Posted on November 7, 2023
State Reps. Tracy Marra and Tom O’Dea were joined by Governor Lamont, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Alexandra Daum, Darien First Selectman Monica McNally, (now, First Selectman-elect) Jon Zagrodzky, former First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, local real estate developers Jon and Joe Vaccaro, of V20 Group, David Genovese, CEO of Baywater Properties, Patrick McMahon from Federal Realty, and project managers for a discussion, brief tour and first-hand look at several dynamic development projects in Darien.
Rep. Marra initiated the tour and asked the governor to visit to showcase Darien’s approach to mixed use communities that seamlessly blend retail and commercial businesses and residential living. Their first stop was Darien Commons but they also visited the construction site of Heights Crossing, and the Corbin District.
During their discussions, Rep. Marra noted that these well-designed projects received tremendous support from the community, developers and local and state officials but due to the scope and nature of the projects they took years, and sometimes decades to come to fruition. David Genovese hosted the group at his office and provided a detailed overview of the personal, professional and emotional investments in bringing large-scale developments to completion. He also talked about East Lane Properties which was donated to and is managed by Abilis to serve as affordable housing for disabled individuals.
As the tour was wrapping up, Rep. Marra emphasized the importance of having a clearly defined, long-term development vision to allow “buy in” from the community and developers. She stressed that Darien’s local leadership has consistently brought a positive, thoughtful approach to working with developers and is a key component toward creating sustainable and economically viable projects. Darien’s more stringent inclusionary zoning has created affordable housing in each of these developments. It also helps tremendously when local and state officials are able to work together, she said.