eclectic hub of activity, which will serve as a strong foundation for future economic growth in Norwalk. Though primarily a high end retail fashion center, the project will include public plazas, education space, public common areas, restaurants and a select service luxury boutique hotel.

If approved, the benefits to Norwalk taxpayers will be significant. The center will create nearly 2,600 ongoing jobs – 2,285 of which will be in Norwalk – at an average salary of $41,700. Located within an Enterprise Zone, the center will generate a projected $5 million in annual city tax revenue and more than $5 million in City permit fees.

General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.


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The time is now for 95/7

Nancy on Norwalk on 02/10/2015

To the Editor:
It has been called “The Field of Flowers,” “The big dirt patch on West Avenue,” and “The land of missed opportunities.”
We are referring to the 12-acre parcel on West Avenue, officially known as Parcels 1, 2 & 4 of the Reed Putnam District or 95/7. Millions of state and local taxpayer dollars have gone into improving the infrastructure in and around the site, but, despite the best efforts of previous developers, nothing has been built there for over 20 years.

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GGP makes donation to BMHS marching band

The Hour on 02/06/2015

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties (GGP), which is proposing to build a regional shopping center at the 95/7 site in South Norwalk, earlier this week made a $2,500 donation to the Brien McMahon High School marching band. The check was presented to band members and staff at the school.
The donation was made to help offset the financial loss incurred by the Senators' music program when a power outage forced it to cancel a portion of its Celebration of Sound last fall. The program had to refund fees to participating bands and attendees. GGP Senior Director Douglas T. Adams and state Sen. Bob Duff, D-25, who alerted GGP to the band's plight, were on hand for the check passing ceremony.

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Brien McMahon HS Band Receives Donation

It's Relevant on 02/04/2015

The Brien McMahon Senators lost a lot of potential income after a power outage forced high school officials to cancel the remaining portion of the Marching Band's largest annual fundraiser, the "Celebration of Sound," back in September.
Wednesday morning, General Growth Properties donated $2,500 to help the band make up for the loss of revenue.

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Mall Joint Committee recommends new land uses for 95/7 – think ‘retail’

Nancy on Norwalk on 02/02/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – A basic concept plan that would allow a mall to be built on the 95/7 site is moving forward through Norwalk government.
The Joint Committee – a collaboration of the Planning Commission, the Redevelopment Agency and the Common Council Planning Committee – defined square footage ranges Saturday morning for various uses on the West Avenue property now owned by General Growth Properties (GGP), to include a hotel, public space and a whole lot of retail.

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Consultant: Mall would be a boon to SoNo

Nancy on Norwalk on 01/26/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – A properly executed mall design would be a boon to most businesses in SoNo, according to an urban planning consultant hired by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency.
“The mall should create a tremendous demand for the existing businesses and restaurants near it,” said Robert Gibbs at Saturday’s Joint Committee meeting in City Hall, where leaders of the Redevelopment Agency, the Common Council Planning Committee and the Planning Commission met with representatives of General Growth Partners (GGP) for what Councilman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) called “contract negotiations” for the long-vacant 95/7 site.

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GGP exec: SoNo mall would stuff Norwalk’s coffers

Nancy on Norwalk on 12/29/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – If General Growth Properties (GGP) is allowed to build a mall in South Norwalk, that mall, in its third year, would deliver more than $2.8 million in tax revenue to Norwalk, according to a third-party projection – and that projection does not include the hotel proposed for the property, GGP Senior Director of Development and Municipal Analysis Doug Adams said.
The paperwork shuffling has begun for the mall project, with the Dec. 8 submission to the Redevelopment Agency and the city of the proposed amendment to the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for the property, which comprises Reed Putnam Urban Renewal Area parcels 1, 2, and 4. The requested amendments include said hotel and the approval to put a mini-electric generation plant on the property.

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Office space seen going the way of dinosaurs for Fairfield Co.

Nancy on Norwalk on 10/27/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – The lack of validity of putting office space on the highly visible piece of Norwalk property now owned by a mall developer is shown by the problems brewing in Norden Park, Ernie DesRochers said.
While the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for the 95/7 site calls for 600,000 square feet of office space, many people say there isn’t much of a market in Fairfield County for it. DesRochers has concrete evidence – the departure of Northrop Grumman from Norden Place is likely to cause a $72.9 million loan to go into default, according to an article posted last week on Commercial Real Estate Direct.

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GGP to Norwalk: Reports of the death of malls are greatly exaggerated

Nancy on Norwalk on 10/20/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – The hottest trend in online marketing these days is to open up an old-fashioned bricks and mortar store, according to the Financial Post.
That sentiment was one cited by Doug Adams of GGP (General Growth Properties) last week as he tried to assure members of the West Norwalk Association that the age of the mall is not dead.

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The Proposal: SoNo Mall

New Canaan & Darien Magazine on 08/29/2014

Ah, the shopping mall – it houses the sacred milestone for our preteen selves: trying on outfits in Hollister and Forever21 for the first time without nagging parents by our sides. It’s the wonderland of the intoxicating smell of cinnamon pretzel contraptions. And it’s the exquisite kingdom for the high school queen bee in basically every ‘90s flick.
Malls are a means of bringing people together, and no one understands this better than Douglas T. Adams, the senior director of General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP). The company is currently laying the conceptual groundwork for a 700,000-square-foot shopping center to be built in South Norwalk. The mall hopes to bring in between 75 to 100 restaurants and shops to the site off of West Avenue, Interstate 95, and the Route 7 Connector.

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Norwalk mall developer pitches synergy with ‘SoNo Walking Map’

The Hour on 07/28/2014

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties, Inc., is reaching deep into the community to pitch its plan for a regional shopping center at the 95/7 site in South Norwalk.
"SoNo Walking Map -- A Street Level Guide" is the most recent effort of the Chicago-based mall developer to establish synergy with existing businesses and organizations.

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GGP’s mall pitch reaches one SoNo businessman and one enthusiastic retiree

Nancy on Norwalk on 07/15/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – Sallie Marsico’s expertise about malls is admittedly dated, but she is bullish on the General Growth Properties (GGP) plan to put a mall in South Norwalk.
“I for one was very pleased that you were involved here,” Marsico said to GGP representatives Monday. “When I retired from the shopping center industry a number of years ago I had gone to the Redevelopment Agency and I said I have some expertise in this… so I was hired as a consultant for a while and made some small contributions in South Norwalk. But I wasn’t there very long. At the time they were married to the idea of hotels and office, and I knew that wasn’t going to happen. So I thought ‘Well, I’ll go do something else until somebody figures out what really needs to go here is a shopping mall.’ So thank you for coming, in my opinion, in my humble opinion.”

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GGP plans ‘right-sized’ mall to enhance, not compete with, SoNo

Nancy on Norwalk on 06/12/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – The brains behind the effort to put a mall in South Norwalk have been shopping their concept around, emphasizing ideas to encourage pedestrians to come in and go out and predicting that they can bring a million people a month to the struggling area.
Imagine, said Doug Adams of General Growth Properties (GGP), if just 5 percent of those people spilled out of the unfortress-like structure and visited the nearby Stepping Stones Museum for Children, the Maritime Aquarium or SoNo.

