Ah, the shopping mall – it houses the sacred milestone for our preteen selves: trying on outfits in Hollister and Forever21 for the first time without nagging parents by our sides. It’s the wonderland of the intoxicating smell of cinnamon pretzel contraptions. And it’s the exquisite kingdom for the high school queen bee in basically every ‘90s flick.
Malls are a means of bringing people together, and no one understands this better than Douglas T. Adams, the senior director of General Growth Properties, Inc., (GGP). The company is currently laying the conceptual groundwork for a 700,000-square-foot shopping center to be built in South Norwalk. The mall hopes to bring in between 75 to 100 restaurants and shops to the site off of West Avenue, Interstate 95, and the Route 7 Connector.
The GGP is currently in the process of informing the surrounding businesses of what the construction and finished project will entail – and what it will mean for SoNo’s local hotspots.
“GGP is at the beginning of the approval process and has not yet submitted a formal application,” Adams explained. “We have been conducting outreach to the community to gather input and feedback on our concept plan. We expect to file a formal application before the end of this year.”
“The proposed plan will connect with the existing SoNo Historic District, activate West Avenue tying together Norwalk’s reemerging downtown corridor, and make the entire district an upscale local and regional shopping destination,” Adams continued.
The preliminary plan promises collaboration between the incoming mall and already established surrounding stores as opposed to competition. If the approvals come in on schedule, then construction should start in 2015! Here are five reasons for why we think the SoNo Mall will certainly be worth the wait!
1.) It will draw a crowd of newcomers that will be just as excited about SoNo as we already are
Adams told The Hour that the finished project anticipates drawing a million visitors per month. And this is not to say that the site will suck the life out of SoNo – Adams went on to say that five percent of those visitors will likely be newcomers who are sure to continue their exploration of the city far beyond the mall walls.
2.) Oh, the places we’ll go
The new mall also has the potential to become a new transportation hub in SoNo. A partnership with the Norwalk Transit District could mean the addition of a train stop, bicycle paths, and – get this – a water taxi. The decision for the former is a matter for the state, so stay tuned on whether the SoNo Mall will become a potential stop on the morning commute.
3.) It’ll be SHINY
According to The Hour, the new mall’s exterior will be made of “largely” glass. We can’t wait to see all that is sure to glitter inside as well!
4.) It will create jobs
According to GGP, that’s 2,485 permanent jobs to be exact. The necessary construction (which is predicted to take at least two years to complete) is anticipated to create approximately 5,545 jobs.
5.) You have a say
Community outreach is a priority in this project; GGP has held a number of meetings with neighborhood organizations to present the plan and hear out any questions or concerns the surrounding small businesses may have about the mall. According to The Hour, GGP has also printed 1,000 copies of a “SoNo Walking Map,” which will serve as a guide for small businesses to truly picture what SoNo will look like with the implementation of the new mall.
Photos courtesy of GGP