A self storage facility, a hotel, a commercial building, and a sewage treatment plant – all rather interesting neighbors.
In 1948, Henri Doll founded the Schlumberger research laboratory in Ridgefield, Connecticut. In 2006, the lab moved to Cambridge and the campus in Ridgefield sat empty. In late 2011, city residents approved the $7 million purchase of the 45-acre property late. (Six million dollars of the purchase price was for the property and one million dollars went to surveying, lawyers, and demolition of the abandoned research complex that was on the property.)
The city now has a prospective buyer for part of the property. Steve Zemo, the buyer is offering the city $1.25 million for 5 acres and proposes to build a self storage facility, a commercial building, and a hotel on the property. For the city, selling the property to Zemo would partially refill the city’s coffers for the $7 million paid for the land.
The proposed self storage facility would have 50,000 square feet. It would be built along the east side of the property and would be two-stories high. Zemo stated that there were several reasons on the specific location where he wanted to build the facility.
The city’s sewage treatment plant is on the east side of the parcel that he wants to purchase. By constructing a two-story self storage facility, the treatment plant would be blocked from view from the hotel. It would also be a visual block for an adjacent townhouse development.
Zemo also commented that the lower level would have individual units that would provide storage for small local contractors. Storage space for them – at affordable rates – is hard to come by in that area. He said that there are other storage facilities further away but none located in the center of town. Having a downtown self storage facility would be very convenient for businesses and residents.
Zemo said that the hotel would not be a “flag” brand chain but rather an independently owned and operated hotel. He said that he felt that the flag brand chain hotels would not be interested in building in Ridgefield. So, having an independent one would be a draw for the city.
He also commented that his commercial building could have a wide variety of commercial uses ranging from office spaces to warehouses. (Retail stores would not be allowed in the building.)
The fate of this proposed purchase is in the hands of the city’s Board of Selectmen. They will have a closed-door meeting to discuss the issue. While the meeting is a closed-door meeting, it is just an executive session. They will not make a decision nor will they vote on anything. They said that a vote would be part of a public session. The Selectmen indicated that they want to review the entire property and discuss the potential future developments for the whole property during their closed door session.
“Zemo sees hotel in plan for Schlumberger lot.” Ridgefield Press; 27 September 2013.
“Town could recoup Schlumberger investment.” Ridgefield Press; 1 June 2013.