A Waterfront View, Blocked For 100 Years, Emerges In Urban Setting–Marina And Oyster Bar Opening In May

From late February, boat slips installed as marina readies for opening.

Peering out over Bridgeport Harbor on Monday, Springfield Massachusetts business community leader Nancy Creed marveled at a new marina in an urban environment. “It’s a joy to see a struggling industrial community come back to life. This is amazing activity.” In Bridgeport, it’s a reclaimed remediation view, a vantage point last seen 100 years ago, according to development principal Robert Christoph Jr. who first viewed the site about 20 years ago as a messy power-plant brownfield.

April 15, Robert Christoph Jr, left, and Nancy Creed, Springfield, Mass chamber executive outside new marina facility.

Next month the view, marina, an oyster bar restaurant and a public harbor walk area with gorgeous waterfront vistas will be open to the public. This is the latest chapter of the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area of the East Side and East End that was resuscitated in 2015 with the opening of giant outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops first urban store, across the street on Stratford Avenue, a short distance from Downtown.

Inside marina facility.

Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris was wooed to Connecticut’s largest city by Christoph Jr. and his father, as well as then-Mayor Bill Finch and his Chief of Staff Adam Wood. Christoph Jr. said he could have put a WalMart there. He wanted something better, a “destination.”

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The progress now continues under Joe Ganim whose first administration cleared the site for development, followed by tens of millions of dollars of remediation and bulk head work during the John Fabrizi and Finch mayoral years.

Christoph Jr. and Creed overlooking marina.

The redevelopment was first proposed in 1983 by then-Mayor Lenny Paoletta. It languished for more than a decade requiring heavy state and federal cleanup assistance after testy relocation and eminent domain battles.

Creed, president of the Springfield Regional Chamber, visited Bridgeport to share the economic stimulus of MGM Resorts $1 billion development, a game changer for Springfield’s Downtown.

Rendering of soon-to-open Dockmaster Building.

MGM has proposed a $675 million resort destination on Steelpointe Harbor that’s a major question mark for state legislative passage given Connecticut’s complex gaming compact with the state’s two tribal nations that operate Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Whether that happens or not, Christoph Jr., who with his father has led waterfront projects in Miami and Boston, says the latest phase of the project will stand alone as a destination for boaters, waterfront recreation, fishing tournaments and dining.

Marina slips.

Christoph Jr. says he’s relocating the parent real estate company RCI Marine from Miami Beach to Bridgeport. When was the last time you heard something relocating from Miami to Bridgeport?

Christoph Jr. provided Creed and three members of the media a tour of the Dockmaster Building that will house his organization, the marina and restaurant. The maritime-designed structure will include offices for architectural and engineering companies. Tenants, he says, are lining up. “I have more demand than space.”

Inside Bridgeport Boatworks storing this 100-foot Newport vessel.

For Christoph Jr. the land along Yellow Mill Channel running into the harbor is all about location to be a “marina destination.” He pointed to nearby highway access, train line, ferry service and municipal airport a few miles away. He is filling the demand for marina space that includes more than just slips. On the property sits Bridgeport Boatworks featuring hulking warehouses on 10 acres for boat storage, restoration, painting and fiberglass services with 75-ton and 200-ton travel lifts.

The Christophs themselves are a family of avid boaters with deep connections to promote their new marina.

The dining view inside oyster bar.

The core boating season will run from May to October. The restaurant Boca Oyster Bar, operated by Yanni Taxiltaridis, general manager of the popular Crave 52 in Fairfield Center, will be open year ’round.

This current phase of the project, according to Christoph Jr, requires 150 full- and part-time jobs.

The next phase of the project is market-rate housing that Christoph Jr. anticipates will begin construction late summer.

The Christoph-affiliated Bridgeport Landing Development that owns the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area has cracked the list of top 10 city taxpayers, according to records provided by the city: 3 4 19 GRAND LIST DATA ATTACHMENT.

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47 comments

    1. Bill Finch! This was in the works before Bill Finch, this goes back to the late 80’s early 90’s Let’s give credit to all the Mayors who participated in the development. I don’t always agree with many ideas or decisions of our elected officials but BYE BYE BIRDIE can’t take the credit for steelpointe.

  1. Great news all we need now is a casino!!!!! I recently went to mgm in springfield and I will never go back to the other 2 casinos in ct. MGM is closer to go to and there are other things to do in springfield after you leave the casino unlike the 2 locations in ct which is rural. As a young person in bridgeport I must say there is not much to. Most time we spend our money out of time ect. crime is already in bpt so having a casino won’t raise the crime rate. Most important thing also the casino will bring so much jobs here and that will really help the black and brown communities here.

