In 2013, following a two-year Transit Oriented Development [TOD] Master planning effort in downtown Meriden, CT, Form + Place authored a new TOD Zoning District regulation for the neighborhoods adjacent to the proposed Intermodal Transportation Center, scheduled to open in 2016. One of the key findings of the TOD master plan was that Meriden should position its downtown as an “origin,” as opposed to a “destination” and, therefore, it was recommended that a first step to the implementation process should be to facilitate mixed-income multi-family residential development in the core. The new zoning regulation incentivized this type of development by creating a new use category called “TOD Mixed-Income Dwelling,” specifically designed to eliminate or minimize existing segregate housing patterns.
Integral to building community consensus and testing the new zoning criteria [ie. height, density, shared parking, etc.], Form + Place produced a series of feasibility studies for key sites in the downtown core proximate to the new Amtrak station. These sites, identified during the TOD Master Plan process, were initially studied through a series of preliminary visioning drawings, looking at issues of massing, public realm interface and connectivity, through the use of both aerial and streetscape level renderings.
Subsequently, after numerous discussions with key boards and community stakeholders, Form + Place produced more detailed plan and Sketchup model studies for various sites, including for the City-owned parcel at 24/38/44 Colony Street, which was identified as a catalyzing project for the downtown. Designed to accommodate mixed-use development, with residential over ground floor retail, and a new parking garage, this site is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016.
24/38/44 Colony Street will be home to a 71,000 square foot building with 63 residential units and over 11,000sf of retail space. In addition, at the back of the site, a 275 car garage is being constructed, designed to accommodate 225 commuter parking spaces for the new ITC across the street. This project, a public-private partnership involving the Meriden Housing authority, a private developer and the State DOT, will accommodate the relocation of public housing residents from the Mills Apartments, unlocking additional development parcels on Meriden’s new public park – an example of the effective implementation of Meriden’s TOD Master Plan vision and zoning regulation.