Delaney’s To Rise Again

TMG Architects LLCThe burned-down Delaney’s Restaurant & Tap Room is making a comeback to Westville Village along with new apartments on top, if a newly submitted zoning application gets approved.

The zoning application has been submitted by the new owner of a now vacant lot at 882 Whalley Ave., where flames consumed the popular restaurant nearly four years ago.

The lot has been vacant since that fire. Last year the former owner Ron Groves sold the lot for $400,000 to a company formed by Lior Israel, the owner of a local excavating and construction business. Now Israel is asking the city for a special exception for side yard requirements, onsite parking and to permit a restaurant and liquor.

Plans submitted to the Board of Zoning Appeals note that “Delaney’s Restaurant & Tap Room will be moving into the tenant space on the first floor with occupancy load and space previously occupied, hours of operations and staff will be the same.” In addition to the first-floor restaurant, Israel’s plans call for two additional stories of apartments above. The apartment will be a mix of seven one-bedroom units and four two bedroom units on each floor for a total of 22 units.

There will be 10 onsite parking spaces which will be tucked under a portion of the building and there will be 22 shared spaces for a total of 32. But the developer wants to rely on nearby street parking, a public parking lot and public transportation to absorb additional parking needs that will be generated by the restaurant.

Project Architect Leon Mularski Jr. of TMG Architects LLC. said that the plan is about 28 space short of what it needs to meet the zoning code’s requirements. Though there had been some early suggestion that the building would have additional retail or restaurant space on the first floor, Mularski said Delaney’s will be the only first-floor tenant. Design for much of the building is fairly complete, Mularski said, though there is still some design and layout tweaks that are being made for the new Delaney’s.

Lizzy Donius, who runs the Westville Village Renaissance Associaton (WVRA), said there are high hopes for the development.

“This new development will be an anchor, bringing significant housing and commercial space while maintaining the character of the Village,” she said. “We anticipate this will add significant momentum to the exciting development news we have had in recent months including the opening of a terrific new restaurant, RAWA, the purchase of the old subway building and the creation of the New Haven Cat Cafe. 

“And there is more development on the horizon, with a restaurant coming to the [former Niagra] Bank building, Manjares expanding into the evening and potential developers visiting and looking in the Village all the time,” she added. “We are delighted.”

WVRA is hosting a community meeting at Lyric Hall on Feb. 7 so that Israel can present his plans to Westville neighbors before they head to the Board of Zoning Appeals on Feb. 13.

Architect Mularski said that if things go well at BZA construction could start late spring early summer. He estimates between six and nine months for construction but it all depends, he said “what we find when we get in the ground. That’s what’s tough.”

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posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on January 26, 2018  9:49am

Nice idea but does it have to be such a boring design?

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on January 26, 2018  9:49am

When they say Delaney’s, is that in name only? Or is the old owner/management involved? Because simply opening a bar and calling it Delaney’s doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be the same quality of place. I was under the impression the old owner sold it but it isn’t obvious from this article. I assume Delaney’s owned the old building. If so, great news. If not, well, here’s hoping it’s at least of the quality of New Rudy’s. Not the same as Old Rudy’s, but it’s something.

posted by: HewNaven on January 26, 2018  10:01am

Surely, the New Haven Cat Cafe will lead a renaissance…. of cat memes.

posted by: mechanic on January 26, 2018  10:23am

Will happy hour coins from the original Delaney’s will be honored?  Asking for a friend.

posted by: Morgan Barth on January 26, 2018  10:38am


I’m so glad to see Delaney’s coming back. I’m so glad to see potential for ANYTHING productive to go into what has been a sand lot for the last four years!  I hope that this flies through the zoning and permitting process. Westville cannot afford a project like this to suffer the slow, painful bleed-out that comes when the negatrons who show up to block development projects or zoning changes. I live around the corner - but between work and little kids at home I can never get to community meetings or BZA meetings.  I hope our community turns out to ask some good questions…but to SUPPORT this promising plan!


posted by: anonymous on January 26, 2018  10:39am

This is great!  One the new cycle track is completed and bus routes improved, it will also be a lot easier for the 60,000 people living in the city without cars to get to these new businesses in Westville.  Right now a lot of the restaurant and entertainment business is limited to downtown because it’s hard for non-drivers to get to other places.

posted by: Noteworthy on January 26, 2018  11:00am

Like the idea - but the design? ugh.

posted by: Stylo on January 26, 2018  11:39am

Glad to see this happen, but agree on the design. Doesn’t fit the character of the area and looks like cheap Southwestern new construction.

posted by: opin1 on January 26, 2018  11:40am

So happy to hear this, great news for Westville, great for New Haven!

