Tthe Norwalk Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) has given unanimous approval for the transformation of 129 Woodward Ave.
With the proposed renovation of the building, the 38,000-square-foot interior will be completely renovated to provide two golf simulators, four pickleball courts and five courts for the Latin American racket sport of “padel,” which is similar to tennis but lets the ball. to be kicked out of the walls and back to be done from outside the court.
An elevated mezzanine area and lounges throughout provide viewing areas, concessions and retail space. The facilities are expected to have 45 employees, according to the applicants.
Externally, the building’s landscaping will be enhanced with additional tree planting, and up to 60 parking spaces are included in the proposed plan, almost doubling the existing 32 spaces. which is now. The increase is the result of making better use of the existing space, which is currently unprepared and designed for larger vehicles. Plans also call for EV charging stations. The facility is also very close to a bus stop and Woodward Park, where the city has already provided several outdoor pickleball courts to the public.
The outside of the building will not be touched except for a small sign highlighting the new tenant.
The plan is being implemented by the site’s current owner, 129 Woodward Ave LLC. Two principals of the company, Mark Fischl and Patricio Misitrano, joined a virtual meeting of the PZC recently, which also discussed the position of the new trees and discussed the possibility of putting solar panels on the roof.
Proud of the commission for the expected installation of photovoltaic panels by Liz Suchy, a partner at Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessy LLP, the attorney presenting the proposed reuse.
“We are investigating solar panels, if possible,” she said, “we don’t think they will be feasible, but we will investigate as a Commissioner. [Nicholas] Kantor usually asks us to do it. ” She noted that while the roof is mostly bare, a structural assessment to determine if the current roof is strong enough to make the installation possible is still pending.
Commissioner Jacquen Jordan-Byron also wondered about a possible collaboration between the facility and public school students.
“In this particular area is a school that will be built,” said Jordan-Byron, referring to the South Norwalk elementary school that has been working its way through planning and zoning. “I was wondering, do you have a relationship with the students at the school to teach them pickleball? “
“That’s a separate question,” replied Suchy. “In fact, I’ve had these conversations directly with Mr. Fischl and he has expressed an interest in having a relationship to expose kids in the community and adults to the sport.”
The facility also offers both membership and court rentals and the golf simulators according to Misitrano.
“You can become a member and then reserve courts, or if you don’t want to be a member you can still come and play,” Misitrano said.