BLOOMFIELD — A West Hartford developer's plan to bring more density to the town center is being met with approval by town officials and residents.
The town's planning and zoning commission unanimously approved a master plan to build 407 apartments in three phases on Bloomfield and Jerome avenues and Jerome Way.
The first phase of the project, labeled "Center," calls for 232 four- and five-story apartment buildings to be constructed on the east side of Bloomfield Avenue near town hall, the north side of Jerome Way and the west side of Jerome Avenue. Parking for the complex, which would include studio, one bedroom and two bedroom units, would be located inside the triangular development.
The second phase of the project, known as "East," would be built on Jerome Avenue adjacent to Jerome Way and include 129 units.
The final phase, known as "West," would include 46 units to be built on Bloomfield Avenue, across the street from town hall.
Town Planner Thom Hooper said that 25 to 30 residents attended Thursday's planning and zoning meeting and the vast majority were in support of the project, including direct neighbors.
"The town in general, and the TPZ in particular, have spent years formulating a vision for the center of Bloomfield," Hooper said. "This project could be a legacy development, which in the future could be associated with the rejuvenation of the center."
Paul Butler, the developer, said Friday that he bought and renovated a property for his medical distribution business more than three years ago and the idea for the project began to develop.
"The more I spent time in the center the more I enjoyed it," Butler said. "It's a great little town."
Eventually Butler, who bought 14 houses from neighbors, enlisted the help of Blue Back Square developer Robert Weiner, his lead consultant and partner, who assembled a team to put the project together.
Butler said he expects to secure $40 million to $60 million in funding for the project in the next 4 to 6 months and construction could begin in 6 to 10 months.
Town Manager Philip Schenck said he expected the the development to be a "tremendous boost for existing businesses and services" in the center and that it would provide a focal point for further bicycle- and pedestrian-oriented growth.
Bonnie Bercowetz, former owner of the Copaco Plaza, and a member of the economic development committee, said she was looking forward to the addition of hundreds of residents within walking distance of commercial downtown Bloomfield and the ensuing economic redevelopment.
"As a long-time resident and business owner, I am proud of Bloomfield's commitment to change," she said.