NEWSFirst development proposal we can recall for G&B was before we started this website by same developer mentioned here:

NYC art discussion:

As part of the wire mill project various transportation improvements were put in the grant pipeline.  That included some bridge work:
Not good news:

FORUM (April 25, 2017):

How about this earlier report:


"About Town" Public Access TV program, on October 6, 2005, was a tour of the Gilbert & Bennett Factory building with the developer.  The Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill part of Georgetown history (Georgetown is made up of parts of Redding, Wilton, Ridgefield and Weston.)  "About Town" television interview with developer of wire mill property not online.

T H E    G I L B E R T   &   B E N N E T T   S I T E

S U S T A I N A B L E    D E V E L O P M E N T ?

A new residential village next to the pond...with the removal of buildings not suitable for renovation, the former Gilbert & Bennett wire mill site is considerably more open. Now visible to visitors is the waterfall, which is expected to be a focal point.  A lesson in what development looks like when there is water and sewer service available!  Upper section site plan (left) here for a 2006 report in the Redding PILOT.

If effectively nothing ever took place in a special taxing district I"STD") designed for a specific planned development should the STD be taxed at planned use rate or existing use rate?
Judge: Redding has right to collect unpaid taxes from Wire Mill developers
By Christopher Burns on September 15, 2016

What is a Special Taxing District?

ABOUT TOWN asks:  Does this ruling in the end work against any development of the property?  If the Town can override the Special Taxing District, what makes the SPD "Special?"  And what developer would want to get into this situation - fronting money, committing to following funding source rules if they were to receive the grants already made but not used, and then be tied up by the Town of Redding?  Just a thought...

Story in full:


Transit Oriented Development prize-winning project turning wire mill into village founders...

Redding files foreclosure action against old wire mill owners
By Katrina Koerting, Danbury News-
Updated 4:52 pm, Wednesday, July 15, 2015    

REDDING — The town recently filed to foreclose against Georgetown Land Development Co., which owes millions of dollars in unpaid taxes connected to the long-delayed redevelopment of the Gilbert and Bennett wire mill.

If the foreclosure isn’t resolved, the town could become the owners of the 55-acre property.

“It’s potentially a very long process,” First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton said. “It’s important to note there are many things that could happen before the town takes it over.”

The foreclosure action, which was filed in state Superior Court in Danbury, lists 14 defendants including Georgetown Land Development Co., JP Industrial Park LLC and the Georgetown Special Taxing District. The taxing district is a local authority created in 2005 that allowed the developers to issue government-backed bonds...

Please search the Danbury News-Times archives for the remainder of this story.

Redding moves to foreclose on Gilbert and Bennett redevelopment

Dirk Perrefort, Danbury News-Times
Published 1:00 am, Sunday, May 10, 2015

REDDING -- Local taxpayers may be on the hook for millions of dollars in back taxes and bad debt accrued by the Georgetown Land Development Co. for the long-defunct redevelopment of the Gilbert and Bennett wire mill.

The redevelopment effort surrounding the mill was once heralded nationally as a model of transit-oriented development...

The project stalled, he said, because all of the necessary permits for the project weren't secured before the financial meltdown of 2008. The significant amount of debt encumbering the property, he said, has made any effort to move forward with the project almost impossible.

Both Lynch and Scott Taylor, the undersecretary of intergovernmental policy for the state's Office of Policy and Management, said there have been discussions with the holders of the general obligation bonds to take over the project. The bondholders, local officials said, are Oppenheimer, William Harris Investors and Invesco.

"At least one of the bondholders has been in discussions about a potential takeover of the property," Taylor said.

He added that OPM closely watches taxing districts that have government-backed general- obligation bonds. Allowing such bonds to default, he said, would set a bad precedent in the state.

"The state is actively monitoring the situation to make sure that everyone who issues debt in this fashion lives up to their obligation," he said.

Officials with the taxing district sent a letter to state officials in March, a copy of which was recently obtained by The News-Times, that states, "it is believed that the bondholders' intent is to acquire title rights to the property and then commence development in accordance with the approved master plan."

