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Visions for Vacancies: Former Amphenol Factory on Kennedy Avenue

What do you think should be built on the former Amphenol property at the corner of Main Street and Kennedy Avenue?

Think community planning with a capital C. Let's put all ideas on the table.

In this series we'll present a vacant commercial property and ask you to tell us what you think would be the best use. Forget what zone it's in, ignore setback regulations, dump lot coverage rules and all the other zoning jargon that puts most people to sleep. Drop the plan. If you had your way, what would you like to see there? What would be the best use for the community?

This week we’re looking at the vacant former Amphenol site on Kennedy Avenue between Rose and Main streets. 

Across Main Street from Subway Sandwiches and with its back to the Pulse Point bus stop, this 9.49 acre parcel is at the heart of downtown Danbury. It has approvals for 553 housing units, but that approval was won before the recession started five years ago, and nothing has been done.

What would you like to see there? What will succeed there? You decide.

karen January 30, 2013 at 01:05 PM
A new YMCA or a similar type of recreation center with a pool would definitely benefit Danbury!
alex January 30, 2013 at 01:08 PM
How about keeping it an empty lot where crackheads and prostitutes can do their thing? That seems about right for Danbury.
Mark Langlois (Editor) January 30, 2013 at 01:14 PM
Condominiums? Retail shops? Apartments? A combination? What would best help downtown Danbury? Can Danbury help get this project moving? Is there a time limit on an approval?
jeanne January 30, 2013 at 01:47 PM
We need another school, and a building to house some preschool programs as well.
Sid January 30, 2013 at 02:41 PM
I'd love this site tied into the Dining and Entertainment District. It's close enough where one can walk to and from this site. I would take it even further. The whole stretch from Library Place to Elm Street has a large sidewalk like in front of Sabrosura, in some places it has two and there's the garage on Library Place that's under utilized. This whole area should be opened up and promoted for restaurants and night clubs with outdoor seating. The Amphenol site could be an extension of that with some restaurant and retail on the first floor. Some office would be a good idea to get jobs into downtown but there's a ton of vacant office space already. Affordable housing would be a must. The downtown as a whole needs some life injected into it. Now that the night club moratorium has been lifted maybe the downtown can bring in some night clubs and restaurants and have them concentrated like they are in New Canaan, Ridgefield, South Norwalk, Stamford or other towns as opposed to being scattered on Mill Plain and elsewhere. A higher concentration of restaurants, clubs and retail would help boost values of other properties as well since it would bring in much needed foot traffic. Commercial Real Estate in other towns and cities go for a premium with ridiculous leases over $50/sq ft yet our downtown has space leasing for $10/sq ft. We should look to others to see what they're doing right. Danbury can help by promoting and enticing business people to relocate there.
Sid January 30, 2013 at 02:52 PM
A new school would be nice but not downtown. Traffic from the buses would be brutal. Since there are so many new housing units going up by the Old Union Carbide site and there is so much vacant land up there I'd suggest that area as a better place for a new school. Both middle schools are on the opposite side of town and that side is the one side that is growing the fastest.
Eamus Mets January 30, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Downtown cannot be successful unless people with disposable income live there to support the businesses downtown. Market rate housing should be built here as per the plan from several years ago, even if we have to wait another five years.
Jimmy Pursey January 30, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Who owns it? Because if it's one of the usual suspects, this property, like most vacant ones downtown...will be left to sit and rot, with no concern for the good of the community. Personally, I encourage young people not to invest in Danbury. It's too late to save it. There are far more places that would welcome and encourage revitalization. Perhaps the best thing for downtown would be to let it bottom out. Driving those property values down will make it affordable for the bohemians who always proceed real revitalization.
Sid January 30, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Downtowns are not designed to have people with large amounts of disposable income. Usually those people live in the outskirts. That's why you need to entice them into the downtown. In the past the jobs, the shops and restaurants were all downtown but Danbury has spread out the restaurants and decentralized the shopping. That trend needs to change if the downtown is ever to draw those people with disposable income back.
Sid January 30, 2013 at 03:32 PM
BRT owns it. They have had a plan in place for years, even modified it but the market has not rebounded. They have a few other projects that they were planning to do prior to starting that one and those projects are sitting idle as well so I don't expect we'll see anything done here for a while. Unlike you though I am optimistic about Danbury. It has too much going for it all related to geography. Danbury was one of the only places in CT that grew the last decade and is projected to grow far faster than other surrounding areas. It already is skimming the bottom. Personally I'd encourage people to invest now while we're nea
Jimmy Pursey January 30, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Ah that's right, BRT. They kind of put the brakes on this project after their Crosby Street apartment building didn't sell as many units as they anticipated. I don't know how long you've been in Danbury, Sid...but downtown was already revitalized once, in the 90's and early 2000's. There were music venues, two coffee shops, an art gallery, music festivals, and various retail businesses that coexisted seemingly without any interest from City Hall. This is why I find their talk of "revitalization" to be mostly hot air...knowing how many road blocks they've put in the way of people who genuinely want to do business in Danbury. If you want to run a successful business in downtown Danbury...buy a towing company.
edward ackell January 30, 2013 at 09:46 PM
the downtown will never revi.as long as the thinking is small and so called easy..what is needed is JOBS. three towers two offices and one parking.this will give traffic all day long,am coffee etc,pm lunch,pn after work casual time..and if the planner wakes up and works with the entertainment owners we could have nigtly attractions and have the mates meet downtown for dinner and attend the show et...but that takes effort ..condos..you need money to buy them and money comes from jobs..Crosby street is available for condos...why let Matrixs take the jobs when you need traffic to revi.downtown We missed the big easy money in the early 90s when the feds were giving money to revive center cities..BRT is broke..that piece will stay a trash area for a long time we need change in city hall to move things forward..I say these things because I had two business downtown and heard the confustion and have seen the lack of ambition to move forward.downtown..
Sid January 31, 2013 at 01:22 AM
I was here for the revitalization, The ice skating rink, Hat City Ale House, Seattle Expresso, the gas ball, all that. Unfortunately that all ended with this administration in City Hall.
Tubeworm January 31, 2013 at 03:48 AM
Residential buildings are the way to go. BRT should sell the lot to another developer and they should build nice residential buildings. Affordable housing should be on the bottom of the buildings while higher end housing and maybe a penthouse like floor on the upper part of the buildings. The develepment needs to be done right, similar to BRT's plan for the site. That includes a nice street wall and architecture.
edward ackell January 31, 2013 at 03:09 PM
the end of downtown revi. never got started because the planner who is the chief architect of the city never took a true interest in the city,its past,its future. when presented with various plans for downtown revi. a point blank rejection and sly remark was the return..to put a package together forget it...
Jimmy Pursey January 31, 2013 at 03:24 PM
True. Also, so many longtime Danbury businesses have closed during Boughton's reign.
edward ackell February 01, 2013 at 03:01 PM
The report put together by a group headed by the former president of Union Savings Bank,which by the way moved the bulk of its business off main street to north street consists of many of the suggestions put forth perviously but rejected.the present parking garage is too far from the core buildings on main street,,it should have been butted against the back of the buildings thus giving people easy sheltered access to the street level businesses and the secound floor operations..the gallery is designed for that purpose..when you wear a sleep mask all day until 5pm nothing is seen and nothing is done but off to mimis..

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