Shaw’s Landing, a 50-unit luxury condominium development, will be the first of its kind in the city of New London, which in recent years has enjoyed downtown revitalization and the arrival of new businesses.

As eastern Connecticut towns consider movie studios and racetracks, the hub of the region also continues its upward climb with last month’s groundbreaking of the city’s first downtown luxury condominiums and the development of a mixed-use project nearby.

New London has made a turnaround in the past several years with the revitalization of its downtown and its historic sites and with the influx of new development and businesses.

“[The city] was dead six, seven years ago,” said Dave Goebel, chief operating officer of the New London Development Corp., an organization started by downtown business owners in the late 1970s.

The city started going downhill about 20 years ago, he said. Storefronts went empty and the town even lost some of its shipping business.

Today, though, the geographically tiny city – it totals about six square miles – continues to serve as the urban center of the region and the waterfront community is home to arts, restaurants, shops and a new Pfizer research facility. The city also has long been the home of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Besides being small geographically, the city also has a relatively small population. About 25,000 people live there.

The new developments are a departure from what is usually seen in the city. For example, Shaw’s Landing, a 50-unit condominium development, will be the first of its kind in New London. Oaktree Green, a Cambridge, Mass.-based consortium of architects and finance experts, is building the condos on the shore of Shaw’s Cove, off the Thames River, and right across the street from the city’s downtown.

Although New London has apartment buildings and some condominiums near the outskirts of town, Shaw’s Landing will be the first luxury condominium development downtown, according to attorney Lee Cole-Chu of New London-based Cole-Chu & Co., who represents the developer.

But the idea seems popular, with 40 percent of the units spoken for. The first phase of the project – 35 units – are scheduled to open in about a year. The developer broke ground on the project last month.

‘A Nice Complement’

The Shaw’s Landing project has been in the works for about four years, and there have been several changes. An outdoor pool that had been proposed was proved to be prohibitively expensive and was taken out of the plans. Some parking that was planned to be underground will now be above ground.

But much of the parking will still be underground. Some will be heated, Cole-Chu said.

There is also a hurricane wall separating the site from the cove. At the bottom is a walkway along the water that eventually will connect to a public walkway that extends along much of the coast.

The condos include one-, two- and three-bedroom units and are priced between $175,000 and $420,000.

Cole-Chu expects the condos will be popular with people who are already loyal to New London. The state-of-the-art units likely will attract highly educated people who work for Pfizer, he said in a previous interview with The Commercial Record. The complex is about a 15-minute walk away from Pfizer’s New London site and the company runs a bus between the New London and Groton locations that passes by the complex, Cole-Chu said.

The condos also will attract people who want to live near the water, he said. The complex is near a large marina.

There is also a commercial aspect to the project, with several storefronts facing the street. The developer is open to any suitable commercial project, Cole-Chu said, but the spaces will likely not house restaurants unless it is something small, like a Starbucks.

The New London Development Corp.’s mixed-use project will be near the condo development.

“What we’re shooting for is a hotel and conference center, housing and office buildings,” Goebel said.

The 90-acre site also could house the Coast Guard Museum, which is now at a different location in New London. About 75 acres of the property will be developed first, Goebel said.

The organization is in talks with a Boston developer about the timeline of the project, he said.

“I think, with Shaw’s Landing, the two will be a nice complement,” Goebel said.

There is also some work going on downtown, he noted. An old hotel, the Crocker House Hotel, is being renovated into 85 apartments and several offices.