Sen. Somers: Groton apartments are “just what people are looking for.”

August 3, 2023

Luxury housing at Groton’s Seely School site seen as boon to EB workers

The Day
3 Aug 2023


Politicians and developers including, from left, state Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, DonMar Development Vice President Michael Di Gioia, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and DonMar Project Executive Anthony Di Gioia participate in a groundbreaking for the Triton Square apartment complex in Groton on Wednesday.


— New luxury apartments, designed to ease pressure on the local housing market as Electric Boat ramps up hiring, are coming to the site of the former William Seely School off Route 12.

The 304-unit housing development, called Triton Square, will feature a yoga studio, pool, pickle ball courts, a dog run and co-working spaces. It is the first redevelopment project involving Groton’s excess school properties to begin construction, local officials said.

Project leaders and government officials gathered on the site for a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the start of the project led by DonMar Development of North Haven. They took photos wearing hardhats and holding shovels in front of an American flag.

“Groton is starved for housing,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaking during the ceremony. “This housing is going to meet a real need.”

Electric Boat spokesman Daniel McFadden told The Day that the company expects to hire about 3,000 new employees in Connecticut this year, primarily in the manufacturing trades at the Groton shipyard and in engineering and design.

Duing the groundbreaking, Anthony Di Gioia and Michael Di Gioia, who are brothers and vice presidents of DonMar, gave praise to the town staff and partners who made the project a reality. They also thanked their family.

“Triton Square stands as a symbol of what can be achieved when the public and private sector work together with a shared purpose,” said Anthony Di Gioia.

“For us, this is a dream realized,” said Michael Di Gioia.

The idea is to attract workers to the region, said project leaders and officials. Construction already has started on the apartment building at the 14-acre site.

The DiGioias said DonMar Development, along with LakeMarsh Investments and the Simon Konover Group, are the project developers. ELV Associates is an equity partner and Fairfield County Bank is a lender.

Haynes Construction is the construction company, Sullivan Architectural Group the architecture firm, and SLR Consulting the civil engineer.

The apartment complex will be a mix of studios, one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom apartments. Rents will start at $1,650 for studios and go up to $2,800 for the largest apartments, said Anthony Di Gioia.

He said the first building is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024, with the rest being completed four to six months after that.

Mark Keeney, partner at LakeMarsh Investments, said amenities will include a yoga studio, workout room, club room, co-working areas, a music studio, a pool, fire pits, grilling stations, cabanas and pickle ball courts.

Anthony Di Gioia said a playground, dog park and walking trails through the woods will be open to the public.

State Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, who presented a citation from the Connecticut General Assembly, said the amenities will make it so the residents of the apartment complex pretty much don’t have to leave.

“It’s all inclusive,” Somers said. “It’s just what people are looking for in the state and actually across our nation, and it’s just, I hope, the first of many transformations that you’ll see here in the Town of Groton.”

Representative Town Meeting member Lian Obrey, a former town councilor, who was on the committee selecting DonMar as the developer for the town-owned property, said the town stressed how important amenities are and the developers were very cooperative.

Town Councilor Bruce Jones said the development sets a standard for new projects coming up.

State Rep. Christine Conley, D-Groton, said the state improved the nearby intersection of Route 12 and Walker Hill Road to make it easier for pedestrians to get back and forth from the apartments to shopping centers and restaurants.

Groton Town Manager John Burt said that with the expansion of Electric Boat, it’s vital to have enough housing for incoming employees.

He said the purchase price for the former town-owned site at 55 Seely School Drive was $1, as the town’s goal is to start receiving taxes on previously un-taxed properties. He said the yearly tax revenue initially was estimated to be at least $1 million per year, once fully built, though it may be even higher now.

The latest large-scale apartment complexes to come to Groton were the apartments on Pleasant Valley Road North and Route 12 in 2018 and the Ledges Apartments in the mid2000s, according to the town’s Assistant Planning Director Deb Jones.

The former Colonel Ledyard School in the City of Groton is slated as another former school site to be redeveloped into apartments. It is slated to become a 65-unit apartment complex.