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GGP: 95/7 mall would enhance, not compete with SoNo businesses

The Hour on 07/14/2014

NORWALK -- A SoNo restaurateur and a retired retail leasing agent on Monday welcomed a conceptual plan for a regional shopping mall on the 95/7 development site off Interstate 95 and West Avenue.
"Initially, we were a little skeptical. Is it going to become one of those destination malls where people come and get back in their car and go?" said Ollie O'Neill, owner of O'Neill's Pub & Restaurant at 93 North Main St. "But it seems like it is more than that and it seems like it can connect with South Norwalk. And us being so close, 1,200 employees clocking out every evening may want to go get a bite to eat in SoNo. It can only help us."

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Consultant to Norwalk: The right mall would help SoNo

Nancy on Norwalk on 05/06/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – The science of parking and designing retail centers – also known, in some cases, as malls – was shared with Norwalk movers and shakers Monday night by a consultant hired by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency.
To hear Robert Gibbs tell it, a properly designed mall could regenerate SoNo.
“As a rule of thumb, having a strong regional anchor would bring a lot of people here,” Gibbs said to about 50 people gathered in a lobby at 50 Washington St. “Those people would fill your restaurants and your shops. You would probably have better shopping than you do now, if it’s designed well, and I would be really careful about the design. But the new ways they are designing malls are much better than when I was designing them back in the ’90’s.”

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Norwalk Mayor Rilling and Representatives from General Growth Properties Unveil 3-D Model of The SoNo Collection

on 03/18/2016

Norwalk Mayor Rilling and Representatives from General Growth Properties Unveil 3-D Model of The SoNo Collection
Model will be on display in City Hall rotunda to allow for public view and feedback

Norwalk, Connecticut, March 18, 2016 — Mayor Harry Rilling today joined representatives from General Growth Properties (GGP), the developer of The SoNo Collection, to unveil a scale model of the development proposed to be built near the intersections of Interstate 95 and Route 7 in Norwalk. The 1” to 30’ scale model offers residents and stakeholders the opportunity to view a physical representation of the center’s appearance, providing a three-dimensional perspective of both the layout and façade of the structure.

The SoNo Collection is a mixed-use development that calls for 700,000+ square feet of retail space, including anchor stores Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's, as well as 80 to 100 inline retail stores, a 150-room boutique hotel and public realm space on the dozen-acre site off West Avenue and Interstate 95. The development will be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation in Norwalk. The project will support 1,900 construction jobs for 36 months and create 2,500 FTE permanent jobs in retail and hotel operations with an average salary of $41,000.

Mayor Rilling arranged for the model to be on display in the rotunda of Norwalk City Hall so it would be easily accessible to Norwalk residents. The Mayor is encouraging all interested parties to review the model and provide feedback to the developer.

More information on The SoNo Collection is available at SoNoCollection.com.

General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing and redeveloping high-quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.

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Norwalk Mayor Rilling Hosts Signing Ceremony for SoNo Collection Project

on 02/10/2016

Norwalk, Connecticut, February 10, 2016 — Mayor Harry Rilling today hosted a ceremony at Norwalk City Hall to mark the signing of a Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) by the City of Norwalk and General Growth Properties (GGP), the developer of the SoNo Collection. The LDA is a legal document that outlines the approved uses for the parcel of land on which the SoNo Collection will be located. In addition, the agreement contains business terms agreed to by the City of Norwalk, Norwalk Redevelopment Agency and GGP.

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GGP opens storefront Outreach Office in South Norwalk

on 01/01/2016

Happy New Year!

We wanted to let you know that General Growth Properties (GGP), developers of the proposed SoNo Collection has opened a storefront office in the heart of South Norwalk. The SoNo Collection Outreach Office is located at 119 Washington Street.

Our hope is that the office will serve as a resource for members of the community interested in learning more about the SoNo Collection project. Members of the development team will be there to provide information on various aspects of the project and to give updates on the status of the approvals process.

The office also has some artistic flair as we’ve partnered with the Sorelle Gallery to showcase local art. Artwork will be rotated monthly and highlights the many local artists in our community.

Initially, the office hours will vary with members of the GGP team available by appointment. Permanent office hours will be established in the near future. However, feel free to stop by as there is a good chance someone will be available to speak with you!

If you would like to stop by, say hello and get an update please contact Diedra Davis at (203) 529-4861 or Rob Jakubik at (203) 529-4862.

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November 2015 Project Update

on 11/04/2015

Thank you for your interest in The SoNo Collection, a proposed retail-based, mixed-use center in Norwalk, CT. The SoNo Collection site plan includes 700,000 square feet of retail space, including anchor stores Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's, a boutique hotel and public realm community space. Our company, General Growth Properties (GGP), is the project developer.

Our team at GGP would like to provide you with an update on several significant developments that have occurred in the approval process over the past month.

On October 5, the Planning Committee of the Norwalk Common Council approved and referred to the full Common Council, the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA), also known as the “business terms” and accompanying Conceptual Master Site Plan (CMSP) for The SoNo Collection. The approval was subject to 16 conditions recommended by the Redevelopment Agency and its design consultants, including that the overpass above North Water Street include no parking and that it extend no more than 260 feet.

We agreed to make the necessary concessions to satisfy all but two of the 16 conditions, which pertained to the overpass and parking. The parking and overpass design dimensions contained in the amended Site Plan are necessary to connect Bloomingdale’s on the south side of North Water Street to the rest of The SoNo Collection. However, over numerous conversations and negotiations with the City, we offered to reduce the area from 450 feet to 303 feet.

Despite our efforts, on October 13 the Norwalk Common Council approved the LDA and CMSP as presented by the Planning Committee, including the two conditions that we could not accommodate. We were disappointed because we satisfied virtually every request the City and the Agency made to modify our plan. In a final attempt, we met with the City and their consultants to find a solution and were ultimately successful in producing language that allows for the project to move to the next phase of approvals.

On October 27, the Common Council unanimously approved an amended LDA, CMSP and Urban Renewal Plan (URP), that includes the provision that the Agency will select a planning/architectural firm to collaborate with GGP on design review. They also took the unprecedented step of inserting the Council into the design review of the area underneath the overpass visible to pedestrians.

On October 29, in a unanimous vote, the Redevelopment Agency Commissioners approved the revised LDA and CMSP and made mutually agreeable amendments to the URP.

After 10 months of discussion, more than 20 meetings and several in-depth information-gathering sessions with the public, we applaud the City of Norwalk for moving the project forward. Strong support from local residents and business owners was critically important.

A high-quality shopping destination on this site will create a vibrant and exciting hub of activity, and serve as a strong foundation for future economic growth in Norwalk. GGP is committed to building a center that complements existing retail and entertainment offerings and attracts visitors from around the region. We strongly believe that this project will be transformative for Norwalk, creating thousands of jobs and generating significant tax revenue.

With the LDA, CMSP, and URP approved, GGP has committed to immediately engaging the City’s design review consultant so that we can begin the design process. It is important to recognize that while the project has made tremendous strides, many layers of City and State approval remain before we can start construction and ultimately bring this project to fruition.

We expect to submit our site plan to the Department of Planning and Zoning before the end of this year and, if the plan is approved, start construction in the first half of 2016.

We value your input and will keep you apprised of meetings, opportunities to provide feedback and ways to lend your support to this project.

Thank you for your continued support.