Agree with Gretchen, not the most attractive design. While I love that it has outdoor decks, the continuous bands of wrap around porches aren’t very attractive in my opinion (maybe break them up somehow). How about having some indoor/outdoor space for the restaurant.. maybe garage style doors or large sliding glass doors that could be opened up in the warmer months (see World of Beer in West Hartford). That would take advantage of the fact its on a very vibrant street.

posted by: anonymous on January 26, 2018  12:08pm

Giant doors is a great idea. 

Also, eventually closing off that last, very short section of Central Avenue to car traffic and turning it into a plaza.  In general, it is a pretty redundant block and it is often closed off for parties already, with no impact on traffic.

posted by: breadandcoffee on January 26, 2018  12:34pm

Like the other comments note, the design just doesn’t inspire much of… anything. Can WVRA recommend some ways to make the exterior street level surfaces more interesting? Is there a public art requirement for this parcel, that would automatically direct some capital to artwork on the site?

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 26, 2018  12:46pm

Glad to see this, but dollars to doughnuts, there will be people at the BZA hearing who have concerns about parking.

posted by: HewNaven on January 26, 2018  12:55pm

Kevin McCarthy,

Don’t you know that due to limited access to good jobs, most people in New Haven can’t afford to own a car, or are too young to drive (~60,000 residents). Those are obviously the same people that will frequent the new Delaney’s and move into market-rate new construction. Duh! We don’t need parking when we got the maths.

posted by: brownetowne on January 26, 2018  1:18pm

I wonder if any nitwits will begin an arbitrary crusade against the evils of one bedroom apartments.  We’ve seen this happen before for a variety of proposals.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on January 26, 2018  1:18pm

@ HewNaven:  I’m sure Kevin knows that.  The question is whether enough of the Westville neighbors who will actually turn up at the hearing will know that, and if they do, whether it will change their minds.

As someone who used to own the house next door to Archie Moore’s before they expanded their parking lot in 1988 (which they did by buying our house ten minutes after we put up the FOR SALE SIGN, and then bulldozing the near half of the double lot it sat on, destroying several healthy elm trees among much else), I can assure you that even a minor parking shortage in a residential neighborhood has a serious impact on quality of life.  Those rules about adequate parking were put there for a reason, and while we are definitely in a period of slow transition towards a more urban and walkable cityscape, the operative word is slow, and a lot of people’s habits haven’t changed a bit.

posted by: __quinnchionn__ on January 26, 2018  1:41pm

Why not just have the building be 5 or 6 stories tall and have a 3-floor parking garage attached to the backside of the building? That would be a better idea in my opinion. Not to mention that an “up-to-date” design of the building would certainly give that part of town a better look.

posted by: robn on January 26, 2018  1:56pm

design : (sound of an eraser flying through the air and hitting the table)

parking : I don’t know why NHV can’t build restrictive covenants into development agreements which disallow car ownership for occupants. This could easily be annually checked by a search (signed for and paid for by the occupant) of the occupants resident states in the past decade for car ownership, cross-referenced with a CT DMV check and then submitted to LCI for record.) Upon such an agreement, a building owner who feels they need to could then independently try to work deals with rideshare companies and offer them to occupants.

posted by: __quinnchionn__ on January 26, 2018  2:24pm

I think that if the building was 5 or 6 stories tall the restaurant can be on the ground floor and there could also be a little coffee shop on the floor above the restaurant. I also think that there should be a sitting area outside of the restaurant as well. Only thing is, there’s not really going to be any parking for people who come to the restaurant. In an urban area such as Westville parking can be very limited given the fact that there’s a lot of people who live, work and shop in the area. Parking can be a challenging issue for this development.

posted by: HewNaven on January 26, 2018  2:58pm

Gretchen Pritchard,

I attempted to be sarcastic. I actually agree that parking is a real issue. I also welcome our transition to life-after-cars, but agree we are far from that goal. Reality is that parking is still a major concern of residents in New Haven. I’m curious how the BZA hearing will go.

posted by: NewHavenGuy1 on January 26, 2018  4:44pm

Since the original owner of Delaney’s moved to California, I assume he will not have anything to do with the new tap room.  The article made me laugh when it said the developers are relying on street parking in the area.  They obviously never came down to the original Delaney’s on a Friday or Saturday.  While it’s nice to see that the lot wont be vacant, I don’t see this new location thriving.

posted by: Lorirobin on January 26, 2018  5:02pm

small detail, but I believe I see 3 tables for outdoor seating on the right side of the design photo. Not clear as to how they will keep this space open to customers only, but surely they will figure it out. Parking is the big issue- they might want to work out a deal with the public lot to validate tickets( which might not exist) , or reduce restaurant   or bar tab by a couple of dollars ( if parking fee receipts are given at the lot and shown). I dont know that either option exists with the meters in the lot.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on January 26, 2018  5:03pm

