Consolidated Cigar building proposed for reuse as apartments

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., May. 23, 2013
The former Consolidated Cigar Corporation warehouse will likely become an apartment complex, with some semblance of the historic building's character remaining intact. Photo by Steve Smith.
The former Consolidated Cigar Corporation warehouse will likely become an apartment complex, with some semblance of the historic building's character remaining intact. Photo by Steve Smith.

A Glastonbury historical landmark – the former Consolidated Cigar Company building – may be turned into apartments, if a developer's plans eventually clear hurdles.

At a joint session of the Town Council and Planning and Zoning Commission on May 14, Attorney Peter Alter, representing the L.A.C. Group, LLC, gave an overview of the 42-unit proposal on the site of what is currently being used as a warehouse at 38 Hubbard St., at the preliminary hearing for a change of zone from residential to an Adaptive Redevelopment Zone.

The 1.2 acres were first home to a warehouse building in 1910 by Consolidated Cigar, and later used by the Auroura Casket Company, and then again as a warehouse by two other owners.

Councilmen and commissioners were critical of the proposal, largely because of its density. “My initial reaction when looking at it is they are shoe-horned in,” PZC Chair Sharon Purtill said, referring specifically to the one-bedroom basement units. “I know that more units mean more available dollars and making proposals profitable... but the way I see it, it seems really squeezed in,” Purtill said.

To meet regulation, the plan has 63 parking spaces – some of them tandem parking. Alter said tandem parking has been successful at the Addison Mill apartments, but some officials were not fans of the idea.

“I don't know that our regs specifically permit tandem parking,” said PZC commissioner Sharon Purtill.  “I can tell you that, from my perspective, looking at the very limited property that we have here, it is not a big expansive parking lot. We have probably 41 different families, and it's not the same as one driveway/one family, letting cars stack in and queue up. I don't see a lot of room for movement around the area. I would also have to agree that the pavement is really pushed to the edge of the property.”

Several units on the west side of the property would have a sunken patio, but the structures would be just 5 to 6 feet from the abutting property – a single-family home.

Councilmen Larry Byar and Whit Osgood both expressed concerns that they wanted to see some sort of nod in the building's design to the original historic building's structure and character, which was part of the ordinance's intention for the reuse of buildings with historic significance.

Planners said the building will retain most of the original warehouse's structure, and some other elements, internally. Alter said the Consolidated Cigar verbiage on the side of the building would no longer be present, but there is a provision in the plan to use some sort of re-creation of the historical aspect of the building in the residential building's lobby.

Purtill said this application was the first under the new Adaptive Redevelopment Zone, and essentially, was suitable for what the new zone's use and intentions were, but that it will need some adjustments.

“It's my sense that the proposal, as it stands right now, is too dense,” Purtill said. “Hopefully, we can meet everybody's criteria – the developer, the town, as well as the neighbors – and come up with a project that really fits for everybody.”


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