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SoNo Collection Community Barbecue Draws Large Crowd to Share in Food, Fun and Ideas

on 08/20/2015

Norwalk, CT – August 20, 2015— On Wednesday, August 19th, General Growth Properties (GGP) hosted members of the Norwalk community at a barbecue to celebrate summer and hear the latest updates on the proposed SoNo Collection mall project. The event took place at 6:00 p.m. at the Plaza at 50 Washington Street in Norwalk.

Nearly 100 people from several Norwalk neighborhoods partook in the good food and fun times, also using the event as an opportunity to discuss the project and share their thoughts.

“It was great to see so many people here tonight.” said Doug Adams, Senior Director of GGP Norwalk. “It’s nice to have the opportunity to get people’s feedback in a laid back and fun environment.”

At the barbecue, guests enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs from Outdoor Cookers, and enjoyed the sounds of Djneeshnyce.

“I am excited that this project will not only boost Norwalk's economy but will provide much needed jobs for the residents of Norwalk, said Norwalk resident, Eva Beau. “This event is another example of GGP taking the time to listen to the voice of the Community which is key in obtaining our support.”

General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.

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The SoNo Collection Delivers Jobs & Tax Revenue

on 06/25/2015

Norwalk, Connecticut, June 25, 2015— General Growth Properties (GGP) today revealed key economic impacts as a result of the proposed 95/7 project, now known as The SoNo Collection. The information was gathered from an economic report prepared by HR&A Advisors Inc., a leading real estate, economic development and public policy consulting firm. The report summarizes the significant economic benefits that the project would deliver to the City of Norwalk and the State of Connecticut, including job creation and increased tax revenue.

The findings conclude that The SoNo Collection will create an anticipated 1,900 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs over the 30 month construction phase alone. Most of the jobs will be concentrated in the construction sector, but will also benefit a diverse range of supporting industries, including architecture, real estate, healthcare and retail. After construction of the project the ongoing retail and hotel operations will support 2,600 FTE jobs, the majority of which will be in Norwalk.

In addition to job growth, the report highlights key benefits to Norwalk taxpayers. The project is expected to generate over $5 million in city building permit fees, and would become the third largest taxpayer in the city, once the Enterprise Zone deferred assessment for real estate property tax expires. It is expected that the project will generate over $40 million of taxes to the city over a 15 year period. The site currently produces approximately $150,000 in annual city tax revenues and, if left undeveloped, would only generate $1.6 million over the same 15 year period.

The report analyzed the project’s economic impacts using IMPLAN, a nationally recognized input-output model that studies interactions between 440 industries. Specifically, the report examined the one-time impacts from construction, as well as the ongoing impacts from the operations of the retail and hotel uses.

General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.

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GGP Issues 2015 Sustainability Report

on 05/05/2015

Norwalk, Connecticut (May 18, 2015) – Earlier this month, GGP released its 2015 Sustainability Report detailing the company’s achievements in sustainability during the past year. The report focuses on GGP’s approach to environmental and social responsibility and its commitment to increasing opportunities for building efficiencies. Among these opportunities is the development of the proposed 95/7 project in Norwalk.

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Bloomingdale’s To Open New Store In Norwalk, CT

on 03/31/2015

CINCINNATI, Ohio, March 31, 2015 – Macy’s, Inc. today announced that Bloomingdale’s plans to open a 150,000-square-foot, three-level location in fall 2018 in an all-new shopping, dining and entertainment center being developed in Norwalk, CT, by General Growth Properties (GGP).

The Bloomingdale’s store will include a wide assortment of designer and luxury goods, including women’s apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty, men’s, kids and home. Bloomingdale’s Norwalk store is expected to employ a workforce of approximately 200 associates.

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City Consultant: Don’t Build New Office Space

on 02/27/2015

NORWALK, Conn. (February 27, 2015) – An updated report examining the current state of the Class “A” office market in Norwalk was recently submitted by CBRE Group, a leading commercial real estate market analyst hired by the city of Norwalk, to the Joint Committee studying the proposed “95/7” project. The Joint Committee is a combination of Norwalk Planning Commission, Common Council Planning Committee and Norwalk Redevelopment Agency members.

CBRE’s report to the City of Norwalk concludes that existing market conditions do not justify new office construction. The report examines several factors, including new construction costs, financing, delivery time, vacant inventory, Merritt 7, and area competition.

One factor to note, Class A office space in Norwalk currently rents at an average of $32 per square foot; Stamford commands slightly higher rents of $38 per square foot, while Greenwich commands significantly higher rents at $71 per square foot. CBRE’s report affirms that new construction costs today necessitate rents in the high-$40’s to mid-$60’s and involve a waiting period.

The analysis of the commercial office market in the greater Norwalk area was requested as the Committee considers a proposed change to the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for the 95/7 parcel. The site is currently entitled for up to 1.1 million square feet of mixed-use development, with 600,000 square feet dedicated to office use.

Given that the vacancy rate for Norwalk Class A space is currently 16.3%, with 734,000 square feet of inventory vacant, General Growth Properties (GGP) believes the development of a mixed-use project that includes office space is not viable in the near or intermediate-term.

GGP remains confident that the best way to utilize the site is a mix of retail, hotel, and public realm uses. Though primarily a high end retail fashion center, the project will include public plazas, education space, public common areas, restaurants and a select service luxury boutique hotel. The center will create nearly 2,600 ongoing jobs – 2,285 of which will be in Norwalk – at an average salary of $41,700. Located within an Enterprise Zone, the center will generate a projected $5 million in annual city tax revenue and more than $5 million in City permit fees.

General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.

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Nordstrom To Open In Norwalk, CT

on 02/25/2015

SEATTLE (FEBRUARY 25, 2015) - Seattle-based Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN), a leading fashion specialty retailer, today announced plans to open a full-line store in the new regional shopping center in Norwalk, CT being developed by General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP). The three-level, approximately 150,000 square-foot store is scheduled to open in fall 2018 and will be the company’s second full-line store in the state. The company opened its first Nordstrom in Connecticut in 1997 near Hartford at Westfarms Mall in Farmington.

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GGP 95/7 Proposal Earns Norwalk Chamber Endorsement

on 02/12/2015

Norwalk, Connecticut, February 12th, 2015— General Growth Properties, Inc. (GGP) is pleased to receive the unanimous endorsement of its development proposal from the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce. Established in 1889, the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce has long been committed to the economic vitality of Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Weston, Westport and Wilton. Their endorsement of the project is important to GGP.

This vote of confidence from Greater Norwalk businesses, both large and small, reinforces GGP’s commitment to build a high-quality shopping destination complements existing retail and entertainment offerings and attract visitors from around the region.

GGP’s proposal creates a vibrant, exciting, and eclectic hub of activity, which will serve as a strong foundation for future economic growth in Norwalk. Though primarily a high end retail fashion center, the project will include public plazas, education space, public common areas, restaurants and a select service luxury boutique hotel.

If approved, the benefits to Norwalk taxpayers will be significant. The center will create nearly 2,600 ongoing jobs – 2,285 of which will be in Norwalk – at an average salary of $41,700. Located within an Enterprise Zone, the center will generate a projected $5 million in annual city tax revenue and more than $5 million in City permit fees.

General Growth Properties, Inc. is an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.

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Zoning Commission approves plans for The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 06/03/2016

NORWALK — Long-vacant land off West Avenue and Interstate-95 will take shape over the next three years into a million-square-foot upscale shopping center.

After discussion, the Norwalk Zoning Commission on Wednesday evening approved unanimously General Growth Properties (GGP) plans for The SoNo Collection.

