SoNo’s attractions have been there for years, but come fall 2018, there will be a Norwalk mall. And anyone who remembers the transformation the Stamford Town Center brought to The City That Works also knows that Norwalk, already changing, will never be the same.
At the end of March, a second anchor store was announced via Illinois-based General Growth Properties, which is developing the site by the I-95/Route 7 junction. In addition to Nordstrom (which already has people salivating), Bloomingdale’s will operate a 150,000-square-foot, three-level store within the nearly 950,000 square feet of planned space.
“I would say it is a really great start: Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom,” Lesley Cheers, a media representative for GGP said, when asked about the announcement. “We were very excited about that. We’re going for the full retail experience, with restaurants and entertainment. We will continue to publicly announce them when we can.”
So, for now, much is still undetermined, according to GGP and more local sources.
“We are pleased and proud that General Growth Properties has selected Norwalk for its high-end retail facility,” said Brian Griffith, Vice President of the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce, recently. “And although there are a number of processes and discussions to still occur, we feel very confident that this project will be of great benefit to the Norwalk community, and to the overall area as well.”
Of course, “Which stores are coming?” has been the big question. However, The Hour previously quoted official channels that said the development would offer room for a potential hotel space and a large public area as well. Specifics have not emerged.
But considering that Nordstrom and Bloomindale’s will be full-line, three-level stores, and that between them they carry huge varieties of luxe fashion, it’s possible that standalone brand boutiques (think Burberry, Ferragamo, etc.) may not need to open doors.
But that is, again, speculative. The Norwalk Chamber of Commerce, in fact, seeks to emphasize how much about the mall itself is still in the developmental phase.
One thing is certain, however: the mall will not merely bring more shoppers to the area. It will bring more jobs, construction and traffic — by foot, car and other means. The SoNo area and the mall spot hopefully will become a bridge between the city’s well-touristed areas and emerging neighborhoods. Public transportation also may be enhanced for that reason.
As someone who lives within walking distance of the site, I’ve observed the neighborhood’s slow transformation. This year, Norwalk Hospital is undergoing massive upgrades. Residential space nearby has been increased as well. Highway construction around Exit 14 is unclogging a previously choked area.
What’s in the air isn’t merely a feeling about improved city resources, but improvements to the levels of the city itself. They are being refined, enhanced, for citizens. And because of that, most Norwalkers can’t wait for this project to become a reality.