Developer says Greenwich is ‘underserved for self-storage’, but Byram’s neighbors slam plan

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GREENWICH – A proposed self-storage building at 84 S. Water St. would have a “low impact” on the Byram neighborhood, according to the development team, and fill a local need.

Speaking at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Sean Wallace said his team purchased the old factory building in 2018, which was erected on South Water Street in 1904. A site Self-storage suited the area well, Wallace said.

“Greenwich is very poorly served for self-storage,” he said at Tuesday night’s meeting. Additionally, a self-storage facility would not be a big generator of traffic in the area, he said.

The site could also be used for the storage of small boats, and it is possible to create a footbridge along the Byram River. He said it was also possible to arrange an area on the roof of the building that could accommodate a yoga studio or other amenities.

The building started out as a custom carpentry factory, and it was later used to produce lighting fixtures, under the name Hasco Electric Corp.

Wallace said his development team, along with local developer Nick Barile, had already spent a substantial amount of money on maintenance and environmental work on the old building.

The building is in a flood zone, Wallace said, which places a number of constraints on any possible development on the site. Barile also pointed out that the structure has been used for storage in recent years, so a self-storage facility would be sort of a continuation of the building’s use over the years.

A formal request for the storage facility has yet to be filed, and the proposal is currently under discussion with the Planning and Zoning Commission to explore potential areas of concern.

The town planning commissioners encouraged developers to pursue ideas that would allow a connection to the waterfront.

“We would like to see (the connection to) water, we would like to see public access,” President Margarita Alban said.

The facade of the building was cited as an interesting feature and the commissioners asked if part or all of it could be preserved. Wallace said the project could maintain part of the facade, although preserving the entire facade was not feasible.

The goal, he said, would be to create a “New England style” feel with the new structure, after the old factory was demolished.

But Al Shehadi, a local resident who heads the land use committee with the Byram Neighborhood Association, issued a critical note about the self-storage proposal.

“It’s not something the BNA wants in Byram,” Shehadi said. A storage facility would “kill life on the streets” and do little to “add dynamism to our region,” he said.

“We want uses that will get people to interact with the street,” he said.

An official request is expected to be filed in the near future, the developers said.

“You have things to work on,” Alban told candidates.

The storage units would be 8 feet by 15 feet by 8 feet.

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