“We’re very excited,” GGP Senior Director Douglas T. Adams said afterward. “It’s a major step clearing this — what was sort of the last major of the local approvals. We still have some additional work to do, but we look forward to moving forward onto the next phase.”

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Proposed Sono Collection commercial center receives zoning approval

Fairfield County Business Journal on 06/03/2016

The Sono Collection, a more than 1 million-square-foot proposed retail shopping center to be built in South Norwalk, has received a critical approval from the city’s zoning commission and may soon have the final permits necessary to break ground on the highly anticipated commercial hub.

The project received unanimous approval from the zoning commission at their June 1 meeting. The approval is the last local government requirement the project will need in advance of receiving city building permits. Only a traffic permit from the Office of State Traffic Authority remains, said Douglas T. Adams, senior director for development for the Chicago-based development agency responsible for the project, General Growth Properties (GGP).

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SoNo Collection clears all Norwalk hurdles

Nancy On Norwalk on 06/02/2016

NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Zoning Commission on Wednesday approved General Growth Properties (GGP) application to build a mall on West Avenue, between Interstate 95 and Pine Street.

The brief discussion centered on follow-up traffic studies, a sidewalk on Reed Street and legal language that would be a problem in the event of an appeal from the public. The Commission voted unanimously to approve the mall, dubbed The SoNo Collection, with conditions that included pavement markings to guide drivers exiting the parking garage and taking a right on West Avenue.

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Norwalkers laud The SoNo Collection at Zoning Commission public hearing

Nancy On Norwalk on 05/05/2016

NORWALK, Conn. — Speaker after speaker stepped to the microphone to sing the praises of the proposed SoNo Collection mall at Wednesday’s Zoning Commission public hearing. With about 40 people present in the City Hall community room for the continuation of a hearing that began last week, 12 of 15 people who chose to speak to the commission said positive things about the plan presented by General Growth Properties (GGP), be it about potential jobs or the improvement of the city’s image that they said the mall would bring.

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Norwalk Council gives enthusiastic nod to The SoNo Collection

Nancy on Norwalk on 04/13/2016

NORWALK, Conn. — Ringing endorsements heralded the Common Council’s unanimous approval Tuesday of two major components of The SoNo Collection’s design that is now before the Zoning Commission.

“They have gone above and beyond, they did a lot of concessions, they have added a lot to this project,” Planning Committee Chairman John Kydes (D-District C) said, adding that the rooftop plaza was entirely GGP’s idea. Kydes also said he was very happy with the underpass.

The public realm plans are “amazing,” Mayor Harry Rilling said. “They are going to make this not only a shopping experience, it’s going to be an experience that people can walk through. I don’t know of any project anywhere that I have seen with the public realm areas that will be this interesting, this attracting to people, getting people to come into the mall,” Rilling said.

“It has come a long way,” Travis Simms (D-District B) said. “… We haven’t had this buzz and this feel in quite some time and I think that this is really going to put Norwalk on the map. I have to commend all my colleagues for supporting this and making sure we got the best bang for our buck here.”

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‘Superior’ plan advances for SoNo Collection underpass

The Hour on 04/07/2016

NORWALK — Planning Committee members advanced Thursday evening a “significantly superior” plan for the long-debated North Water Street underpass within The SoNo Collection.

Steven G. Cecil, the urban planner engaged by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to work with mall developer General Growth Properties (GGP) to improve the underpass, outlined the changes.

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SoNo Collection developer reworks North Water Street underpass, fleshes out public realm space uses

The Hour on 04/06/2016

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties (GGP) has added a rooftop garden to The SoNo Collection and reworked its North Water Street underpass to allow in more light and better serve pedestrians, according to officials.

The rooftop garden would include a farmer's market, food and wine events, youth activities, an event lawn exercise and health activities, film and sports screening, and concerts and performances, according to the public realm space plan submitted by GGP.

On Thursday evening, the Common Council's Planning Committee will consider the underpass and public realm plans for the million-square foot shopping center.

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SoNo Collection in miniature: GGP unveils 3D model of 700K-square-foot mall

The Hour on 03/18/2016

NORWALK — Moving toward final approvals and hoping to break ground this summer, General Growth Properties (GGP) unveiled Friday in the Norwalk City Hall atrium a three-dimensional scale model of The SoNo Collection.

“We’re really pleased to be moving into the land-use portion of the approvals and design review,” said GGP Senior Director Douglas T. Adams. “We’re excited to unveil this model here with the mayor and thought the mayor’s idea of putting it here in the rotunda, initially at City Hall, was perfect for the people of Norwalk to come look at it, see it, ask questions and we’ll make our information available so people can get back to us with any comments and thoughts they have.”

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Norwalk Mall Project Moves Forward With Signing Of Land Use Agreement

Norwalk Daily Voice on 02/11/2016

NORWALK, Conn. — A massive project that would bring 700,000 square feet of retail space to South Norwalk took another step toward construction with the singing of a land disposition agreement at City Hall on Wednesday morning.

“This is an exciting day for Norwalk,” Mayor Harry Rilling told a gathered crowd. “It’s going to result in tax revenues; it’s going to result in thousands of jobs for our community.”

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The SoNo Collection said to be ‘moving along nicely’

Nancy On Norwalk on 02/11/2016

NORWALK, Conn. — General Growth Partners (GGP) is looking to begin construction on The SoNo Collection this summer, GGP Senior Planner Doug Adams said Tuesday.

His optimistic comment came after Mayor Harry Rilling announced that, Wednesday (today), the city would sign the reformulated Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for GGP’s property at the intersection of Interstate 95 and West Avenue and after the Common Council unanimously agreed that GGP has met the conditions defined in the revised Concept Master Site Plan (CMSP) in October.

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Norwalk Council gives thumbs up to latest ‘SoNo Collection’ plans

Nancy On Norwalk on 02/05/2016

NORWALK, Conn. — Reviews were positive Thursday evening as changes, or “improvements,” to the plans for The SoNo Collection were reviewed by the Common Council Planning Committee. The two-story sculpture garden now planned for the northern corner of the mall is a “major win” and the rooftop terrace is “terrific,” Steve Cecil of The Cecil Group said. A “magnificent job” has been done to improve the pedestrian experience on North Water Street, Mayor Harry Rilling said, and Planning Committee Chairman John Kydes (D-District C) called the “notch” now planned for the North Water Street overpass, close to the railroad tracks, a “compromise that benefits everyone.”

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Planning Committee advance revised master site plan for The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 02/04/2016

NORWALK — The SoNo Collection came into clearer focus Thursday evening as the Common Council’s Planning Committee accepted a rooftop terrace and corner sculpture garden as potential public realm space uses within the proposed million-square-foot shopping mall.

“This addition in the corner of the project, that is the sculpture garden that has landscaping and kind of a glass space on the interior that extends the mall outward (on) the northwest corner, we think is major win to have, particularly this time of year,” said Steven G. Cecil, the design consultant engaged by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to review the Conceptual Master Site Plan (CMSP) for The SoNo Collection.

On a unanimous vote, the Planning Committee advanced documents and plans “evidencing that the CMSP has met the conditions of approval” given last fall.

