FAQs for Mystic River Bluffs
1What is Mr. Respler’s background in projects similar to those entailed by the MEC endeavor?
Jeff Respler has been in the real estate development business since 1982. Over the past decade his business has evolved into one of the premiere homebuilders in Connecticut. Respler Homes LLC was established for the purpose of redeveloping the former Mystic Education Center. The firm integrates the ownership, construction and development companies for each project. Quality design, quality materials, and quality construction are the cornerstone of Respler Homes. Jeff executes his business plan for each project with diligent attention to design details and costs, allowing him to bring renewed projects to the market at sustainable prices. Current Projects in Connecticut:
- Estates of Berlin – Berlin, CT - 154 Unit active adult condominium community.
- Pond Spring Development, LLC - Beacon Falls, CT - 92 Unit Active Adult Condo Development.
- West River Farms - East Windsor, CT - 69 Unit Subdivision.
- Middlebury Estates, LLC - Middlebury, CT - 100 Unit Condominium project currently in the approval process.
2Traffic Issues - What is being done to make sure the surrounding neighborhood will not be negatively impacted by traffic?
- A comprehensive traffic study will be conducted before any final plans are developed and submitted for review and public input. The study will determine what improvements will be needed to insure that traffic flows safely and efficiently.
- The Lamphere/Cow Hill Intersection will be realigned to make it a true four-way intersection, making the intersection safer and more efficient.
- Lower Cow Hill Road will not be widened or improved to accommodate traffic in or out of the property.
3What is the total acreage that would be used to create the complex and associated infrastructure?
4What are the conservation easements on open space and any desires for further acquisition of state land in the area?
Only the upland portion of the property, approximately 40 of the 77 acres, is suitable for redevelopment. The lower 37-acre portion features substantial topographic slopes and natural resources.
5What is the timeline for the approval process and construction?
The approval process with the Town of Groton is expected to take between 8-12 months.
6Recreation Areas – Will there be walking/running/biking trails in the new development and DEEP protected area?
Yes. These trails will be open to the public and will also connect to Cow Hill Road.
7Owner occupied vs. Rentals - Why can’t the plan involve condos or townhouses to enhance quality and property values in the immediate neighborhood and in surrounding neighborhoods?
The housing demand in Groton is for high-end rental units, not owner-occupied units.
8Will the public be charged to park in the new Garage?
9Mass Transit/Shuttle Service
We are exploring the possibility and availability of providing shuttle service for residents of the development with State & Local officials, as well as with area private employers.
10Pratt Recreation Center – Will the new recreation center be a prohibitively priced member-only Feature? How can guarantee that its development remains that part of the proposal and assure that it simply isn’t eliminated or unavailable to the rest of the town?
The Pratt Recreation Center will be accessible to all town residents and will not be an exclusive, members only amenity with limited access to development residents, only.
11How high are the apartments? Will I be able to see them from my neighboring home?
The highest buildings will be 4½ stories tall. The existing buffer should provide sufficient screening for our neighbors. Where additional screening may be necessary, combinations of evergreen landscaping and fencing will augment existing vegetative buffers.
12What are plans for the remainder of the 17-acre parcel besides an access road? Will additional apartments be built? Or will the remainder of the property serve as a buffer of trees and landscaping to protect neighbors from noise/sight of traffic?
While we are exploring the possibility of an access road, no other development on that parcel is part of this application. If there is a need in the future, we would consider coming back to the Town with a proposal for smaller scale housing.
13How did you come up with 750 for the number of apartments?
The vision for the property is to create a mixed-use village that supports anticipated regional growth in a manner conducive to the needs of the currently underserved demographic. The order of magnitude of units proposed is needed to create the critical mass required to support and sustain such mixed uses and regional need. The number is derived from a thorough economic analysis of the housing market in the greater Groton trade area. The analysis not only examines supply & demand, but also quality & suitability. In addition, the property needs substantial investment to environmentally remediate the buildings and grounds. That investment, and the investment in additional infrastructure, needs to be spread out the whole project with both commercial and retail and apartments. The number reflects adding about 8% more units (luxury, not currently available) to the total apartment market.
14Will construction be done using union labor?
Once approved, there will be an open bid process where all contractors will be allowed to bid on the project.
15Once the project is complete, who will be the landlord?
Respler Homes LLC.
16What provisions will the developer take to ensure that Oral School events do not negatively impact the adjacent neighborhoods?
Any events at the property would not be nearly near the scale of events currently in Mystic and there will be adequate on site parking. The access and circulation system is designed to provide direct access to Cow Hill Road and I95 via existing signalized intersections. Access to and from the village will be prohibited from using lower Oral School Road.
Off Site Issues
Off Site Issues
1Water Pressure & Capacity, Sewer Capacity, Ground Water & Water Runoff
Now that a Development Agreement has been reached with the Town, Respler will be working with appropriate local and state utility providers to determine what improvements and enhancements will be necessary to provide appropriate service to the development without negatively impacting the neighborhood.
2Blasting – What will be done to protect current neighbors from any damage that might be caused by blasting? What precautions will be taken to protect the integrity of neighboring wells, foundations, and septic tanks? If there is damage, does the builder have insurance to cover homeowner claims?
Any blasting, if necessary, will be coordinated with the Groton Fire Department and will be conducted by licensed and insured contractors. Properties that could be impacted will be surveyed, photographed and reviewed prior to blasting to determine pre-work conditions. The contractor will cover any damage that may occur.
3Impact on Schools – Since the new development will not prohibit children, what will be the impact on Groton’s Schools, particularly Northeast Academy?
This development will attract mobile young professionals without children and empty nesters looking to downside. Based on demographic studies of similar projects, it is expected that the project will include approximately 40 school age children, many of who are already in the Groton school system.
Tax and Financial Issues
Tax and Financial Issues
1TIFF – Why is a TIF necessary? What will it cost taxpayers?
The Town’s RFP offered TIF financing given the excessive infrastructure costs associated with remediation, preserving historic buildings and upgrading infrastructure. There is no incremental cost to the taxpayer. The project as proposed will be generating NEW additional taxes to the town of Groton. A portion of the NEW taxes will be utilized to pay the TIF.
2What are the potential tax impacts on Groton taxpayers?
The project is expected to generate $3.5 million annually in new property tax revenue.
3What are sources of financing?
Respler Homes is prepared to provide an equity investment of up to $30,000,000 and secure the additional capital required through construction mortgage ﬁnancing, followed by permanent long-term capital ﬁnancing.