Developers pitch Stamford’s tallest building for UBS site

Photo of Verónica Del Valle
This is an artist’s rendering of a proposed residential tower for the parcel at 677 to 707 Washington Blvd. in downtown Stamford.

This is an artist’s rendering of a proposed residential tower for the parcel at 677 to 707 Washington Blvd. in downtown Stamford.

Artist's rendering / Perkins Eastman /

STAMFORD — In the shadows of the iconic UBS trading floor, a new “gateway” to Stamford might rise.

Developers presented a proposal for a 34-story tower, which would be constructed in an undeveloped parking lot on the former UBS site, to the Zoning Board on Monday night. If built, the proposed structure would become Stamford tallest building, beating out Trump Parc building across from Mill River Park by 15 feet.

“This is one of the nicest buildings I’ve seen come before us in a long time,” Zoning Board Chair David Stein said.

Property owner Stamford Washington Investors envisions the parcel as a mixed-use development, with 36,880 of retail space lining the street. High up above, the tower would include a 406-unit blend of one- and two-bedroom apartments. Between the garage and some surface parking, the structure would include 537 parking spaces.

Stamford Washington Investors purchased the former UBS site in late 2017.

While Zoning Board members generally praised the proposed building, the mix of apartment types drew some pause by one member. Richard Rosenfeld, an alternate on the Zoning Board, pointed to the flurry of one- and two-bedroom apartments going up in the city, particularly in Harbor Point.

“Are we creating a community which doesn’t encourage either small families or single parents to be in these new units that are coming on to the market?” Rosenfeld asked.

Architect Mark Creedon, from the Perkins Eastman firm, which designed the proposed tower, assured the board that any configuration of potential apartments was based on a market study for the city. Creedon also emphasized that the proposed units would be larger than the typical Stamford apartment.

The entire plot of land is more than 12 acres, but the planned skyscraper would take up less than 2 acres at the northwest corner of the lot.

The site at Washington Boulevard and North State Street wasn’t tailor-made for UBS, something that William Hennessey — attorney for the site — outlined for the board. Through the Urban Redevlopment Commission in 1995, Stamford approved a “Gateway District” just north of the Stamford Transportation Center.

What was once a collection of small streets and buildings became part of Stamford’s efforts to draw people from the train station into the downtown area.

“The overarching goal of the plan repeated over and over… was to remove what was there on this 12.2-acre site and replace it with a gateway — a pathway from the Transportation Center, through to the downtown,” said Hennessey.

Back then, UBS was still known as the Swiss Bank Corp., and the company promised to bring thousands of employees to Stamford if the city made the site ripe for development. While years of economic hardship prompted UBS to ditch its trading floor years later, the site remains.

“It’s time for the city to execute on the plot and build an iconic, large building here,” said Hennessey.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove an incorrect name for the proposed structure.