Stamford City Focus: Moving Forward
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Despite this changing demographic and the new housing—thousands of units have been added in and around the downtown over the last two decades, including Stamford Corners, Park Square West, two Avalon complexes and the two newest projects, Highgrove condominiums and Trump Parc Stamford—Stamford is still home to many older working- and middle-class neighborhoods.
Keeping the character of those neighborhoods amidst the influx of younger professionals is an important challenge, says Michael Pavia, the city’s new Republican mayor. He addressed the concern in his state-of-the-city address early this year, saying, “The character of the neighborhoods needs to be preserved, embraced and enriched in any way we can.”
In any case, development has not been limited to the downtown and Harbor Point. The city’s West Side, marked by strong multigenerational neighborhoods, is likewise experiencing a regrowth that has garnered the attention of an important neighbor: Stamford Hospital. The hospital has elected, in its plans to expand and become more state-of-the-art, to remain on the West Side, due to its longstanding relationship with the neighborhood.
“We had to decide on the best location for us, for the next 50 to 100 years,” says David L. Smith, the hospital’s vice president for strategy and business development. “We know the West Side will undergo quite a bit of redevelopment and we wanted to be a part of that. We are proud of the strong community involvement, and we hope this plan will include jobs and make sense for the neighborhood.
“Stamford has demonstrated the ability to grow and develop through the years. The recent economic downturn has caused us all to change our plans to some degree, but we’re lucky to be in a city that will not only rebound nicely but will thrive for years to come.”
Or as Stamford Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jack Condlin succinctly puts it as he looks at recent growth, “Even in bad times, Stamford is busier than other cities in the region may be in good times.”
The city’s younger professional population and lively downtown, as well as its older, affluent residents, are what drew Nick Casinelli to Stamford. Casinelli is owner of the Conneccticut Cigar Co., a downtown cigar lounge.
The Stamford location has opened doors for CCC, says Casinelli, who rolls cigars for both corporate gigs and private events.
“We found that Stamford was the perfect location to open a lifestyle-based business,” he says. “Between the hundreds of businesses in the downtown during the day and the nightlife the city offers people of all ages and affluence, we have been able to do a great retail business, but also be woven into people’s lives and life events. That wouldn’t be possible in just any city.”