Plans for redevelopment of Trumbull plaza coming soon
TRUMBULL — A team of local developers will soon submit plans to the town for the demolition and redevelopment of the plaza that includes the former Marisa’s restaurant .
The site, at 6540 Main St., was home to Marisa’s — a favorite celebration spot for First Selectman Tim Herbst’s campaigns — nearly 20 years before the family that founded the eatery converted it into the Cast Iron Chop House last year.
Now, developers Phil DiGennaro, of Trumbull-based Sound Development, and Michael Cerreta, of Bridgeport-based Cerreta Builders, hope to replace the shopping center with a brand-new plaza of about 20,000 square feet of commercial space. The developers have a contract to buy the property from the Marini family, which founded Marisa’s and still owns Cast Iron.
Attilio Marini declined to comment on the family’s reasons for looking to sell the plaza, only noting that it was “good opportunity.”
Rina Bakalar, Trumbull’s economic development director, said she has been in contact with the developers interested in the site and looks forward to seeing their plans.
“The structure that currently exists is in need of major renovations,” Bakalar said.
The future of Cast Iron restaurant is uncertain, but DiGennaro said he hopes to present the town with a proposal for the site in the next few months. “Marisa’s has always been a property we looked at and thought if the time was right we’d like to have a chance to redevelop it and do something nice for the town,” he said.
DiGennaro has completed other projects in town, including Bridgeport Hospital’s medical center on Park Avenue and the Monroe Turnpike shopping plaza that counts Chip’s Family Restaurant and The Edge Fitness Club among its tenants.
DiGennaro acknowledged the Monroe Turnpike plaza has parking issues he didn’t expect. “From 5:30 (p.m.) to 6:30 (p.m.) we get inundated with cars,” he said, noting it’s a peak time for both the gym and restaurant. “The rest of the time we’re overparked. But I don’t know what we could have done differently.”
Still, he said he would try to avoid adding tenants to the Main Street center that have similar peak times.
Cerreta also has experience with Trumbull projects. His group renovated the plaza near Marisa’s on Main Street, which is now home to the Mex on Main restaurant and several other tenants.
On the Marisa’s site, DiGennaro said they plan to build a shopping center that fits in with those around it and offers service-related businesses that are “e-commerce proof.” He said they don’t plan to ask for waivers of any zoning regulations and are designing the building to fit within the confines of existing requirements for the site.
“Ideally, we would like to see another food option or two for the town,” he said. “We’ve got no one committed but we’ve gotten a lot of interest.”
DiGennaro said he would like to break ground on the project in the first quarter of 2018, but that depends on whether the project gets approved by the town and how long that process takes.
“We’d love to be ready for occupancy by a year from this coming fall,” he said.
DiGennaro said because rumors of the redevelopment have been getting around town for some time, a lot of misinformation is out there about the project.
“I would encourage people to come out (to town-held public meetings on the issue) and listen to our application and presentations,” he said.