Throughout the last two decades, Joseph Migani has been instrumental in the planning, development and tenanting of the core shopping district in historic downtown Seymour, Connecticut.
Beginning in the 1990’s, Mr. Migani ghostwrote a grant for the town that successfully funded streetscape improvements in the historic downtown district. During this time, OMA led a series of downtown revitalization charrettes to study emergent factors in the successful revitalization of historic mill towns throughout the country. Working with a team of nationally recognized urban designers which included faculty and students from Ball State, RPI, and Yale Universities, OMA conducted a series of community workshops with local stakeholders to develop a community action plan to revitalize these historic mill town centers. OMA’s workshop series included interactive planning and modeling sessions with local stakeholders of all ages, such as ‘Box City’ for children, where children created their own city-scape modeled on a large-scale map of the downtown; an interactive computer modeling session for middle and high school age children; and planning sessions with local business owners and merchants, where building facades were reimagined and graphically mapped on large-scale streetscape renderings.
OMA located its offices in the boarded-up Beaches Block, in the heart of the downtown district. Vacant, blighted, and threatened with partial demolition to make way for a surface parking lot, the property was developed and restored as a multi-phase initiative, including interior renovations, code and fire safety improvements, and full exterior restoration. Mr. Migani established The Seymour Antiques Company in 1994 as the primary tenant, which would go on to become the anchor tenant of the downtown shopping district. Seymour Antiques operated on a group-shop model and rented space to antiques dealers on a monthly basis, eventually spanning over 16,500 sq. ft. with 85 dealers on 3 levels. Many of those dealers then went on to start their own shops within the downtown district, creating the hub of what is today the Seymour historic shopping district. Building interiors were refurbished and modernized in 2014 and now include 9 class ‘A’ retail and commercial spaces.
Beginning in the late 1990’s, Mr. Migani developed several community event series for the downtown district, including cruise nights, live music, and weekend antiques markets. In 2004, Mr. Migani co-founded the District of Seymour, Art and Antiques (DOSAA) in partnership with downtown merchants Greenwich Workshop and Zoe & Floyd. DOSAA’s founding members developed and launched downtown Seymour’s ‘First Saturday’ program, and administered funding, membership, press and distribution for the initial 16-month program.
In 2004, Mr. Migani began development of the neighboring property in the phased renovation and construction of a planned 38-unit residential community. The project was developed in two phases to include the modernization and adaptive re-use of a blighted historic property and urban infill construction over the site of an existing parking lot. Completed in 2008 and 2017 respectively, the project received wide regional support during the planning and development phases, partnering with local non-profit housing agencies to provide property management and support services for residents. The property now offers 4 ground floor retail spaces, handicapped accessible elevator lobbies, central outdoor courtyard, shared amenities space, state of the art building and safety systems, structured parking, and 38 one and two-bedroom apartments.
To date, Mr. Migani has developed over 60,000 sq.ft. of blighted, vacant space, creating 12 retail tenancies and 38 residential units within the downtown district. Today, the district boasts over 40+ shops and restaurants and is a destination location for arts and antiques throughout the tri-state area.