Argh, sorry HewNaven, my sarcasm detector battery needed recharging this morning.  Looking again at your post, that should have been obvious.  Enjoy your weekend!

posted by: anonymous on January 26, 2018  5:46pm

Parking concerns? Really? It says 32 spaces, and there are always bazillions of empty parking spaces within two blocks. They should take the 32 proposed spaces and turn them into a community garden or more outdoor seating.

posted by: HavenBooster on January 26, 2018  6:33pm

Yes, great idea to increase density, especially housing in our Village.
But the design is awful.  Before long those balconies will be full of things hanging over our very active sidewalks.  They will have to clear the snow off them which will fall heavily to the street.
Please have them go back and get a better design instead of a developer’s idea of lowest cost future tenement design.

posted by: JCFremont on January 26, 2018  10:40pm

Good points anonymous, lol, fear not it will be the apex of The YALE-SCSU & UNH New Haven United Campus. For the rest of you that model seems to be twice the size of the actual lot.

posted by: darwin on January 27, 2018  8:48am

I agree that the design does not complement the charm or personality of the village. I reminds me of a motel.The size of the project seems to consume the lot dimensions. could there be fewer apartments, more parking and a small inner courtyard for outdoor dining?

posted by: Pat from Westville on January 27, 2018  9:41am

One small point re adding a coffee shop to the plan:

Businesses like coffee shops depend on foot traffic to draw in customers, especially people not from the neighborhood. For that reason it should be on the street level, not up even a small flight of stairs. Street level windows are automatic advertisements for the space within. Reference Joel Schiavone’s redo (back in the 70’s or 80’s) of Chapel between York and College.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 27, 2018  6:36pm

Anonymous, I said there likely would be parking concerns. I didn’t opine about their reasonableness.

Robn, the site is privately owned and the developers are seeking special exceptions. The project is not the subject of a Development and Land Disposition Agreement. Outside of local historic districts, the city has very little say over the aesthetics of developments.

posted by: ADAK on January 27, 2018  7:10pm

I live in Westville and there is absolutely now way this design would fit in that lot, unless we’re building a center for ants.

I think everyone can get behind restaurant and housing in this spot—is this the right choice or design? Guess we all have to go to the community meeting Feb 7 at Lyric Hall to find out.

posted by: NewHavenRaven on January 27, 2018  10:12pm

It won’t be all the same staff.  Their head bartender co-owns one of the Eli’s now.

posted by: sandstorm on January 28, 2018  6:27am

The parking exception will negatively impact other Village businesses
There is no hardship There are plenty of empty spaces with adequate off street parking . This appeal should not be granted . Housing is reasonable; the recreation of a parking nightmare is not

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 28, 2018  8:13pm

Anonymous, meet Darwin and Sandstorm :-).

posted by: Eemich10 on January 28, 2018  10:23pm

So- I think this is great, but how come 500 Blake Street building and/or parking lot hasn’t been bought or taken over by the city yet?

This would solve the entire westville parking issues.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 29, 2018  7:52am

Eemich10, as a rule, the city can only take property if it is needed for a public facility, owes taxes, or is blighted. I suspect 500 Blake (which should be redeveloped) doesn’t fall into any of these categories. The parking lot across the street usually has available spaces. I don’t think it makes sense, economically or otherwise, to tear the building down for another parking lot.

posted by: HenryCT on January 29, 2018  9:55am

What time is the meeting at Lyric Hall? I hope many people turn out.

As one who enjoyed Delaney’s for many years I welcome that the space is being developed. However, the building design looks to overwhelm all the other buildings in the Village. I looked at pictures of TMG’s other buildings on its website. Like the proposed Delaney’s a generous conclusion is that they are totally uninspiring.

30 bedrooms. Is it safe to assume one car per bedroom? 10 parking spaces and 22 shared spaces - what is a shared parking space? What data indicate that when the restaurant/bar is full and tenants are home there will be sufficient parking? Will those living on neighboring streets demand restricted parking in front of their homes? Will the landlord tell prospective tenants what the parking situation actually is? Is the building made of wood with brick facade?

Will the developers provide results from studies to indicate that visitors to the Village will be sufficient to support Rawa, the restaurant in the old New Haven Savings Bank building and Delaney’s?

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on January 29, 2018  1:17pm

Classical revival detailing and trim painted white. Wood shakes painted yellow. Bay windows.

posted by: new havener on January 30, 2018  12:44am

I’m not concerned about parking, so long as the city makes existing lots available. Everyone knows about the lot at Whalley/Blake, but there is a closer, hidden lot along the West river, but it is usually locked up at the Tour Ave end…why? You can see it clearly on google earth/street view…wasn’t that lot paid for with a Federal grant during flood remediation/containment project in 83-84?

As far as the building…it’s ugly.