The letter, signed by Lynch, also states that "to this objective, the bond holders have met with other lien holders, including the town of Redding. It is our understanding that agreements have been reached between the bond holders and other lien holders, excluding the town of Redding..."  Story in full:

NOVEMBER 2014:  Public review of Gilbert & Bennett story with new First Selectman of Redding:

Town prepares foreclosure on G&B property
Redding PILOT
By Kaitlin Bradshaw on June 5, 2014

The town is prepared to go forward with foreclosure proceedings on the former Gilbert & Bennett wiremill site unless Georgetown Land Development Company LLC (GLDC) and its developer can reach an agreement with the state to secure a $5.6-million grant for infrastructure work.

“After rampant delays and a threatened loss of state funding, the town of Redding has decided that it cannot wait any longer for progress on the former Gilbert & Bennett development site,” said First Selectman Julia Pemberton in a prepared statement on June 3...

Please search the Redding PILOT archives for the remainder of this story.

Photo at left by Thomas Nash
Former G&B sale: The deal is off
Weston FORUM
Written by Susan Wolf, the much beloved late editor of the Redding PILOT
Thursday, 15 July 2010 00:00

Georgetown Land Development Company announced last week it no longer has a contract to sell its Georgetown development site to Georgetown Green, LLC.

...Tax liens

Redding sold tax liens on the former mill property to Georgetown Land Development Company in June 2002 and, by 2004, a Master Plan special permit for the project was approved by the Zoning Commission. The Master Plan details the redevelopment of the site.

Plans call for a mixed use of residential, commercial and retail development in a pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented village. Included in the plan is 40 units of affordable housing for seniors, a new train station, and a community theater.

The state and local approvals are now in place for the project. Over the last few years, structurally unsound buildings have been demolished and the Norwalk River, which had been covered by buildings on the site, has been daylighted.

A brownfield, the environmental remediation plan for the site, has been approved. A Georgetown Special Taxing District is in place specifically for the site and the Georgetown sewer plant has been expanded to accommodate the development planned for the site. GLDC said it would pay for the cost of the expansion and its share of the bill through monthly delta payments.

“Presently, the taxing district does not have the funding to meet its financial obligations to the Water Polution Control Commission. As soon as that funding is available, arrangements will be made for prompt payment,” said Mr. Lynch...

At Gilbert & Bennett site: Projects taking shape, but awaiting state action
Weston FORUM
Written by Susan Wolf
Thursday, 06 August 2009 00:00

It might look quiet at the former Gilbert & Bennett wire mill site, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening...


Mr. Soler also said when his company sells to third parties, it increases the value of these parcels for local tax purposes, creating new tax revenue for the town. The increase in tax revenue is the basis for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) should the company decide to pursue it, said Mr. Soler.

Under the TIF, the Connecticut Development Authority would reimburse GLDC for infrastructure work, estimated to cost $3.5 million. The town would negotiate an agreement with the state and GLDC to allow it to help pay back that loan through portions of the anticipated increase in tax revenues on the commercial properties only, as the project moves forward.

As for the train platform, Mr. Soler said the state has made a commitment of $3.5 million to fund it.  However, State Bonding Commission approval is needed, and the commission won’t meet until the state budget is balanced. The money for the railroad crossing work is also awaiting bond commission approval.

Please search the FORUM archives for the remainder of this story...we do not always mention for FORUM articles.

In the Region | Connecticut
7 Years In, Renewal Plan Languishes
June 21, 2009


AFTER seven years’ work on a redevelopment plan that attracted enthusiastic support from residents of this affluent town, the developer, Stephen Soler, is so depleted by state bureaucratic delays that he is ready to walk away.

“We have been looking for a buyer to take the whole thing — let’s leave it at that,” said Mr. Soler, the principal of the Georgetown Land Development Company. “This has been an extremely, extremely expensive exercise.”

Mr. Soler’s $300 million plan to build a transit-oriented village on the site of the Gilbert & Bennett wire mill had promised to fill the hole left in Redding’s commercial tax base after the factory shut down in 1989. In a corner of Redding known as Georgetown, the factory was the only industrial development in a town characterized by two-acre zoning and a great deal of open space.

A master plan approved for the 55-acre site in 2004 allowed for more than 400 housing units, as well as more shops, restaurants and offices, a performing arts center and a new train station. The focus was on preserving the mill’s rich historical legacy within a densely developed village environment that minimized the need for cars and maximized energy efficiency.

Although Mr. Soler has proceeded with some demolition, environmental cleanup and a new wastewater treatment facility, most of his vision exists only on paper. The fault lies primarily with the state, he says, for delaying him right into a recession.

With the credit markets so tight, “the biggest problem now is the ability to get financing to do the infrastructure,” he said.

