Audubon Square, Evolving.
Elm City, Thriving.

A Sense of Place

Anchoring Audubon St.

Planned as an appropriately-scaled, primarily residential mixed-use community, the improvement to the urban fabric will help better connect downtown, Wooster Square, East Rock, and the new commercial tenants within the development, re-energizing Audubon Street and the surrounding New Haven neighborhood.

Expansion of the City's Public Realm

Rounding out the Southeast corner of the project, this public facing “realm” will work to further engage the local community through appropriate retail and commercial offerings.

Relatable Street and Block Dimensions

The plan reduces the current “superblock” to a more manageable pedestrian environment by introducing a publicly accessible but privately maintained “street.” This will allow for a phased development of moderately-sized buildings on appropriately-sized blocks and provide more street frontage as well as public realm space and a gradual transition to the nearby East Rock and Wooster Square neighborhoods.

Resident Courtyard

The residential portion of the project affords tenants the opportunity to access shared green space through a thoughtfully designed interior courtyard.

Parking Resource

The expansion of downtown parking resources providing behind visually appealing structures will help deliver impactful quality of life improvements to the neighborhood, while offering balanced evening and weekend parking for area residents and visitors.

Future Phases Vision

Our plan allows for additional structures designed with a forward thinking approach to providing flexible space for an evolving New Haven.

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Anchor for Audubon Street

Planned as an appropriately scaled, primarily residential mixed-use community, the improvement to the urban fabric will help better connect downtown, Wooster Square and East Rock and the new residents of and the proposed commercial uses within this development will serve to strengthen and re-energize Audubon Street.

The Project

Project Overview

We have an opportunity to transform a long-underutilized swath of Downtown surface parking lots into an extension of the vibrant and unique urban form that is already present throughout much of the surrounding community. Ultimately, we envision a better connected, dynamic neighborhood flowing with people and ideas, housing and employment, liveliness and delight. Although our design and planning efforts will evolve as we continue this dialogue with the community, there are a few general concepts that we feel are appropriate to include in the conversation and ultimately incorporate into the planning of the property.

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A Sense of Place

Many people today demand authentically unique and vibrant places in which to live and experience. These neighborhoods are easy to identify in retrospection but less simple to re-create. The built environment varies among these communities, but they all seem to promote considerable human interaction and provide the sense of participation in positive neighborhood evolution. There are a few important characteristics that will be included in this development to encourage those social “collisions” and sense of place including:

  • Appropriate Density
  • Inviting Public Realm Spaces
  • Active and Transparent Street Frontage
  • Quality “Human Scale” Design
  • Diversity of Uses and Various Housing Types

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Design to a [Human] Scale

The view of what expresses “Human Scale” varies widely from place to place and even among stakeholders within the same communities. The existing urban form of the neighborhood provides some guidance, but the evolution of thought, changing market demands, improving building technologies and other variables alter that perception over time. The design of this project recognizes its location within the urban core of a vibrant city while also respecting the varying scale and character of the immediate neighborhood. Incorporation of the following elements in the plan contribute to a balanced, humanly scaled design:

  • Relatable Street and Block Dimensions
  • Moderately-Sized, Coherent yet Complex Buildings
  • A Consistent Street Edge (With Generous Set-Backs)
  • Coordinated Interaction of Indoor & Outdoor Space
  • Transparent Street Level Including Residential “Stoops”
  • Impromptu Places to Stand & Sit
  • Quality Architectural Detailing
  • Visually Attractive Parking Solutions

Thoughtful Design, Purposeful Choices

To accommodate an active and transparent street level experience, complement the existing parking challenges inherent with the property, and meet the increasingly stark housing supply-and-demand imbalance, we believe the appropriate re-use of the property is as a primarily residential, mixed-use community with ground floor commercial uses, upper-level residential use, adequately screened parking, and new public realm space.

In addition to the market realities that support our proposed use of the space, the New Haven Vision 2015 Plan “encourages continued allowance of mixed-use residential developments at appropriate densities within Downtown to promote vibrancy and facilitate further transit use,” which supports contextual infill developments that keeps up with the preferred character of the area. The plan also acknowledges that since “there are few opportunities for new development in the city, appropriate infill and redevelopment are central housing and neighborhood development strategies.”

The Necessity of Parking

With convenient access to a tremendous transit infrastructure, the walkable nature of the surrounding community and the diminishing reliance on the automobile (especially in a city like New Haven), such a prominent mention of parking seems unnecessary. The reality, however, is that this development is fully contingent on the ability to provide adequate parking for the residents of the proposed buildings but also continue to provide parking to the employees of a major downtown business.

We are being diligent not to wastefully construct unnecessary parking by primarily including residential uses that exhibit a parking demand profile complimentary to existing parking requirements. The necessity to take advantage of parking that can be shared among a variety of uses is reinforced in the New Haven Vision 2025 Plan which states that “site planning must account for the urban environment, including provisions for shared parking.” At the same time, we are being extremely cautious not to underestimate the parking demand and overburden the neighborhood parking resources. A comprehensive parking study has been prepared to provide appropriate documentation to inform the level of parking provided within the project. All such parking provided is appropriately screened behind active buildings containing retail or apartments.

Phases

In keeping with a “Human Scale” approach to planning this site, we determined that the current “superblock” should be reduced to a more manageable pedestrian experience. Dividing the parcel with a publicly accessible but privately maintained “street” allows for a phased development of moderately-sized buildings. The added vehicular circulation created by this new “street” has the potential to dampen the congestion at other area intersections.

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The Power of Opportunity

We have the opportunity to realize the long standing goal of re-stitching this parcel back into the urban fabric and creating a dynamic extension of, amenity to, and connection between the great neighborhoods that surround the property.

The 2003 Comprehensive Plan of Development identifyies the site as “underutilized” and calls it “the largest vacant site used for off-street parking.” It’s also noted that the site is “ideally situated as an extension of the residential neighborhoods located west of Orange Street”, and further commented that the “infill development between East Rock and the northern tier of Downtown is a priority opportunity (Audubon Street extension).” The current Vision 2025 Plan continues this sentiment by identifying the property as one of just five “Downtown Infill Development Opportunities.”

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Building Places of Value

Meet the Team

Our Story

Constantly exploring neighborhoods that exhibit authenticity, connectedness and potential for livability, Spinnaker pursues in-fill development opportunities that enhance, integrate with and benefit from the uniqueness and sense of place found within an existing community. Often resulting in adaptive re-use and preservation of historic structures, extensive environmental remediation, contextual public spaces and inviting street level activity, Spinnaker’s innovative, sustainable and sometimes pioneering developments have provided verve and vibrancy to iconic urban neighborhoods as well as small, compact, transit-oriented urban villages throughout the country.

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