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Revised plans for The SoNo Collection show rooftop terrace

The Hour on 02/01/2016

NORWALK — General Growth Properties (GGP) has met nearly all approval conditions set forth for the Conceptual Master Site Plan for The SoNo Collection. Revised plans for the million-square-foot shopping center show improved pedestrian access along West Avenue as well as a rooftop terrace. In October, the Common Council approved the master site plan for The SoNo Collection, subject to conditions to be resolved in discussions between GGP and the design consultant engaged by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency.Those discussions began in November and entailed at least a half dozen meetings, according to Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Timothy T. Sheehan.

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General Growth Properties opens outreach office for The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 11/17/2015

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties (GGP) this week opened an outreach office in the heart of SoNo to inform people about The SoNo Collection.

"It's a place for residents and community members to walk in and ask questions and learn more about the project," said GGP Development Associate Rob Jakubik. "Ultimately, we hope to have a model that will be available here and renderings as well."

The SoNo Collection Outreach Office is located at 119 Washington St. Initially, the office hours will vary with members of the GGP team available by appointment. GGP ultimately plans to staff the office full time.

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Norwalk Redevelopment greenlights The SoNo Collection

Nancy On Norwalk on 10/30/2015

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling had three words Thursday about the mall: “It’s a go.”
The Redevelopment Agency voted unanimously Thursday evening to approve the revisions to the LDA (Land Disposition Agreement for the 95/7 site, the business terms and Concept Master Site Plan, and the urban renewal plan, both of which were approved by the Common Council Tuesday. That’s the last major hurdle for General Growth Properties (GGP) in its desire to build The SoNo Collection, Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) said.

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SoNo Collection clears last hurdle before Zoning Commission review

The Hour on 10/29/2015

NORWALK -- Mall developer General Growth Properties (GGP) on Thursday evening received the last set of approvals it needs to submit a development application and detailed site plan for The SoNo Collection.
"Mr. Chairman, commissioners, I'm happy to indicate to you that you are the final approval relative to The SoNo Collection advancing forward and being able to go into final design and submit to the zoning (department) for site plan review," Norwalk Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Timothy T. Sheehan told Redevelopment commissioners before the vote.

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Norwalk Common Council approves GGP overpass

The Hour on 10/27/2015

NORWALK — The Common Council on Tuesday evening granted SoNo Collection developer General Growth Properties’ (GGP) request to build a 303-foot overpass above North Water Street and include parking within it.

But as part of the approval, council members stipulated that they and an architectural firm will have a role in how the area beneath the overpass looks to pedestrians.

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GGP enlists support for The SoNo Collection

Nancy On Norwalk on 10/08/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – Upbeat feelings about a possible mall in SoNo were stoked Wednesday by developers looking for support at next week’s Norwalk Common Council meeting, where the fate of the project may be decided.

“In essence, we would love for all of you to come out and express your opinion on the project if you like what you heard tonight,” General Growth Properties Associate Developer Rob Jakubik said at the GGP town hall in the South Norwalk branch library. “Obviously we are going to take your input under consideration as we go through design review.”

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Residents offer suggestions for SoNo Collection during meeting at South Norwalk Library

The Hour on 10/08/2015

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties (GGP) pitched and received feedback on its plans for The SoNo Collection during an informational meeting at the South Norwalk Library on Wednesday evening.

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Norwalk weighs in on proposed SoNo Collection

Nancy on Norwalk on 09/18/2015

NORWALK, Conn. — Time to reverse that old Norwalk paradigm, according to Patsy Brescia.
“I like to think that we are going to become that jelly in the doughnut. We are going to have a wonderful jelly doughnut and the rest of Fairfield County is going to be quite jealous of us,” Brescia said Tuesday to the Joint Mall Committee, calling the possibility of a high-end mall in SoNo a “major opportunity to enhance the lifestyle of our community.”

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Most seemed in favor of The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 09/18/2015

To the Editor: I had an opportunity to attend the meeting at City Hall regarding a pending project called the SoNo Collection (to be located immediately next to I-95 in Norwalk on West Ave). It's a high end shopping center, being proposed to the city with A+ retailers including Bloomingdales and Nordstroms, plus 80-100 smaller retailers.

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GGP Updates Public, Receives Largely Positive Feedback on The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 09/09/2015

NORWALK -- Ensure proper security, bring some good restaurants, resolve concerns about delivery trucks and don't be discouraged by the review process.
Those were among residents' suggestions for General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) as the Chicago-based mall developer updated the public on its proposed regional shopping center mall for the 95/7 site during a meeting at Norwalk Community College Wednesday evening.

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Norwalk finally reveals proposed business terms with mall developer

Nancy on Norwalk on 09/03/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – The proposed business terms between Norwalk and The SoNo Collection calls for the developer to give the city $1 million up front for “air rights” and other easements, as well as making sure Norwalk gets property tax income from the $300 million projects as soon as it is built.
Norwalk would, in the proposed agreement, for every year of the first seven years, reap 50 percent of the property taxes assessed for the mall that General Growth Properties (GGP) would build on the 95/7 site. This differs from the current terms of the Enterprise Zone that GGP inherited when it bought the site from Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, which call for no tax payments in the first two years and then a gradual increase over the next five years.

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SoNo Collection Barbecue Draws Crowds For Food, Fun

Norwalk Daily Voice on 08/24/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – General Growth Properties (GGP) hosted members of the Norwalk community at a barbecue Wednesday evening to celebrate summer and hear the latest updates on the proposed SoNo Collection mall project.
Nearly 100 people from several Norwalk neighborhoods partook in the good food and fun times at the Plaza at 50 Washington Street, and also used the event as an opportunity to discuss the project and share their thoughts.

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Norwalk’s Human Services Council Helps Get Kids Ready For School

Norwalk Daily Voice on 08/22/2015

NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk Human Services Council , along with several sponsors, helped make a success of Washington Village's Family Day on Friday, with a handout of backpacks and school supplies, along with food and fun for the whole family.
"Everything is donated. Donors include the First County Bank, the First Niagara Bank, HEI Hotel and Resorts, as well as individuals, and GGP also paid for an ice cream truck to come out," said Carlos Reinoso Jr., director of the Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition of the Human Services Council.

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A Better South Norwalk Hosts Community Day

Norwalk Daily Voice on 08/21/2015

NORWALK, Conn. -- A Better South Norwalk community members will be hosting the Fourth Annual South Norwalk Community Day on Saturday, Aug. 22 from 2 to 6 p.m. with a rain date on Aug. 29.
The event will take place at Ryan Park in South Norwalk. The event is aimed at bringing South Norwalk residents, business owners, community leaders, and community stakeholders together. The event this year will focus on community health and establishing and promoting youth interest in team sports.

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City should OK mall plan to allow developer to meet timeline

Nancy on Norwalk on 08/05/2015

To the Editor,
We wholeheartedly support Senator Duff’s appeal to the City of Norwalk to move this project expeditiously through the approval process. As SoNo’s largest property owner, we believe the SoNo Collection will enhance the community and create value for the city, its residents, local businesses and stakeholders.
We are writing to respectfully urge the Mayor and the City of Norwalk to take all the necessary steps needed to meet the timeline that GGP has requested. The project represents a rare and unique development opportunity with a highly experienced developer. GGP has already secured two premier retailers, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, to anchor the proposed center. In addition, GGP’s relationships with national brands will bring new and exciting retail options to our city. The long term benefits to residents and local businesses will be tremendous.

