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Derby needs a new downtown, it's in pretty bad shape. Won't someone build it?
To answer your question, NO.
The town of Derby fell into the same trap many small cities/towns fall into. A developer comes along, promises a massive new downtown development with shopping, new residential units, etc. The town gets all excited. The developers demands X, Y and Z in order to proceed and if the city/town are smart they DON'T spend a penny until they are certain the developer has tenants and funding lined up.
Derby, sadly, fell for this hook line and sinker. But only after buying up a big chunk of downtown and tearing it all down, only to be left with a big vacant lot and not a single new building as the developer would not do what they promised.
The ONLY way Derby is going to get new development downtown is if a MAJOR retailer wants the land across 34 from Home Depot and signs on the dotted line. However, who would this be? Lowe's, Walmart, Target, the major supermarket chains, etc. already have stores in this area and some are nearly new. Who is left to anchor a major new retail development in downtown Derby and, no IKEA isn't coming. (You need to look at demographics here.)
The only long shots are either Costco or perhaps Walmart will decide to replace it's smallish old Caldor site on 34 with a Walmart Supercenter there. The site is big enough to hold a Walmart Supertcenter and people would travel to visit it.
Otherwise, Derby is out of luck.
Planner, I agree. However, that land was cleared and is an eyesore. There is no way QUALITY residential properties are being built there nor does anyone want to live on the side of a highway and busy entrance and exit ramp system.
The only use for that property is to leave it a vacant mess or put up a new shopping center, which means big box. I welcome other viable suggestions.. but a big box retailer is really the only tenant that would find that location attractive.
When you have a site on a major state road (34) with a major highway (8) looking right onto the site with established exit and entrance ramps to lead vehicles to said development site (Downtown Derby) you WLL get big box retail. That site is perfectly located for such development and Home Depot will draw a similar retailer.
Brace yourself for Costco or Super Walmart in Downtown Derby people.
I agree. Derby was scammed by a developer claiming a grand vision for downtown Derby they probably knew was a long shot. The problem is small towns want to revitalize their downtowns, developers come in claiming to have a plan if only they can get tax breaks, etc. and because there are not urban planners or those with major experience in development on the boards in these towns they (while well intentioned) get very excited and often approve things they shouldn't not realizing it's a game.
You have to have lots of experience in commercial development to know to scratch your head and say "Um, no... you're not going to be able to build this is downtown Derby and get funding and tenants".
Sadly, Derby didn't realize what they had gotten themselves into before taking a number of buildings and demolishing an entire side of a street.
Nothing against these towns, but I believe Seymour almost got scammed and those claiming to have major plans for the abandoned factory buildings in downtown Ansonia are also dreaming. There is not a market for upscale retail, housing or office development in any of these cities. They can much more easily go to Shelton or Trumbull where open land and infrastructure already exist.
I think one plan in Derby included a movie theater and entertainment complex. Movie theaters are dying these days, not opening and there are already entertainment venues with plenty of availability in Waterbury, New Haven and Bridgeport. No need to build more in the Valley.
I hear the comments above, but Home Depot already being in that area along with highway exits makes that area of downtown Derby a PERFECT big box retail spot. There are truly not many other realistic uses and you don't want affordable housing which is the only other option.
I see this thread is popular. The only thing that Derby can do with that open space is retail. Big box retail. There are exit and entrance ramps to 8 right next to downtown and you are not going to get residential housing on that site.
Plant pretty trees. Put in fancy sidewalks and street lights... they will still be wrapped around a Costco or similar store. That is why the original developer failed. Anything else can't get financing.
It will be 8 years soon since I opened this with zero progress other than destroying Cobblestone Hill.
Sad. Very, very sad. I’m almost sorry I opened this back in 2010, but it’s eye opening each month to get the app’s update to remind me its still open and to realize that our leaders have done absolutely nothing to move Derby forward.
See you with my next comment in 2 years.
Derby requires professional leadership and economic development expertise. Penny wise and pound foolish, your city is unwilling to pay professional staff who know both the public and private side of the development business. Not volunteers, retirees and “a guy who knows a guy”. Pay your leaders and staff the right salaries and you will attract the right talent. Stop worrying about these salaries – it’s pennies when you’re running a $50 million corporation! You pay your mayor, your chief executive - nothing, you have no economic development director, no development operation whatsoever, you have no coordinated planning & development operation whatsoever, you don’t even have an economic development commission or a redevelopment commission or agency – nothing! What do you people expect if you invest nothing in yourselves or your economic future?
As for all of the self-proclaimed experts who keep posting on here about big box retail being the answer - you really need to stop saying that. Downtowns succeed when people live there and can easily get to and from their places of work - or best yet, work in their own downtown. Good downtowns today will provide attractive rental housing and condominiums and the bars, restaurants, entertainment and other diversions that make living there pleasant. The highway location is great for a hotel and the demand for another hotel is still being generated from Shelton and vicinity.
Downtown Derby can have a future and it’s not a big box! But it needs professional management on the city side. On the spending side they need to stop being so cheap and the people need to give a new mayor more than two years to develop a real plan that will work. I have worked with successful developers all along the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast. Derby’s downtown has development potential in spades! You have waterfront property and transportation connections other towns would kill for!There are plenty of well-heeled developers who will invest in your town. What needs to happen is that the city needs to figure out how to provide what is needed to allow the private sector to have the confidence to invest. When a developer shows interest they have to get the feeling in return that the town’s own professional development team understands its assets, understands its potential and demonstrates that it knows what it takes to bring a large, complicated deal together. It’s about confidence and it’s about professionalism and it’s about not acting like you’re afraid to spend 10¢ to make a buck. When that changes then Derby’s future will change. Everything else is just an excuse.
Three thousand. Three hundred. Thirty. Three.
That’s how many days ago I posted this and still... same situation. I’m saddened for the city.
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