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10/11/2018 - Market Analysis Finds Demand Potential for Development Near Station Areas

Roughly three dozen people braved the elements to attend the second in a series of planned workshops on transit-oriented development around the Town’s two full-service train stations. Consultants from Goody Clancy shared findings from a market analysis to assess the potential for residential, office and retail development within a ¾-mile radius of the downtown and Fairfield Metro Center stations. 

The report concluded that the market potential for residential development is quite robust for both station areas, with demand largely driven by young professionals as well as by empty-nesters and retirees.  The analysis also observed that, despite high vacancy rates elsewhere in the County, the office market potential is stronger than it might otherwise appear, forecasting modest growth potential over the coming decade, particularly for medical office uses.  The report also noted the relative strength of the retail marketplace, especially for eating and drinking establishments in the downtown core, but concluded that retail potential in the Metro Center area is dependent upon the degree to which the station area evolves and provides additional residential development opportunities.

Key findings from the residential market analysis include:

  • Overall, the market potential appears quite strong, for both station areas

  • About a quarter of the market potential comes from empty-nesters/retirees, a relatively high number compared to other communities;

  • Just 8% of the demand comes from families;

  • The 66% share of market potential from younger singles/couples shows Fairfield can be attractive for young professionals.

  • The relative scarcity, and high current occupancy, of existing multifamily housing in Fairfield means that development in the station areas may be able to capture a relatively high share of the overall market seeking TOD housing.

  • Fairfield is particularly attractive to households relocating from elsewhere in Fairfield County

Principal findings from the commercial office/retail market analysis include:

  • While the Fairfield County office market is challenged with high vacancy rates, that is not the case in the Fairfield submarket;

  • The forecast projects modest demand for medical office and, to a lesser extent, professional office space over the next decade;

  • The downtown area is best positioned for medical/professional office as part of a mixed use project;

  • The Metro Center is a strong location within the regional market, especially for those users seeking a Fairfield County presence;

  • The eating, drinking and retail market is strong in the downtown, with additional growth potential;

  • The eating, drinking and retail potential in the Metro Center area is dependent upon the degree to which the station area evolves and provides additional residential development opportunities.

Copies of the presentation, a summary of the key findings, the residential and commercial market reports and other information related to the study can be viewed at fairfieldct.org/tod.

 The next workshop, which will revolve around a discussion of alternative development scenarios, will be held on Tuesday, October 30th, at Penfield Pavilion beginning with an open house at 7:00 PM.  To register for this free workshop, please click here.