Storrs Center, Mansfield, Connecticut

Storrs Center, Mansfield, Connecticut

(Credit: storrscenter.com)

(Credit: storrscenter.com)

Principle: Take advantage of compact building design

In a nutshell: Adjacent to the University of Connecticut’s flagship campus, Storrs Center is a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use town center designed to strengthen the links between the University and the Town of Mansfield. When development is complete in 2016, the center will include 170,000 square feet of retail and office space; the Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center, which brings university, regional and inter-city buses together and provides facilities for bicyclists, including showers, lockers and bike storage; surface and structured parking for 1,300 vehicles; 618 rental apartments; a 42‐home neighborhood that offers a mix of townhomes and condominium flats for sale; and public squares.

This compact, mixed-income community design strengthens social ties and provides a true sense of community for residents; it also diversifies the market for area businesses. By providing housing options that suit all ages and incomes, Storrs Center accommodates a diverse population living in close proximity and interacting daily.

Why we like it: Developing a community of five-story buildings filled with ground-floor retail below multi-family housing was absolutely transformative to the suburban town of Mansfield, which previously lacked a cohesive, connected business and civic focal point. Storrs Center’s compact, mixed-use design allows for many activities of daily living to occur within walking distance of home. With a variety of retail offerings, office space and housing options, Storrs Center is a live-work-play community.

Notably, Storrs Center addresses findings identified in the 2002 Downtown Mansfield Master Plan Target Market Strategies report, including the fact that Downtown Mansfield had insufficient commercial leasable area to serve as a community center; was a one-dimensional commercial area in a multi-faceted market; and needed better physical connections to its multiple markets. Today, Storrs Center seamlessly connects new residents, stores and offices with the University, town hall, high school and community center, fostering a vibrant economic ecosystem and reinforcing the desirability of the University, a major economic engine, and the town itself.

Storrs Center’s compact design, which uses approximately 17 acres of a 48-acre site, preserved surrounding open space and natural resources while simultaneously helping to address longstanding market needs. The new downtown area encourages growing up rather than growing out, which consumes less land, preserves the town’s rural land and heritage and allows residents to choose walking and transit use over driving, which reduces air pollution and traffic congestion.

Source:

Storrs Center News and Events

More Information:

Downtown Mansfield Master Plan Target Market Strategies

Mansfield: A Great Place to Visit, Learn and Live

Mansfield Downtown Partnership (includes links to planning documents)

Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center

Storrs Center

Storrs Center: Design Guidelines for a Sustainable Community

Accolades:

  • ULI Global Award for Excellence (2015)
  • In 2008, the Friends of CT recognized Storrs Center as one of only two projects in the state that exemplify the principles of smart growth.
  • 2015 CT Main Street Center Award of Excellence in Planning for the Mansfield Downtown Partnership
  • Yankee Magazine May/June 2015 Editor’s Choice Best of New England issue for Best New Downtown in Connecticut