Commission OKs $20M condo project at former Mystic Color lab

Mystic Harbor Rendering

The Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved scaled-back plans to develop the vacant Mystic Color Lab property into 42 townhouse condominiums in seven buildings.

The site plan approval was the second and final approval that the Greylock Property Group needed to develop the $20 million project known as Mystic Harbor Landing on the 5.5-acre site off Harry Austin Drive.

In February, the commission approved a master plan for the site. The current plan has 13 fewer units and 26 percent less square footage than a previous plan for the site that called for a large single structure.

Project attorney Bill Sweeney told the commission that the site plan is almost identical to the approved master plan except the project is now fully engineered with more detail. Compared to previous projects for the site, he said the current plan “has been downscaled in almost every aspect to the minimum needed to make it economically viable.”

He said the site plan approval is the final hurdle needed “to bring this site back into active reuse” and it would build on the investment being made next door at the Ocean Community YMCA, which has begun an extensive expansion and renovation project.

The project will be constructed in three phases, with buildings having a Nantucket-style design with gray shingles. Units will range in price from the high $400,000s to low $500,000s, depending on size of the unit and water views.

There will be 137 parking spots and an interior courtyard with a monument that will pay homage to the industrial history of the site. Bricks from the remaining wall of the former mill building will be used for the monument, signage and other aspects of the project. The wall and tower will be taken down.

Greylock has had a contractual agreement with the property owner, Edgewood Capital of Southport, to explore potential development possibilities for the property. Sweeney said the two sides are now ready to close on the property, complete an environmental cleanup and begin construction next year.

In the fall of 2014, Edgewood had sought approval of modifications for the previously approved plan for 55 luxury condominiums. But the commission rejected the application after a group of neighbors opposed the changes. No one spoke against the project at Tuesday night’s public hearing.

Commission members cited the size and mass of the plan as well as their desire to maintain the character of the mill as reasons for their opposition. Edgewood then put the property up for sale.

Another group had obtained the initial approval to develop the site in 2005. It demolished most of the mill, cleared the site and began an environmental cleanup. But that project stalled with the downturn in the economy.

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By Joe Wojtas, The Day staff writer