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Duff Urges Norwalk To Approve SoNo Collection Project

Norwalk Daily Voice on 08/05/2015

NORWALK, Conn. — State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) recently urged the Norwalk Common Council and Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to approve the proposed Norwalk retail development dubbed The SoNo Collection.

View Original Source

City should OK mall plan to allow developer to meet timeline

Nancy on Norwalk on 08/05/2015

To the Editor,
We wholeheartedly support Senator Duff’s appeal to the City of Norwalk to move this project expeditiously through the approval process. As SoNo’s largest property owner, we believe the SoNo Collection will enhance the community and create value for the city, its residents, local businesses and stakeholders.

View Original Source

Support for SoNo Collection

The Hour on 08/04/2015

To the Editor:
We wholeheartedly support Senator Duff’s appeal to the City of Norwalk to move this project (SoNo Collection) expeditiously through the approval process. As Sono’s largest property owner, we believe the Sono Collection will enhance the community and create value for the city, its residents, local businesses and stakeholders.
We are writing to respectfully urge the Mayor and the City of Norwalk to take all the necessary steps needed to meet the timeline that GGP has requested. The project represents a rare and unique development opportunity with a highly experienced developer. GGP has already secured two premier retailers, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, to anchor the proposed center. In addition, GGP’s relationships with national brands will bring new and exciting retail options to our city. The long term benefits to residents and local businesses will be tremendous.

View Original Source

It’s time to expedite The SoNo Collection

The Hour on 08/02/2015

So, there is a billion dollar deal on the line for Norwalk, lets not screw it up.
The forward momentum of the SoNo Collection, a proposed 700,000-plus square foot mall off I-95, now sits in the hands of city officials. Let's not let egos or grand standing get in the way of the project continuing to move forward.

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Duff lends support to expedited review, approval of SoNo Mall

The Hour on 08/01/2015

NORWALK -- Citing tax revenues and jobs at stake, state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said Friday that now is the "time to approve the SoNo Mall."
In a statement, Duff, D-25, urged the Norwalk Common Council and Norwalk Redevelopment Agency to "take affirmative steps during the month of August and approve, without further delay, the proposed Norwalk retail development, dubbed The SoNo Collection."

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Duff to Norwalk: Time to get off the pot and OK the mall

Nancy on Norwalk on 08/01/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – The time for talk is over, Norwalk’s State Sen. Bob Duff said Friday, calling on the Redevelopment Agency and the Common Council to move forward with approvals for The SoNo Collection, the proposed West Avenue upscale mall.
“I respect the time and effort that members of the Common Council and Norwalk Redevelopment Agency have put into making the initial proposal by the developers a better one, but now it’s time to move from concept and conversation to shovels in the ground,” Duff said in a statement emailed to the media. “August is a very important month for the project’s timeline and proposed opening. It’s time to say ‘yes.’”

View Original Source

Norwalker: SoNo mall would be ‘highest best use’ even with ‘tunnel

Nancy on Norwalk on 07/27/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – Times change and so do urban land economics, Ernie DesRochers said.
“This is not your grandfather’s Norwalk mall,” DesRochers said, of the developing proposal for The SoNo Collection. “In fact, there are only a few properties in the U.S. that approach the high-end concept that is being proposed to you. … The SoNo Collection represents a 2015 vision of what that site can be, not a 2005 or a 1995 or an 1885 vision.”

View Original Source

Report Finds SoNo Development Will Deliver Jobs, Tax Revenue To Norwalk

Norwalk Daily Voice on 07/06/2015

NORWALK, Conn. — General Growth Properties has revealed there will be key economic impacts as a result of the proposed 95/7 project, now known as The SoNo Collection, according to a press release.
The information was gathered from an economic report prepared by HR&A Advisors Inc., a leading real estate, economic development and public policy consulting firm. The report summarizes the significant economic benefits the project would deliver to the City of Norwalk and the state, including job creation and increased tax revenue, according to a press release.

View Original Source

General Growth Properties pitches jobs, property tax benefits of proposed 95/7 mall

The Hour on 06/25/2015

NORWALK -- The 95/7 mall will create 2,600 full-time jobs and bring Norwalk more than $40 million in property taxes over a 15-year-period, according to an economic analysis released by the developer.
On Thursday, General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) released the highlights of an economic report prepared by HR&A Advisors Inc., a real estate, economic development and public policy consulting firm with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

View Original Source

Norwalk Developers Seek To Connect City With Trolley

Norwalk Daily Voice on 05/28/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – Developers of major retail and housing projects along West Avenue in Norwalk are seeking federal money to create a trolley system that would connect the city and make moving around much easier for residents, workers and visitors alike.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy hosted a round-table discussion Wednesday with representatives of the city, the Norwalk Transit District, Belpointe Capital, which is developing the Waypointe project, and General Growth Properties, which is developing the 95/7 mall . They discussed the developers’ application for a $14 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, which would be used to support the building of pedestrian-friendly and public transportation projects.

View Original Source

“Norwalk Rising:” Developers tout Norwalk’s growth to real estate professionals

The Hour on 05/26/2015

STAMFORD — Norwalk is ready to shed its small-town image and step out from the shadow of Stamford, local developers said Tuesday afternoon at a meeting of the Real Estate Finance Association Fairfield/Westchester Chapter held at Stamford Marriott.
“We want to make people aware that Norwalk is no longer the hole in the doughnut,” Clay Fowler, principal of Norwalk-based Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, told The Hour after the meeting. “The hole is full of wheat and yeast and is rising.”

View Original Source

SoNo renaissance continues: Commercial real estate co. seeing boost in area interest

The Hour on 05/23/2015

NORWALK — “For lease” signs have been popping up in windows all along Washington Street, but those multiple vacancies won’t be that way for long according to one local, commercial real estate broker who is seeing a new dawn in SoNo and a number of new lessees willing to put pen to paper.
Rick Leeds, of Simon David Real Estate, whose office is listing some of the commercial properties on Washington, is seeing a resurgence of interest in the area.

View Original Source

GGP names mall ‘The SoNo Collection’

The Hour on 05/20/2015

NORWALK — General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) unveiled Wednesday the name for its proposed regional shopping center for the 95/7 development site in Norwalk: “The SoNo Collection.”
“We see SoNo as an existing collection of great assets and we see ourselves, in bringing Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, as adding to that collection,” said Douglas T. Adams, GGP senior director. “This is an opportunity to market ourselves, the entire SoNo district and all of Norwalk in one name.”

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GGP Names Mall ‘The SoNo Collection’

The Hour on 05/20/2015

NORWALK — General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) unveiled Wednesday the name for its proposed regional shopping center for the 95/7 development site in Norwalk: “The SoNo Collection.”

“We see SoNo as an existing collection of great assets and we see ourselves, in bringing Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, as adding to that collection,” said Douglas T. Adams, GGP senior director. “This is an opportunity to market ourselves, the entire SoNo district and all of Norwalk in one name.”

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GGP touts sustainable building award, vows energy-saving construction for 95/7 mall

The Hour on 05/18/2015

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) vowed Monday to incorporate sustainable building and construction standards into its proposed regional shopping center for the 95/7 development site in Norwalk.
"GGP's sustainability and energy efficiency plans for its 95/7 project are in line with the Norwalk Mayor's Energy and Environment Task Force stated goal of, 'focusing on sustainable building and construction standards,'" GGP said in a statement Monday. "The company plans to incorporate the sustainable practices outlined in the report, such as energy efficient heating, cooling, lighting, water usage, equipment and waste management, into the project's building designs."

