In response to John Engel’s recent opinion piece (‘Expect a high density development on Pine Street,’ July 12, p. 5A):
I love to drive down Pine Street — the little brick buildings on the left, one with lovely grass and enormous trees next to the sidewalk are reminders of our industrial past, while the charming row of businesses opposite, each with its own pedimented and brightly colored door, reflects a residential spirit, looking like townhouses.
As Rachel Carley, the historical consultant hired by New Canaan Preservation Alliance in 2012 to survey that section of town wrote about #50 Pine Street:
“One of a trio, this well-built industrial building designed by William Grey, Redding, Conn. was erected in 1950 shortly after Pine Street was laid out on land donated to the town by the New Canaan Development Co. This structure is identified as an office building on Sunburn Insurance Maps, but the rear loading dock and industrial format of the south election indicate it was also used for light manufacturing. Like its adjacent sister buildings, no. 50 was designed to appear only one-story tall from its side street. By minimizing the appearance of building density in this way, and opting for a Colonial Revival design that displays an eye for detail and workmanship, the architect showed particular sensitivity to the scale and traditional ambience of the downtown business district. The building makes an important contribution to the streetscape, while recalling the role of light industry in New Canaan’s mid-20th century commerce.”
Please note that, in my opinion few, if any, recent buildings in town have shown sensitivity to the scale and traditional ambience of the downtown business district, and none have displayed an eye for detail and workmanship.
Any new development should at least incorporate these three brick buildings, and put all new construction down the hill behind them.