The delays also figured in the loss of a $50 million contract with TCR Northeast Land Acquisition for the housing development rights to the project. TCR, an affiliate of Trammell Crow Residential of Dallas, had agreed to buy six parcels intended for town houses and lofts, once all necessary permits and approvals were in place. It terminated that agreement in July.

Joseph S. Torg Jr., a senior managing director for TCR’s northeast office, ascribed the decision to several factors, including the near-collapse last year of A.I.G., the international insurance company, which had been TCR’s equity source in the deal...

Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.

Congressional OK sought for expansion of historic site
Norwalk HOUR
September 12, 2007

The Weir Farm National Historic Site is seeking congressional authority to expand its territory beyond Wilton and Ridgefield.

At a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday, National Park Service deputy director Daniel N. Wenk testified that the Department of the Interior will support legislation that would help the historic site to acquire new facilities at no extra cost.

"We believe that we can exchange land, save money," Wenk said during the hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks...

Please search the HOUR archives for the remainder of this story.

Former Gilbert & Bennett site: Owners seek environmental designation

by SUSAN WOLF, Hersam Acorn Newspapers
May 26, 2007

Just as the redevelopment of the former Gilbert & Bennett site in Georgetown is moving toward infrastructure work, its owners are hoping to get an environmental LEED development designation for their redevelopment project.

Stephen Soler, Georgetown Land Development Company president, the redeveloper of the former manufacturing site, said his project is among 360 applications for a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) pilot program. If approved, he said, his project would be designated a Gold LEED development, and the designation would apply to the entire development.

The LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design, according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Web site.

“LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a development’s location and design meet accepted high standards for environmentally responsible, sustainable, development,” the council says.

The designation “is based on the way a project is planned and laid out in the community,” Mr. Soler said. Among the pluses for the Gilbert & Bennett site redevelopment, he said, are the daylighting of the Norwalk River, which runs through the site, a walkable community, the creation of more open space than existed, the recycling of material on the site, brownfield remediation, and the planned new railroad station.

Mr. Soler is optimistic about his development getting the designation later this month...The Georgetown Special Taxing District, which only applies to the redevelopment site, will serve as the regulating body to ensure adherence to the design code.

From the BUSINESS section of Stamford ADVOCATE:

Greenwich developer wins funds for project
By Richard Lee, Assistant Business Editor
Published February 18 2006

The U.S. Treasury Department has approved $72 million in special tax-exempt bonds for the reconstruction of Greenwich developer Stephen Soler's abandoned mill in Redding.  The Treasury Department designated the Georgetown Special Taxing District as a "qualified green building and sustainable design project."

The tax-exempt bonds are part of a $300 million financing package for Soler's conversion of the former Gilbert & Bennett wire mill into a village-like complex with 416 residences, including 32 single-family homes. Also planned are offices, stores and restaurants...

Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.

Georgetown Special Taxing District: 'Green Bond' designation one of only four in country

Redding PILOT
Feb 2, 2006
The Georgetown Special Taxing District has received a special tax-exempt bond designation from the U.S. Treasury. This will allow the district to issue more than $72 million in qualified “green” building and sustainable design project bonds.

The taxing district will oversee the redevelopment of the former Gilbert & Bennett wire mill site in Georgetown, which is owned by Georgetown Land Development Company (GLDC). Special state legislation was passed last year allowing for the creation of the district, which was established last September. The company wants to use this  special tax district as a financial mechanism for the redevelopment of its property, a brownfield site. GLDC is working with state and federal environmental agencies to clean up the former factory site...

$72M grant for 'green' mill redevelopment
By ANNA GUSTAFSON, Hour Staff Writer
January 27, 2006

WILTON — Georgetown's Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill redevelopment project is well on its way to providing at least 1,500 new jobs just over the Wilton border with a $72 million federal government handout.

The special tax-exempt bond designation from the U.S. Treasury Department allows the Georgetown Special Taxing District, which is overseeing the project, to issue more than $72 million in qualified green building and sustainable design project bonds...

Please search the HOUR archives for the remainder of this story.

Breaking News...
At Gilbert & Bennett site:  Traffic plan is approved

Stage is set for development

Sep 28, 2006

A major hurdle has been crossed for the redevelopment of the former Gilbert & Bennett wire mill site in Georgetown.