      1. I’m shocked that there isn’t a super Walmart in BPT, but putting it by the water isn’t a good idea. The Bass Pro makes sense with the water there. How about a super Walmart on Barnum ave where all the Ugly ass Remington buildings and empty parking lots are at????? Oh yeah, the great train station

      1. Lennie,
        Thanks for the info. Where does one seek the reporting on this? From BLD to City? Where is there a District report that is public? In the latest Taxpayer listing of Top 50 BLD ParcelI owner LLC with 61 accounts and over $12,700,000 of assessment is identified. Is this the District?
        Also listed is BLD Waterfront Upland Owner LLC with 28 accounts and over $6 Million of value? Assuming that this is part of SteelPoint is it also District?

        Saw picture with Christoph, Jr. and Creed (from Springfield,MA) but Steve Tyliszczak, was not noted. Formerly of OPED, bringing skills and history to his varied tasks of location development, aside from wearing a cap, fortunately for all concerned. Reference to topographic maps and news about weather and climate change around bodies of water might be reasons for move from Miami to Bridgeport? Time will tell.

        1. If JML’s numbers are correct, over $18 million in real property and paying $500,000. I feel so sorry for the Christoph’s. They must qualify for some type of tax break.

  2. I’m not surprised that there is nothing in this article about how many homes, hopes and dreams of Blacks and Puerto Ricans that were destroyed to bring you white people a Marina, and Oyster Bar restaurant and a Bass Pro.

    1. Interesting………Bridgeport has such a big Black and Latino community but yet always have the white man making all the decisions…hummmmmm…….not even trying to make it a racial thing especially because the opportunity has been there in the past to vote a minority in but has never happened…..I guess the minorities in the city figure it best that way?

  3. Based on your observations when you say, “the opportunity has been there in the past to vote a minority in,” what you really mean the opportunity to vote a majority in. NO?

    1. Don, there has been only one chance for Bridgeport voters to vote for a black candidate for mayor. In 1983 the election for Bridgeport mayor Republican Lenny Paoletta won against Democrat Charlie Tisdale and former Democrat mayor, John Mandanici who ran on the Taxpayer Party. The election results were Paoletta 16,000 votes, Tisdale 15,000 votes and Mandanici 10,000 votes, white Democrats had gone out of their way to vote for a black candidate for mayor. The voter turnout was approximately 70 percent.

  4. Forget about could of, should of, would of. Let’s concentrate on NOW. Let’s end of a the possibilities and work as a community to elect a minority candidate, Marilyn Moore!

  5. So when is Walmart or Target moving in? Oh, right. Little Stevie Auerbach wouldn’t want a big box store cluttering up the skyline. He and the other dwarves that owe their jobs and livelihood and allegiance to kissing Joe Ganim’s ass and other parts of his anatomy wouldn’t want the rest of the world to think there are people in Bridgeport living below the poverty line…

    1. Little Derek Brown, The Steelepointe Oyster Bar is just going to be a very exciting venue continuing to make Bridgeport an entertainment destination. Market rate housing on Steelepointe will bring life and lights to the point. Coupled with Ganim’s current projects, the Primrose Housing and the Amphitheater it is no wonder why the Business community is supporting his efforts Live Nation is a big deal. 21 Luxury suites, VIP lounges,Concerts, Festivals, Community events, Family shows. Public and Private events. Ganim’s home run will be of course The Poli and Majestic 450 million dollar Casino and the 675 Million dollar Casino. Ganim may have a modest decrease in taxes this year but the future holds a more positive outlook.

      It is so sad that the biggest losers on the blog contribute absolutely nothing. Nothing to taxes, Nothing to local business. Just another drain on the taxpayer.

      I’d like to remind Derek Brown that if you don’t like Ganim do something about it. Marilyn Moore could use your donation. even 10 dollars would help. Bob Walsh, How fucking embarrassing, You expect Frank Gyure to do the work to get Moore elected and you couldn’t even give 1 dollar to her campaign?? You must be a consultant like Ron Mackey. At least JML and Donald Day gave 100.00 . They can still give 900.00 Moore each. Come on fellas, You can keep insulting the Mayor or me for no reason, If you have a candidate by all means , share their vision, Ganim is doing just fine.

      Little Stevie – seriously?

        1. So Derek, what is wrong with that?? In order for Bridgeport to thrive, it needs to bring back the white, middle class and upper class money. Derek, my wife loves oysters! Puerto Rican….What white people are the only one’s that like oysters,or seafood. The only ones that have boats???? The only ones that fish????

