Sharon Prince and How She Managed to Build One of Connecticut’s Premiere Community Centers
Every square foot of the 80-acre land where Sharon Prince Grace Farms community center sits reflects the CEO’s bold vision. Sharon Prince, the founder and CEO of Grace Farms, alongside her friends and neighbors, wanted a space for their community that not only provided basic services that any community center would, but also create a spiritually empowering experience for each of its guests.
The “River Building”, which is what the main building is called, features a breathtaking view of the surrounding nature as well as a variety of ultramodern rooms and centers, such as a nature center, gymnasium, and amphitheater.
This was all made possible by the help of some 100 donors and Prince’s husband, Robert Prince, who is an executive at Bridgewater Associates. The cost of the project was around $120 million, making the center the most expensive one in Connecticut, if not in the country. See This Page for additional information.
Aside from the extravagant price tag the premiere real estate came with, Prince had other challenges that she stumbled upon when trying to turn her vision into brick-and-mortar reality. While the facility is free for public use, not all locals were pleased with the project’s extent.
Neighbors petitioned for the zoning permit to be reconsidered by New Canaan’s governing committee, and the battle drew on for over six grueling years. Eventually, Grace Farms won the verdict and a permit was granted in 2013. To address the concerns of their neighbors, the foundation had to add berms across the estate and had to modify the design of its parking lot.
To pull off a project of such scale requires not only a daring vision but also a fearless and relentless leader. And Sharon Prince definitely stepped up and delivered on both. She has an MBA from the University of Tulsa and has been the face of many media campaigns that are attempting to abolish human slavery and inhumane treatment of women.
Through her efforts, Sharon Prince Grace Farms has managed to grab highly coveted awards including the AIA National 2017 Architecture Honor Awards, as well as the 2016 Innovation by Design Award by the Fast Company.