City Announces Strong Retail Year, Continues to Grow Despite Difficult National Economy
(12/20/2011) NEW HAVEN- The city’s retail business market is thriving this holiday season, with 36 new retail businesses opening their doors in the commercial districts since late last year, Mayor John DeStefano announced.
More new stores opened in New Haven during that period than at any time in recent memory. The retail success is yet another sign of the strength of New Haven’s local economy, despite the difficult economy globally. Other strong indicators include:
• Lowest office vacancy rate in decades
• Second highest concentration of jobs in Connecticut
• Largest rates of grand list growth of any municipality in Connecticut for three consecutive years
• 89 percent occupancy for storefront retail in the central business district. Of those stores, 87 percent are locally owned.
• 98 percent rental housing occupancy citywide
“We are seeing significant growth in retail, which is a key indicator of economic vitality”, Mayor John DeStefano said. “We welcome entrepreneurs like Kimberly Arpaia and Robert Lang of Arpaia Lang Jewelers to the Ninth Square. “This jewelry store, along with opening of Devil’s Gear, Elm City Market and O’Toole’s Irish Pub, shows the investment at 360 State Street has helped spur new investments in retail, adding to the vitality of Chapel and Orange streets.”
“Business owners are being attracted by the city’s commitment to encouraging local entrepreneurs and national brands, and by the progress that is clearly evident all across the city,” said Kelly Murphy, New Haven’s Economic Development Administrator. “Even in a very challenging economy, these new businesses believe that New Haven is on the move, and they’re moving in to be part of it,” Murphy said.
The retail locations range from national chains to locally owned shops, including a wide range of products from technology, jewelry and clothing to dessert specialties, grocery markets and restaurants. New businesses opened in the downtown area, and the Audubon Street, Whalley Avenue, Grand Avenue, and the Upper State Street business districts.
“We continue to see interest from retailers as well as restaurateurs in locating or expanding downtown. We expect the trend to continue into the new year as the economy continues to rebound,” Town Green Special Services Executive Director Rena Leddy said.
In addition to the strong retail growth, New Haven is fast becoming a state leader in attracting venture capital for start-up and manufacturing companies, and is demonstrating that arts and culture can be effective economic drivers.
The City anticipates that strong retail growth will continue in the coming years, bolstered by the new Gateway Community College and other educational and residential developments.
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