      1. I’m not a fan of Ganim to be honest but you are right. There is a lot going on and its going to benefit all not just THE WHITE!!!! NO MATTER WHAT IT STILL COMES BACK TO RACE WITH SOME

  6. Ok…so Gala Foods is going to be in the East End/Side..whatever. Stop$Shop is on strike and I support the strikers(Ganin got to a picket line three days too late). So I went to Gala Foods on Fairfield Ave. What a RIPOFF. Selections are terrible. Gala Food is MORE EXPENSIVE than Stop$Shop. I figured it out. I am thinking that most of Gala Supermarket customers are inner city customers who are on Food Stamps. Sooo… Gala is charging higher prices than traditional supermarkets because they have a captive customer;someone with limited means of transportation and who is on Food Stamps. So,Gala Foods is “eating ” up more of the Food Stamp Benefits of its customers than traditional supermarkets(Stop$Shop,Shoprite). So, I thought that the people of the East Side/East End will benefit from a Gala Foods but it is now clear. Gala Foods preys upon inner-city customers(mostly Food Stamp recipients) and makes more of a profit eating up more of the FooD Stamp benefits of those who shop at Gala Foods. So, Gala foods is like a “Trojan Horse” for the East Side/East End.

  7. Oh Please you gave $250 not because you believe in Mayor Ganim, but because you were hired as a paid donor. You have no choice but to attend every mayoral fundraiser and to donate your obligatory $250. Save that altruism bullshit for someone that doesn’t know better.

    1. Donald Day I didn’t have to write a check silly man. Just like this blog you imagine that I wasn’t able to write so listen you cheap bastard- You want a Black Candidate – move back to Bridgeport and get off your ass- you are jealous- Black people vote for heir candidate of choice – not because they are black.

      Bob Branford Walsh- another cheap Bastard a simple check for 1000.00. Put your money where your mouth is. You begged her to run- Now her political career will suffer greatly and she will have you and Stratford Day to thank. How typical- So Black people don’t desire a ice Oyster Bar, wouldn’t appreciate a beautiful Marina? They don’t hunt or camp? I like to think Black people enjoy the same pleasures as White people .

      Nobody twisted my arm to contribute to the Mayor. Nobody twisted my arm to make all of those calls to donors. Some of us work and some just sit on the sidelines . Keep whining !
      What happened to the donations i have made over the years to other candidates?? Now write the check because you have a winning candidate and you want a Black vision less Mayor whose own daughter would’t come to Bridgeport because bad things happen. Her Home address speaks volumes 666 the number of the beast. I imagine some people are familar with that. Being Jewish it means nothing to me!

      I think it is shocking that your criteria for Mayor is Black. Is that the Mantra you are using on the street???? Save it.

      People want a vision. I guess everyone on ths blog hs been miserable for years. Has anyone here ever been satisfied with an election or a Mayor?? Very sad indeed. I don’t blame Donald Day or Bob Walsh for leaving the city. You have no clout in the streets here.

  8. It’s not just me!

    Robert Brown III, visiting sociology professor at Quinnipiac University and project manager, said the report reveals two Connecticuts—the wealthy and increasingly white Connecticut and another experiencing exponential growth in communities of color alongside growing economic disparities. Any questions Coach?

    1. I have a question Mr. Day- where do you fit in?? Are you the poor Black man or the wealthy white cracker?? In
      Bridgeport I have many black friends and acquaintances. They are successful homeowners. Travel around the
      world. Educated well read and they are pretty excited about the great things happening in this city and they pay high property taxes. Some voted for Finch, most voted for Ganim. The reason has absolutely nothing to do with a supermarket on the Eastend. Many of these African Americans are transplants from New York and Stamford. Many are Bridgeport Born and bred. Educated and wise. They vote accordingly. The color of the skin is a thing of the past. If it isn’t , it should be. In the city of Bridgeport, Your candidate does not have the reputation as the Moses for her people. Many some wealthy Black rockers and like the donors in Greenwich they do not represent the diversity in Bridgeport.

      Paging Mary Jane Foster- $1000.00 check needed.

  9. Threats to moral identity increase the degree to which people believe past actions have proven their morality. In other words, the threat of appearing racist leads people to overestimate how much their past non-racist actions—like making friends with somebody of another race—are indicative of their non-racist attitudes. See yourself?

    1. Harvey,

      Little Stevie is Joe Ganim’s chief cook and bottle washer. He dons a cheerleader’s out fit replete with crepe paper pom poms for extra money.

      1. I know Derek, that is till Joe loses the primary, then he’ll be kissing Moore ass, just like he jumped off the Finch train the day after he lost.

  10. Not for nothing but what would any mayor be allowed to take a BOE for a $1 billion expenditure of taxpayer dollars when all we have is this mini palace, a mediocre big box store, a Chipotle and a Starbucks on prime waterfront property?

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