Boston developer proposes 230,000-square-foot warehouse in Stratford

STRATFORD — Amid rising demand for storage space, a Boston-based developer is seeking the town’s approval to build a 230,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center on the site of an old factory.

The real estate firm GFI Partners is proposing to construct the commercial building on a plot of land at West Broad Street between Interstate 95 and the New Haven line of Metro-North, according to an application recently submitted to the office of planning and zoning.

The warehouse, which could house up to two separate companies, is expected to create more than 120 jobs, including distribution center workers, office staff and truck drivers, according to William Buckley, an official with GFI.

“We are excited about the opportunity to re-develop this under-utilized industrial site,” Buckley told Hearst Connecticut Media in an email Tuesday.

The proposal comes as the growing e-commerce market has helped to fuel a demand for distribution and warehouse space across Connecticut. Buckley said GFI has not yet identified future tenants for the building.

As a part of the project, the developer intends to demolish an existing warehouse and clear the site of toxic contaminants left over by a since-demolished industrial facility, Buckley wrote in a letter to the Stratford Architectural Review Board.

“Up to $2,000,000 in environmental remediation costs are projected,” Buckley wrote, adding the company plans to invest a total of up to $32 million in the redevelopment project.

The town’s architectural board, a five-member advisory panel tasked with developing local design standards, is scheduled to review the proposal at its meeting next week at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11.

Before work can begin on the warehouse, the project must be approved by the Stratford Inland Wetlands Commission and the Stratford Zoning Commission. The two commissions have not yet scheduled a hearing for the proposal.

The multi-acre site, which contains wetlands, is currently home to a 77,000-square-foot bottle and can redemption center. An old manufacturing plant once sat on the eastern portion of the property, which was acquired through a purchase and sale agreement.

The proposed warehouse was designed by applied Form + Space, a Boston-based architectural firm. According to site plans, the facility’s exterior would largely be made up of insulated metal panels and the base would feature concrete blocks painted to look like bricks.

An office in the southeastern corner of the building, which would also serve as a storefront, would be clad with wood-colored fiber cement panels, the plans show.

“Darker, horizontal panels are used at the building corners,” Buckley wrote to the town, “Lighter, vertical panels are used in between.”

The warehouse would also feature more than 230 parking spaces and nearly 40 loading docks with 9 x 10 doors. The application states the docks would be situated on the building’s western and eastern sides to help hide the sight of tractor-trailers from motorists on the nearby interstate.

“The building is situated towards the rear of the site,” Buckley wrote. “This provides the maximum visual distance between the existing 1-story building on West Broad Street and the I-95 corridor.”