The fight over whether to allow the repurposing of a building in Stamford’s High Ridge Park office complex into a fitness facility will go on for at least another week. That was the takeaway from a March 26 meeting of the city’s zoning board that ended with a decision to extend the public comment period to its April 2 meeting.Acknowledging that about 60 percent of the roughly 100 people in attendance voiced their opposition to the proposal – which would turn 3 High Ridge, vacant since Frontier Communications moved its corporate headquarters to Norwalk in 2015, into a Life Time fitness club of roughly the same size – Stamford Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jack Condlin said his group was in favor of it.
“We have been in support of this project since 2014,” Condlin, who testified before the board, told the Business Journal. “We recognize that things have changed in Stamford as well as all over – companies have downsized, and they’re no longer coming in looking to be in a campus setting. They want to be someplace where there’s more activity.”
Neighbors’ opposition to the proposal has centered on issues of noise and traffic, which developer George Comfort & Sons maintains have been sufficiently addressed in revised proposals.
The addition of a facility like Life Time would help draw tenants looking for such amenities, Condlin said, and would benefit the neighboring residents in a way that another corporate headquarters would not.
“The Chamber of Commerce is always supportive of anything that can bring economic growth – not at all costs, but at good cost,” he said. “And that’s what this project would be.”
The period of public comment on the matter could extend beyond the April 2 meeting. When that period is closed, the zoning board will begin its deliberations.