Progress of the Corbin District is underway in Darien, with demolition of some buildings to begin soon.

At the same time, some minor changes to the design plans of several buildings for the project have just been approved by Darien’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

The Corbin District will be a mixed-use redevelopment spanning from Corbin Drive to the Bank of America building on Post Road.

Recently, Corbin District project developer David Genovese announced there are demolition signs being posted along the driveway through Corbin District retail stores along the Boston Post Road.

In a letter he sent town leaders and customers of 10 Corbin Drive and the stores along the Boston Post Road, he wrote: “We are planning to demolish the buildings within the interior of the site including the buildings formerly occupied by EPOD [Everything Printed or Displayed], Giovanni the Tailor, Paws & Reflect, and Darien Shoe Repair, as well as the garages behind Cold Play Cryotherapy and Darien Cleaners.”

He further wrote that he has worked with those customers over the last few weeks to relocate them into new properties in Darien.

The current plan is to “demolish the interior buildings within the next month and to create additional parking in that area, which can be used by construction workers during the construction of the first phase of The Corbin District,” he wrote.

The Town of Darien Building Department required that the demolition signs be posted so they could be visible from the Boston Post Road, as required by local building codes, according to Genovese.

Changes to height, garage reconfiguration

Minor changes to amend the previously approved plans for the height of several buildings and garage configuration were unanimously approved by a vote of 6-0, at Tuesday’s Planning & Zoning Commission special meeting.

The changes, which pertain to the Post Road and Corbin Drive, involve the first phase of the construction project. This will be to relocate the drainage culvert that runs alongside the parking lot behind 1020 Boston Post Road and 36 Old Kings Highway South. Work is expected to begin this summer.

At the meeting, Genovese referenced a PowerPoint presentation, detailing the changes and what they would involve.

“We have been working with our team of architects, construction people, and engineers to refine all of the details,” he said.

Changes are as follows:

 Phase 1 and 2: Height refinements

Phase 1 is the culvert pipe that will get moved first, and the drainage system that will be installed opposite 36 Old Kings Highway South.

Phase 2 involves a change in the height of three buildings:

1- Building I, corner of Corbin Drive and Boston Post Road, has increased by about eight inches.

Refined height: 42.5 feet, entitlement height: 41.9 feet, resolution maximum: 50 feet.

“We are asking for an eight-inch increase in the size of that building. What this has allowed us to do is to get a full height floor across the bulk of the Post Road side of the building. Unlike 1020 Post Road, we wanted to adjust this to make it more of a full third story,” Genovese said.

2- Building H, the center building north of Corbin Drive, has increased by about nine inches.

Refined height: 47.2 feet, entitlement height: 46.4 feet, resolution maximum height: 50 feet.

3-Building K, the corner of Corbin Drive & Old Kings Highway South, has been reduced by about 2.7 feet.

Refined height: 41.8 feet, entitlement height: 44.5 feet, resolution maximum height: 50 feet.

“This site slopes down relatively steeply as you go from the middle of Corbin Drive down to Old King’s Highway South,” Genovese said.

 Phase 3 and 4 sub-grade garage configuration

This involves the consolidation of the below-grade parking garage south of Corbin Drive, with a potential increase in the parking count.

The current garage plans would create 240 parking spaces.

An alternative parking garage design would create 287 spaces, “so 47 more spaces than what we proposed in the prior version, which was part of the entitlement,” Genovese said.

This garage is more rectangular.

According to Genovese, this is a lot more efficient to build. It has much less wasted space than the prior design.

“We’re not sure we won’t lose some of those spaces to mechanical rooms and garbage enclosures,” he said. However, “We don’t think we’ll end up with less than 20 spaces. We would be creating a minimum of 20 more parking spaces.”

“It will be light and bright and much more open,” he added.

Planning & Zoning Director Jeremy Ginsberg said the changes “make sense.”

“No change in height is greater than a foot. It still complies with the regulations,” he added. “There is no additional square footage.”

Next steps

According to Genovese, the plan is to get the drawings finalized, “which we’re pretty close now,” he said.

Then, he said he will work on Phase 2 of the project.

Watch the Planning & Zoning Special meeting on Darien TV/79.

sfox@darientimes.com