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Norwalk chamber crowd applauds mall proposal

Westfair Online on 04/10/2015

Chamber President and CEO Ed Musante says the time has come to remove obstacles and build the mall.

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Bloomingdale’s commits as second anchor for 95/7 mall in Norwalk

The Hour on 03/31/2015

NORWALK — Upscale department store chain Bloomingdale’s has committed itself as the second anchor tenant in General Growth Properties, Inc.’s (GGP) proposed regional shopping mall for the 95/7 site in Norwalk, according to officials.
Last month, Nordstrom, Inc., another upscale retailer, announced that it had committed to the regional shopping center that is now under review by the city.

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Bloomingdale’s would join Nordstrom as SoNo mall anchors; news gets warm reaction

Nancy on Norwalk on 03/31/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – Bloomingdale’s is coming to Norwalk – assuming the city approves the expected proposal by General Growth Properties to build a shopping mall on West Avenue adjacent to I-95.
The announcement was made Tuesday morning by Bloomingdale’s parent company, Macy’s Inc., via press release.
It would be the only Bloomingdale’s location in Connecticut.

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GGP’s plans for mall clear early hurdle

The Hour on 03/19/2015

NORWALK — Elected and appointed officials on Thursday evening laid the ground work for General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP) to develop plans for a regional shopping center at the 95/7 site in Norwalk.
After discussion, members of the Common Council’s Planning Committee and the Norwalk Redevelopment Commission voted unanimously to advance recommended land uses and square-footage ranges for the dozen-acre development site off West Avenue and Interstate 95.

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SoNo mall given ‘strong support’ in first chance for Norwalkers to weigh in

Nancy on Norwalk on 03/17/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – It was a good night Monday for the developers who want to build a mall in SoNo – most of the people speaking to the government officials who can advance the project said positive things.
“We were really pleased for a couple of reasons,” said General Growth Properties Senior Developer Doug Adams after 24 people spoke to the Common Council Planning Committee and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency. “It’s really good to hear firsthand from the public … and there were people out tonight that we don’t always hear from. It’s always good for me to know that the decision-makers are hearing from the public and we felt it was a pretty overwhelming show of support from the people that, again, we don’t always hear from. The comments from folks that had concerns or questions we thought were all reasonable and worthy of discussion, so overall good meeting.”

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Proposed mall will be fully vetted before getting the green light

Nancy on Norwalk on 03/11/2015

To the Editor:
Much progress has been made recently on the 95/7 regional mall development proposed by GGP for the Reed Putnam parcel along West Avenue in Norwalk.
The Ad-Hoc Committee, composed of members of the Common Council, the Redevelopment Agency, and Planning Commission who were tasked with evaluating the existing Land Disposition Agreement (LDA), has recommended changes to the LDA to the permitted uses and square footage that will allow for the proposed Concept Master Site Plan to move forward. Also, Nordstrom, a leading national fashion specialty retailer, recently committed to be one of two retail anchors for the center. What a great addition to the Norwalk business community and to the City as a whole!

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Proposed SoNo mall concept moves ahead with ‘significant’ improvement of Norwalk process

Nancy on Norwalk on 03/02/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – SoNo’s proposed mall cleared its first hurdle Saturday as the Joint Committee agreed on recommendations to send back to its respective bodies for approval, in a far cry from the schizophrenic Norwalk process in the past.
“You are creating a vibrant, exciting urban core,” Attorney Larry Cafero, representing General Growth Properties, said to the members of the Common Council Planning Committee, the Redevelopment Agency and the Planning Commission who had come out Saturday morning. “… Maybe by accident, maybe by coincidence, the kind of dream that we all, and certainly you guys have as decision makers, is coming. We’re almost there. If we are lucky enough to be part of this it is just an incredibly exciting thing done the right way for Norwalk.”

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Rilling backs mall plan, says existing circumstances changed his mind

Nancy on Norwalk on 03/02/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – They say a leopard can’t change is spots, but no one ever said a mayor can’t change his mind. And that, apparently, is exactly what has happened.
When Mayor Harry Rilling was candidate Harry Rilling in 2013, he said on more than one occasion that, while he wanted to get development in action at the various bombsites around the city, he was against the idea of a mall for the 95/7 property.
While the mayor does have the bully pulpit, he has no role in the approval process.

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Review panel recommends land uses, square footages for 95/7 mall proposal

The Hour on 03/02/2015

NORWALK — An ad-hoc panel has ratcheted up retail and dialed back office space, but left flexibility in its recommendation regarding General Growth Properties, Inc.’s (GGP) proposed regional mall for the 95/7 site.
“What we tried to come out of it with is based on the (market) studies and reports,” said Felix R. Serrano, Norwalk Redevelopment Agency chairman and panel member. “We updated it for today’s environment and, obviously, with regards to the office, we ratcheted down the maximum (square footage) significantly. With retail, we’ve put in the ranges relative to a specific request.”

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Malloy backs 95/7 mall; GGP cites market study

The Hour on 02/27/2015

NORWALK -- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday lent his support to the regional shopping center that has been proposed for the 95/7 site in Norwalk.
In a statement, Malloy welcomed news that retailer Nordstrom, Inc., had committed itself as an anchor tenant in the proposed 1.1 million square foot mall.

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Nordstrom To Open In Norwalk, Conn.

PR Newswire on 02/26/2015

SEATTLE- Seattle-based Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN), a leading fashion specialty retailer, today announced plans to open a full-line store in the new regional shopping center in Norwalk, Conn. being developed by General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP). The three-level, approximately 150,000 square-foot store is scheduled to open in fall 2018 and will be the company's second full-line store in the state. The company opened its first Nordstrom in Connecticut in 1997 near Hartford at Westfarms Mall in Farmington.

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GGP: Nordstrom commits to Norwalk shopping center project

The Hour on 02/26/2015

NORWALK — Upscale fashion retailer Nordstrom, Inc., has committed itself to 150,000 square feet within General Growth Properties, Inc.’s (GGP) proposed regional shopping center for the 95/7 property in Norwalk, according to officials from both organizations.
"I hope that the community is as excited as I am about Nordstrom committing to Norwalk," said GGP Senior Director Douglas T. Adams. "GGP understands we are still in the city approval process, but this is an important step forward to making the project a reality."

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Greater Norwalk Chamber throws its support behind GGP’s mall proposal

The Hour on 02/19/2015

NORWALK -- A little more than a week after a group of local politicians expressed support for the proposed retail development at the 95/7 site in South Norwalk, the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce is throwing its weight behind the project.

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The time is now for 95/7

Nancy on Norwalk on 02/10/2015

To the Editor:
It has been called “The Field of Flowers,” “The big dirt patch on West Avenue,” and “The land of missed opportunities.”
We are referring to the 12-acre parcel on West Avenue, officially known as Parcels 1, 2 & 4 of the Reed Putnam District or 95/7. Millions of state and local taxpayer dollars have gone into improving the infrastructure in and around the site, but, despite the best efforts of previous developers, nothing has been built there for over 20 years.

