Stamford Town Center, an urban marketplace in affluent Fairfield County, Connecticut, needed more than a facelift. It needed another head.
Taubman Company, a developer with a portfolio of 24 shopping centers around the nation, launched a major project in 2007 to turn the center into an appealing destination for downtowners.
Previously, pedestrians and drivers on Tresser Avenue, a major downtown street, had little reason to negotiate a maze of parking decks and back streets to shop at the aging mall, which was built in 1982.
Konover Construction, now KBE Building Corporation, was one of the general contractors charged with building an attractive new south entrance. The project features a pedestrian-friendly, street-level plaza with signature restaurants and retail shops—and striking use of glass.
“Mall developers are trying to create a liveliness and more night-time appeal, so they want restaurants and businesses that are visible from the street,” said David Wimmer, Barnes & Noble development manager.
Earlier this year, the Connecticut chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors named the Stamford Town Center project for an “Excellence in Construction” award in the retail category. Chandler Architectural Products, in West Springfield, Mass., did the glasswork, and the supplier for all curtain wall and storefront products was YKK AP.
The plaza is dominated by the curved facade of Barnes & Noble in the center, with two eye-catching glass towers on the left and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro on the right. The towers’ escalators provide rapid access to other parts of the center, which has 768,000-square-feet of retail space.
The Barnes & Noble structure consists of top panels in a true radius, married to three levels of segmented curtain wall below. A glass canopy greets visitors at the bookstore’s lower level.
“We strive to create an architectural presence that will be meaningful for the long term,” said Wimmer.
For the first two levels, the bookseller specified its unique “Literary Green” storefront products made only by YKK AP. The color is elegantly contrasted by clear anodized panels and mullions for the third level and towers.
Barnes & Noble requires door products that can stand up to high traffic for many years. The book retailer switched to YKK AP as its storefront supplier in 2005.
“Based on my experience as an architect prior joining Barnes & Noble, YKK AP offers a superior product. Small details make their storefront systems a little crisper, a little cleaner, a little stronger,” said Wimmer.
Two of the project’s challenges were the aggressive schedule and the limited workspace, according to glazier Todd Alvarez, Chandler’s project manager.
“Outside, seven general contractors and their subcontractors shared space. Inside the tower, we had to work 40 feet off the floor using only the equipment we could get through a seven-foot doorway,” Alvarez said.
YKK AP, the sole specified supplier, met deadlines and provided the same-high quality service as it would on a project open to competition, he added.
The project “tested us in many ways,” Alvarez said, “but the toughest ones tend to be the most rewarding.”
For YKK AP