A crowd of 38 gathered Wednesday night to celebrate Storrs Center nomination for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Global Awards for Excellence.
Nearly 200 projects submitted applications for the ULI Global Awards for Excellence out of which 22 were nominated.
“Most of the places [nominated] are from places like London, Paris, Washington D.C., Singapore and so on,” Leyland Alliance CEO Howard Kaufman said. “Mansfield is the only small town among the giants.”
The development of Storrs Center provided a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” director of architecture at BL Companies Rainer Muhlbauer said.
“We were able to build an urban center in a rural area,” Muhlbauer said. “That doesn’t happen often and I’m glad we are a part of it.”
Cynthia VanZelm, the executive director of the Mansfield Town Partnership, said the project really kicked off in 1999.
“There has been a lot of interest in making a downtown in Storrs for quite some time,” VanZelm said. “We see this space becoming more animated as the years come along. Our transportation hub is growing to become even more than we had hoped.”
But Storrs Center cannot be classified as a 100 percent success yet, said Daryl Krivanec senior director of investment management at Hart Advisers.
“Some people don’t know that Storrs Center exists,” Krivanec said. “We have to continue to get the word out there and continue the flow for our tenants.”
The University of Connecticut owns the land Storrs Center is built on. Tom Callahan, the associate vice president of infrastructure planning and strategic project management for the University of Connecticut, decided to go with an outside contractor.
“[The University of Connecticut] had just recovered from a series of bruising battles, so we took a step back and said we need to something different than we did before,” Callahan said.
After the meeting VanZelm and Lou Marquet, a principal at Leyland Alliance, led the group on a tour.
“The work that was done prior to our arrival that was key to the success of Storrs Center,” Marquet said.
Jon Hull is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.