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September 22, 2019Cart

Business

by Fairfield County Business Journal
by FCBJ

New shopping center signals renewed approach to economic development in Monroe

A conceptual sketch rendering of Victoria Place. Courtesy The Sullivan Architectural Group of Milford.

Construction could soon begin on The Shoppes at Victoria Place, a “village-style shopping center” in Monroe.

The new development on roughly 15 acres on the corner of Main Street and Victoria Drive includes six buildings totaling 115,000 square feet, each with a unique façade.

The Shoppes at Victoria Place presents a new beginning for the former site of Vishay Vitramon, which was demolished in 2013 and is now an empty lot, Monroe First Selectman Ken Kellogg said. The project will offer a mix of restaurants and retail stores featuring national brands, he said.

Monroe resident and developer Robert Dunbar will submit a comprehensive plan and formal application to the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission “in the near future,” according to Kellogg. The location is already zoned for retail use.

“I would not be proposing this project without seeing the positive changes, under Kellogg’s leadership, to redefine Monroe’s approach to economic development,” Dunbar said.

“This is a refreshing concept for Monroe, bringing a new style and energy that I believe will encourage even more growth,” Kellogg said. “Responsible development in our commercial zones will not only serve to offer great services to our community, but provides growth to our grand list that helps to shift the tax burden away from residents.”

The project includes trees and plantings throughout the site, which will also feature outdoor seating, park benches, and a planned connection to the nearby Pequonnock River Trail.

Kellogg has embarked on deliberate efforts to foster a new environment and inspire renewed interest in Monroe since being elected in 2017. Last year, he formed the First Selectman’s Business & Industry Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from various sectors of the business community who are also town residents, and in October hired Rick Schultz, a longtime Shelton official, as town planner.

Kellogg credited Schultz with taking the lead in overseeing Monroe’s land use departments and by assisting developers in navigating the permitting process. Schultz has been working directly with the town’s new Chairman of Economic Development, Ray Giovani, to identify and cultivate new opportunities.

Kellogg pointed to recent success in working with the Planning and Zoning Commission to improve process and regulations. Updates to zoning rules have included the relaxation of certain parking standards, removing minimum seating restrictions for full-service restaurants that desire a liquor permit, and the ability for staff to approve minor changes to plans previously approved by the commission.

Kellogg said that there is already renewed interest for other parcels. “We may even have an opportunity for a new, indoor ice-skating rink in the future.”