FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Commuters will finally get to use the Fairfield Metro station at 4:37 a.m. Monday, when a Metro-North Railroad train stops there for the first time. But construction work on the Fairfield Metro Center is just beginning.
Kurt Wittek and Black Rock Realty plan to build more than a million square feet of retail, commercial and residential space on the lot over the next few years. “We’ve made a great deal of progress on the development,” Wittek said. “We’re well on our way to seeing the Fairfield Metro Center come to fruition.”
In the model Wittek prepared for the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, the train station takes up just a small corner of the developers' overall plans. First to go up will be an apartment complex with 186 spaces, close to Black Rock Turnpike. Construction on that will begin as soon as the plan gets approval from the Plan and Zoning Commission, Wittek said.
Next is a retail concourse attached to the train station. Plans call for three to five restaurants, a bank, a coffee shop, a newsstand and other amenities. Construction will start on the concourse as soon as a flagship tenant is locked up, which Wittek expects will happen soon.
Eventually, Black Rock plans to have more than 1,000,000 square feet of office space abutting the train station lot, all of it LEED Gold certified as environmentally friendly buildings. It will sit between the town-built access road and Ash Creek. A 180-room Hilton hotel is also planned.
“I think [tenants] here will have the best of all worlds,” Wittek said. “You have a little enclave of a suburban park-like setting, but it’s a very urban development with a critical mass of things here on site.”
But even those in Fairfield who aren’t commuters or potential office renters stand to benefit from the development. Part of the complex is an 11-acre park lining Ash Creek, complete with hiking trails and a boardwalk. And First Selectman Michael Tetreau said Friday he’s anxious to see the new complex added to Fairfield’s grand list, boosting the town’s tax rolls and possibly lowering homeowners' taxes.
“I want to compliment [Black Rock] on their vision,” Tetreau said. “To them, I say, ‘The ball’s in your court.’”