State Traffic Commission approval is now in place; once the requirements are met, the developer can get his traffic generator certificate from the commission and begin “to pull building permits in town.” That means, said Stephen Soler, president of the Georgetown Land Development Company (GLDC), the redeveloper, that his company may sell or finance property. “We need this to develop.”

GLDC owns the 55-acre wire mill site off Route 107. The residential component of the plan calls for a total of 416 units of housing, with 249 loft units, 69 townhouses, 32 single-family homes, 15 affordable units for artists, 11 apartments over retail buildings, and 40 units of subsidized housing for senior citizens. A community theater and a satellite for the Wilton Family Y are included in the plans, as well as a new railroad station and retail and commercial businesses. The end result will be a pedestrian-friendly village at the site.

On Aug. 12, the State Traffic Commission approved the company’s traffic proposals with some conditions. The company subsequently appealed three of them, said Mr. Soler on Monday.  The traffic commission wanted the company to post a $10.4 million bond to cover the work it proposed. “Because we are not road contractors, this meant we would have to put $10.4 million in a bank account,” said Mr. Soler.

“We contested this,” he added, “because not all of the improvements will be done by Georgetown Land Development Company.”

The traffic commission wanted the bonding to cover the new train station and the parking garage that will accompany it, the relocated rail crossing on North Main Street and other off-site improvements, including work at several intersections. North Main Street runs through the land the company owns. A portion is being relocated, along with the railroad crossing, to accommodate the project...

Planners open hearing on G&B plan

Redding PILOT
Feb 2, 2006

The Planning Commission opened its public hearing on Georgetown Land Development Company’s application for the proposed subdivision of 45 acres into 106 lots last Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Georgetown Land Development Company (GLDC) is the redeveloper of the former Gilbert & Bennett wire mill site off Route 107. The company is a proposing a pedestrian-friendly village for the area with mixed uses of  housing, retail, commercial and light industrial. A community theater, health club, and new train station are among the items in its proposal.

Commission Chairman Diane Taylor said the commission has received all maps and documents, along with the qualifications of the consultants, and GLDC’s Design Code and zoning information. Ms. Taylor said because of the unusual scope of the application, in that it exceeds the normal application size and context, the planners would wait to review the materials at its Jan. 31 meeting, giving the town’s consultants time to review any additional materials in time for the continuance of the public hearing on Feb. 14.

John Hayes, town planning consultant, said it is a very complex application due to the large number of lots and the revised street configurations, which are involved. He is in the process of reviewing it...

Gilbert & Bennett
history page...
there will be Public Hearings in Redding before three (3) separate Redding Commissions:

  1. First is the Redding Planning Commission on Tuesday, January 24, 2006..."a subdivision of 45 acres into 106 lots;"
  2. Redding Conservation Commission has not notified the Town Clerk's Office re: date and time, but we expect it is next...or concurrent with the Planning Commission;
  3. "Public Hearing of the Redding Zoning Commission on February 8, 2006 (Wednesday) at 7:30pm in the Hearing Room at the Redding Town Hall"  takes place.  Purpose of the hearing will be to review an application for a site plan approval from Georgetown Land Development for the portion of the property located north of Redding Road (Rte. 107).  It is the understanding of Redding ZEO that a set of plans has been forwarded to the "appropriate planning commission."  A copy of the application form is below:

A page from the summary of the August 2005 traffic be discussed February 8, 2006:  the bottom line=less traffic than when Gilbert & Bennett factory was in business.

In the spirit of light being good and dark being bad, which area do you think will be developed for occupancy first?  (Just our guess!)

On March 24, 2004, at 7:30pm in the Hearing Room of the Redding Town Hall there will be a Public which residents of Weston are invited.  The purpose of the hearing is to review proposed amendments to the Redding Zoning Regulations with respect to their "Special Development District" in the historic neighborhood of Georgetown - specifically, the former Gilbert & Bennett mill site.  If you have any questions, you are invited to contact Tom Gormley, Zoning Enforcement and Wetlands Officer:  (203) 938-8517.

Below is a letter from Attorney Richard Gibbons, long-time representative for the company, and a thoughtful person.


In those days The Hour had a reporter covering Weston.  And its report, quoted here, gives us the date of the earliest of the proposals we have experienced for the Gilbert & Bennett factory property.

We were there - 1988 - attending meetings a member of the Weston P&Z to observe potential impacts. 

P.S.  Redding didn't approve this, although we don't recall why.