Winstanley Enterprises is redeveloping a massive manufacturing campus in Windsor into a mixed-use development including a 750,000-square-foot distribution center now under construction, and plans for 173 rental homes that could break ground in spring 2023. Image courtesy of Winstanley Enterprises

A 653-acre parcel that served as a manufacturing hub for an industrial conglomerate in Windsor is taking the next step in its evolution into a master-planned community, ranging from a massive distribution center to hundreds of entry-level housing units for rent.

Master developer Winstanley Enterprises envisions a mix of 173 townhouses, duplexes and single-family homes ranging from 1,600 to 1,900 square feet.

The residential development will fill a niche in the market for entry-level housing, said Adam Winstanley, a partner at the Concord, Massachusetts-based real estate firm.

“Starter homes are getting harder to find, and we think this is going to be helpful for people in the region who are ready to move out of apartments to a nice suburban campus with a lot of amenities,” Winstanley said.

The decision to build rental housing conforms with the town’s goals for the property to expand the diversity of its housing options, Winstanley said. Only 18 percent of Windsor’s housing units are rentals, according to the town’s 2015 Plan of Conservation and Development, one of the lowest percentages of Hartford suburbs.

Anticipated rents are not yet available, pending completion of final designs by Hartford-based Crosskey Architects. The homes will be built to a density of nearly six units per acre, Winstanley said, and will break ground as soon as May 2023.

Apartments, Distribution Projects Begin Transformation

Great Pond Village is the latest former single-tenant commercial campus in Connecticut being carved up into a master-planned mixed-use community.

Under the leadership of founder David Winstanley, the firm entered a joint venture with ABB Combustion Engineering in 2008 to act as master redeveloper of the Windsor property as ABB’s operations wound down.

The town of Windsor’s adoption of a flexible form-based zoning code in 2008 cleared the way for a future transformation, and ABB spent $150 million on environmental clean-up.

Winstanley is selling some development pads to other real estate firms, while planning to oversee other crucial portions of the project including the upcoming housing phase.

This week’s ceremonial groundbreaking of a massive distribution center by St. Louis developer NorthPoint is the largest project to date at Great Pond Village. The firm is marketing the 750,000-square-foot warehouse for up to four tenants, NorthPoint Regional Vice President Christina Hubacek said. JLL represents the developers in leasing.

After a previous tenant backed out of a potential lease, NorthPoint decided in June to go ahead with the $133-million project on speculation, Hubacek said. The firm’s confidence in securing tenants is buoyed by continuing favorable conditions for warehouse and distribution space in Greater Hartford.

Amazon opened a fulfillment center on nearby Day Hill Road in 2016, and the Great Pond property is located six miles from Bradley International Airport and less than five miles from Interstate 91. The complex will include 40-foot clear heights, 150 trailer stalls and 76 loading docks.

The Great Pond master plan limits the buildout to a single distribution center on the property. The master plan calls for 865 housing units, nearly 1 million square feet of flex industrial space and more than 72,000 square feet of commercial, retail and restaurant space.

The town of Windsor formed a special tax district to issue bonds paying for infrastructure, which will be paid back through property taxes by Great Pond property owners. So far, approximately $14.4 million has been spent on construction of roads and utilities, Winstanley said.

Winstanley sold one development parcel to Fairfield-based residential developer Eastpointe for its 182-unit Preserve at Great Pond, an eight-building apartment complex completed in 2020 that is 100-percent leased, WInstanley said.

The property also includes a 30-acre parcel acquired by Verizon in 2021 for a data center, and a 40-acre property on Day Hill Road recently acquired by New Haven-based biotech New England Cell Therapeutics for a potential future development.

“We’re really a city within a city with our own zoning district, and it’s the wave of the future,” Winstanley said. “Mixing all the uses together makes it really interesting and more unique than having a big office complex or a shopping center. A lot of these big corporate campuses seem to be turning up e