In Norwalk, cubicles meet bucolic at The Curb
It might come as a surprise to some to hear Carl Kuehner III describe the new Curb at North Seven apartments in Norwalk as his most exciting residential development to date, given his resume creating the massive Harbor Point district in Stamford and the Beacon towers in Jersey City, N.J.
But that is how Kuehner told it Monday on a short tour of the newest residences to open under his Stamford-based development firm Building and Land Technology, with the initial building complete on Glover Avenue just north of the Merritt Parkway in Norwalk, even as a second phase of the development goes vertical.
Kuehner’s enthusiasm seems from the Curb at North Seven’s concept of urban living coming into confluence with nature, with the Norwalk Valley River Trail passing close by the new development and the new building forming a massive courtyard with pool and outdoor lounge areas, including fire pits that were providing warmth on a chilly Monday morning. The building allows pets and includes a dog park.
Inside, The Curb’s ground floor is dominated by a high foyer that opens up onto lounges, a fitness facility and a co-working space that can accommodate as many as 30 people, with use limited for now to those leasing apartments at The Curb.
At an expected lease rate of 30 units a month, Kuehner expects The Curb to be near capacity by the end of summer, when a second building will be near completion and a third under construction. The Curb will total just over 700 units in all.
Kuehner said the opportunity intrigued him more than a decade ago as parcels of land were put up for sale on Glover Avenue that previously housed corporate offices of U.S. Surgical, the surgical stapler maker that at one time was one of Norwalk’s major employers.
The Curb is adjacent to Norwalk’s two most prestigious corporate addresses today in the Merritt 7 Corporate Park that is home to Datto, Frontier Communications and Xerox among others; and The Towers offices owned by BLT, where the GE Capital division of General Electric is the dominant tenant.
Kuehner said that coupled with the One Glover apartments BLT completed a few years ago, he hopes to inject more vitality along Glover Avenue in the evenings after the office parks empty. That could include “pop-up” retail experiments in other buildings BLT owns along Glover Avenue, he said.
The state of Connecticut has committed to building a new commuter rail station at Merritt 7, which Kuehner said had enhanced The Curb’s appeal compared to other real estate opportunities in the region.
“The community needs to come together in a live-work-play environment,” Kuehner said. “Obviously, we are ‘long’ on Connecticut.”
In addition to Harbor Point and The Curb, other BLT projects in southwestern Connecticut include the Abbey Woods apartments on Danbury’s west side, not far from the Ridge at Danbury offices formerly known as Matrix Corporate Center, where Fairfield-based Summit Development plans to add apartments and retail. BLT considered bidding for the property, Kuehner told Hearst Connecticut Media, but ultimately elected not to but with Kuehner not ruling out another project in the Danbury area.