With the snip of an oversized pair of scissor, the is officially open for business. The first train rolls in -- and stops -- at 4:37 a.m. on Monday.
“This is a great day in the history of Fairfield,” said First Selectman “This is the the town of Fairfield has been a part of.”
The station portion of the project, which cost $40.8 million to construct, is nearly complete, but the next phase of development is about to begin.
“The ball is in your court now,” Tetreau said to Kurt Wittek, principal of BlackRock Realty, the Metro Center’s developer.
The project’s campus will eventually house multiple buildings, including:
- A concourse for commuters and visitors, complete with 200,000 square feet of commercial office and retail space; three to five full-service restaurants; a bank; coffee shop; and newsstand
- A 180-room Hilton hotel
- A 190-unit residential apartment complex
- One million square feet of office space among several buildings
The Metro Center is bordered by Ash Creek and its surrounding 11-acre nature preserve, which includes walking trails and boardwalks and pedestrian access to the station.
The foundation has been set in place for the concourse building and Wittek expects to begin vertical construction in early 2012.
The timeline for future phases, like additional office buildings, will be “market-driven,” Wittek said.
All the buildings included in the Metro Center project will be set to achieve LEED Gold Level certification, which means they will be “high-performance, environmentally sound green buildings,” according to a Metro Center press release.
Wittek said such buildings could reduce tenants’ electricity costs by 25 to 40 percent.
He added that he sees an “economic revitalization” in the town’s future, as the Metro Center continues developing into a retail and commercial focal point.
“It can be a model for the way projects are developed going forward,” Wittek said of the high-density, transit-based project. ‘There is a lock of this type of thing in this corridor…it was visionary of the town of Fairfield to embrace this.”
Wittek echoed a theme Gov. Dannel P. Malloy echoed prior to cutting the ribbon -- that in developing the New Haven rail line, more people will find it convenient to use the train rather than the traffic nightmare that is I-95.
“If you live around here and travel on I-95, you know it’s bad,” Wittek said. With the addition of stops on the Metro North line, “you can jump on a train and know it will pull into the station when it’s supposed to.”
This is the idea encompassed by Malloy when he said his administration aims to revitalize public transportation in the state.
“If the rest of the state is to prosper as I hope it will, we have to take care of the transportation at our gateway,” he said. “We are celebrating something that will be here long after we will. The proof? You don’t see too many train stations disappearing.”