When it was constructed in 1906, The Atlantic Wire Company's Branford mill was a modern, well-equipped facility designed to transform milling steel rods into a variety of specialty wires in varying thicknesses and coatings. Through two World Wars and multiple stock market crashes, the mill continued operations, supporting several hundred local families.
But with the decline of American manufacturing, the facility began to encounter difficulties, both economic and environmental. The Atlantic Wire Company formally declared bankruptcy in 2008 after being charged with polluting the Branford River. Following bankruptcy, the property was sold to a new owner who began partial remediation.
In 2015, a developer envisioned a complete overhaul of the derelict site to support 205 units of residential housing as well as everal restaurants and retail shops occupying the ground floor frontage along Meadow Street. A new road connecting Montowese and Church Street would reduce the concentration of traffic adjacent to the existing residential neighborhood. An underground parking structure for 196 vehicles eliminates the need for substantial street and surface parking.
A variety of pedestrian amenities were proposed to help foster an attractive, unified aesthetic that promotes walkability to the recently upgraded Branford train station as well as Downtown. Traffic bumpouts throughout the site promote safe pedestrian crossings and reduced traffic speeds. A lush landscape of native trees and shrubs would add beauty and wildlife habitat to a site bereft of both elements for most of its history. The introduction of a shared bike path along the southern perimeter of the site would connect the Shoreline Greenway Trail with the train station, providing intermodal access to New Haven and beyond.
This vision was contingent upon complete demolition of the old mill complex and rezoning the site from industrial to a Planned Development District capable of supporting the multiple use concept. Proximity to the Branford River and active rail tracks used by Amtrak and Shoreline East required careful coordination with regulatory bodies to avoid potential complications during construction. TPA successfully obtained approvals for the Master Plan and zone changes in 2015.
TPA completed further site engineering and landscape architectural design as part of site plan approval obtained inb 2016. Demolition of the complex was completed in early 2018, but complexities with achieving environmental remediation have delayed the start of construction.
Conceptual Perspective Renderings Provided by Gregg Wies & Gardner