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GGP makes donation to BMHS marching band

The Hour on 02/06/2015

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties (GGP), which is proposing to build a regional shopping center at the 95/7 site in South Norwalk, earlier this week made a $2,500 donation to the Brien McMahon High School marching band. The check was presented to band members and staff at the school.
The donation was made to help offset the financial loss incurred by the Senators' music program when a power outage forced it to cancel a portion of its Celebration of Sound last fall. The program had to refund fees to participating bands and attendees. GGP Senior Director Douglas T. Adams and state Sen. Bob Duff, D-25, who alerted GGP to the band's plight, were on hand for the check passing ceremony.

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Brien McMahon HS Band Receives Donation

It's Relevant on 02/04/2015

The Brien McMahon Senators lost a lot of potential income after a power outage forced high school officials to cancel the remaining portion of the Marching Band's largest annual fundraiser, the "Celebration of Sound," back in September.
Wednesday morning, General Growth Properties donated $2,500 to help the band make up for the loss of revenue.

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Mall Joint Committee recommends new land uses for 95/7 – think ‘retail’

Nancy on Norwalk on 02/02/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – A basic concept plan that would allow a mall to be built on the 95/7 site is moving forward through Norwalk government.
The Joint Committee – a collaboration of the Planning Commission, the Redevelopment Agency and the Common Council Planning Committee – defined square footage ranges Saturday morning for various uses on the West Avenue property now owned by General Growth Properties (GGP), to include a hotel, public space and a whole lot of retail.

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Consultant: Mall would be a boon to SoNo

Nancy on Norwalk on 01/26/2015

NORWALK, Conn. – A properly executed mall design would be a boon to most businesses in SoNo, according to an urban planning consultant hired by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency.
“The mall should create a tremendous demand for the existing businesses and restaurants near it,” said Robert Gibbs at Saturday’s Joint Committee meeting in City Hall, where leaders of the Redevelopment Agency, the Common Council Planning Committee and the Planning Commission met with representatives of General Growth Partners (GGP) for what Councilman Doug Hempstead (R-At Large) called “contract negotiations” for the long-vacant 95/7 site.

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GGP exec: SoNo mall would stuff Norwalk’s coffers

Nancy on Norwalk on 12/29/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – If General Growth Properties (GGP) is allowed to build a mall in South Norwalk, that mall, in its third year, would deliver more than $2.8 million in tax revenue to Norwalk, according to a third-party projection – and that projection does not include the hotel proposed for the property, GGP Senior Director of Development and Municipal Analysis Doug Adams said.
The paperwork shuffling has begun for the mall project, with the Dec. 8 submission to the Redevelopment Agency and the city of the proposed amendment to the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for the property, which comprises Reed Putnam Urban Renewal Area parcels 1, 2, and 4. The requested amendments include said hotel and the approval to put a mini-electric generation plant on the property.

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Office space seen going the way of dinosaurs for Fairfield Co.

Nancy on Norwalk on 10/27/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – The lack of validity of putting office space on the highly visible piece of Norwalk property now owned by a mall developer is shown by the problems brewing in Norden Park, Ernie DesRochers said.
While the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for the 95/7 site calls for 600,000 square feet of office space, many people say there isn’t much of a market in Fairfield County for it. DesRochers has concrete evidence – the departure of Northrop Grumman from Norden Place is likely to cause a $72.9 million loan to go into default, according to an article posted last week on Commercial Real Estate Direct.

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GGP to Norwalk: Reports of the death of malls are greatly exaggerated

Nancy on Norwalk on 10/20/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – The hottest trend in online marketing these days is to open up an old-fashioned bricks and mortar store, according to the Financial Post.
That sentiment was one cited by Doug Adams of GGP (General Growth Properties) last week as he tried to assure members of the West Norwalk Association that the age of the mall is not dead.

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The Proposal: SoNo Mall

New Canaan & Darien Magazine on 08/29/2014

Ah, the shopping mall – it houses the sacred milestone for our preteen selves: trying on outfits in Hollister and Forever21 for the first time without nagging parents by our sides. It’s the wonderland of the intoxicating smell of cinnamon pretzel contraptions. And it’s the exquisite kingdom for the high school queen bee in basically every ‘90s flick.
Malls are a means of bringing people together, and no one understands this better than Douglas T. Adams, the senior director of General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP). The company is currently laying the conceptual groundwork for a 700,000-square-foot shopping center to be built in South Norwalk. The mall hopes to bring in between 75 to 100 restaurants and shops to the site off of West Avenue, Interstate 95, and the Route 7 Connector.

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Norwalk mall developer pitches synergy with ‘SoNo Walking Map’

The Hour on 07/28/2014

NORWALK -- General Growth Properties, Inc., is reaching deep into the community to pitch its plan for a regional shopping center at the 95/7 site in South Norwalk.
"SoNo Walking Map -- A Street Level Guide" is the most recent effort of the Chicago-based mall developer to establish synergy with existing businesses and organizations.

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GGP’s mall pitch reaches one SoNo businessman and one enthusiastic retiree

Nancy on Norwalk on 07/15/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – Sallie Marsico’s expertise about malls is admittedly dated, but she is bullish on the General Growth Properties (GGP) plan to put a mall in South Norwalk.
“I for one was very pleased that you were involved here,” Marsico said to GGP representatives Monday. “When I retired from the shopping center industry a number of years ago I had gone to the Redevelopment Agency and I said I have some expertise in this… so I was hired as a consultant for a while and made some small contributions in South Norwalk. But I wasn’t there very long. At the time they were married to the idea of hotels and office, and I knew that wasn’t going to happen. So I thought ‘Well, I’ll go do something else until somebody figures out what really needs to go here is a shopping mall.’ So thank you for coming, in my opinion, in my humble opinion.”

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GGP plans ‘right-sized’ mall to enhance, not compete with, SoNo

Nancy on Norwalk on 06/12/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – The brains behind the effort to put a mall in South Norwalk have been shopping their concept around, emphasizing ideas to encourage pedestrians to come in and go out and predicting that they can bring a million people a month to the struggling area.
Imagine, said Doug Adams of General Growth Properties (GGP), if just 5 percent of those people spilled out of the unfortress-like structure and visited the nearby Stepping Stones Museum for Children, the Maritime Aquarium or SoNo.

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GGP: 95/7 mall would enhance, not compete with SoNo businesses

The Hour on 07/14/2014

NORWALK -- A SoNo restaurateur and a retired retail leasing agent on Monday welcomed a conceptual plan for a regional shopping mall on the 95/7 development site off Interstate 95 and West Avenue.
"Initially, we were a little skeptical. Is it going to become one of those destination malls where people come and get back in their car and go?" said Ollie O'Neill, owner of O'Neill's Pub & Restaurant at 93 North Main St. "But it seems like it is more than that and it seems like it can connect with South Norwalk. And us being so close, 1,200 employees clocking out every evening may want to go get a bite to eat in SoNo. It can only help us."

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Consultant to Norwalk: The right mall would help SoNo

Nancy on Norwalk on 05/06/2014

NORWALK, Conn. – The science of parking and designing retail centers – also known, in some cases, as malls – was shared with Norwalk movers and shakers Monday night by a consultant hired by the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency.
To hear Robert Gibbs tell it, a properly designed mall could regenerate SoNo.
“As a rule of thumb, having a strong regional anchor would bring a lot of people here,” Gibbs said to about 50 people gathered in a lobby at 50 Washington St. “Those people would fill your restaurants and your shops. You would probably have better shopping than you do now, if it’s designed well, and I would be really careful about the design. But the new ways they are designing malls are much better than when I was designing them back in the ’90’s.”

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