CITY OF NEW HAVEN CONTINUES T O MAKE INVESTMENTS IN PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE TO ATTRACT NEW BUSINESS INVESTMENT AND JOB CREATION IN THE RIVER STREET AREA IN FAIR HAVEN
(9/14/2009) CITY OF NEW HAVEN CONTINUES T O MAKE INVESTMENTS IN PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE TO ATTRACT NEW BUSINESS INVESTMENT AND JOB CREATION IN THE RIVER STREET AREA IN FAIR HAVEN
NEW HAVEN- Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. announced today the completion of public improvements within the River Street Municipal Plan (MDP) Area. Reconstruction of River Street, Poplar Street between River Street and the river, and Blatchley Avenue between Chapel Street and River Street, as well as the installation of new sidewalks on the south side of Chapel Street, have been completed with the reconstruction of Lloyd Street between River Street and the river underway.
“It’s exciting to see so much business expansion and job creation taking place in our City despite the difficult economic climate we are experiencing nationwide,” said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “The River Street improvements will help to increase the appeal of this section of the City for businesses to grow and continue to provide opportunities for new employees.”
Plans for the landscaped pedestrian walkway and related shoreline stabilization measures as called for in the Plan, have been completed and permit application approval from the Connecticut Office of Long Island Sound Programs is expected this fall.
A major impetus for the creation of the River Street Municipal Development Plan was the need to accommodate industrial-type businesses in a city that had virtually no such available property. The Plan called for conversion of 25 acres of abandoned and underutilized industrial land into job and investment producing enterprises, the creation of a landscaped pedestrian walkway along the Quinnipiac River linking Criscuolo and Front Street parks and the renovation of historic buildings in the area in tribute to the City’s industrial past.
“The City took a proactive approach in late 2001 when it decided to invest $10 million to acquire the 8-acre former Hess Oil set, setting the stage for the investment you see today,” said Mayor DeStefano. “This effort was led by the Office of Economic Development and truly reflects the partnership between the City, the State of Connecticut, the Federal government and the private sector.”
The New Haven Delegation was especially helpful in securing state bond funds to pay for improvements. These funds were allocated through the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). The first grant of $2.5 million was used for property acquisition, street improvements, new sidewalks and curbs, storm drainage measures as well as the partial demolition of failing structures at 142 River Street on Lloyd Street.
Since 2006 Suraci Metal Finishing bought and completed a $1.5 million renovation of 90 River Street, Capasso Restoration acquired and completed a $500,000 renovation of 34 Lloyd Street. New Haven Awning recently finished its $400,000 renovation of 178 Chapel Street, a privately owned property which it acquired along with the City-owned lot at Chapel Street and Blatchley Avenue. These projects total approximately 105,000 square feet of new development and support the increased employment of 85 people.
Colony Hardware, a New Haven based business currently located in the Port Area, has announced it’s plans to construct a 133,000 square foot headquarters and distribution facility on the former Hess Oil property at 100 River Street, resulting in the retention of 100 jobs and the creation of 100 new positions. These plans are nearing completion. The City acquired the Hess site in December 2005 in an innovative arrangement whereby the City and Hess agreed to a purchase and clean up of the site tied to the new user. The New Haven Delegation also helped secure $2.8 million in bond funds that will used to offset extraordinary foundation costs for the Colony Hardware project.
Renovation and reuse of the historic 19th Century Bigelow Boiler and New Haven Pipe Bending facilities located at 198 and 142 River Street, respectively, have been complicated by significant environmental and structural issues challenging both properties. The City has taken steps to stabilize the Bigelow buildings that face River Street and completed selective demolition of 142 River Street with the hope of at least retaining the corner building in that complex.
“New Haven maintains a vibrant manufacturing sector and the investment and job growth found in Fair Haven today reflects the City’s commitment to creating a welcoming environment for businesses to locate and to grow,” said Economic Development Administrator Kelly Murphy.
Additional announcements about business growth and investment in the River Street will be made in the near future. The City has also been working with a manufacturer interested in acquiring the former Lynn Ladder property at 184-196 Chapel Street to expand its operation there. In addition, the City is fielding inquiries from businesses and developers interested in acquiring the remaining redevelopment parcels in the MDP.