The selected developer for the proposed transformation of Downtown’s two vacant theaters and Savoy Hotel has received another 30-day extension to solidify $56 million in financing. The one-year deadline to execute the loot was extended in late December. For background see here.
The Office of Planning and Economic Development (OPED) will continue the 30-day extensions if satisfied progress is being made by New York City-based Exact Capitol that is also involved with the ongoing, years-in-the-making renovation of Harlem’s Victoria Theater. For historic synergy the Bridgeport theaters and Victoria Theater were designed by architect Thomas Lamb.
A September article from City Realty chronicles Harlem’s Victoria Theater under construction.
“OPED has regular communications with the developer on the status of the Majestic development,” says Mayor Joe Ganim’s Communications Director Rowena White. “This project is no different than others that take longer periods of time due to the various financing challenges, the historic preservation elements, and the overall complexity and size of the project. OPED has confidence in Exact Capital’s commitment to the city and project.”
A larger housing component across the street is also part of the project, but city officials want the theater renovation to serve as first phase. This project, or lack of, is a double-edge sword for Ganim in an election year in which he has one announced challenger, State Senator Marilyn Moore.
Visible theater renovation progress bodes well for Ganim so he’s giving Exact Capitol latitude to pull it together. If the developer fails to cement financing forcing the city to restart the process Ganim will look weak after touting this development as a game-changer.
Some of this depends on what else is going on this summer such as the concert amphitheater under construction at the former minor league baseball stadium that developers eye for a late summer opening. Ganim doesn’t want that pushed out to 2020.
The Steelpointe Redevelopment area on the East Side is also going vertical backed by a harbor boardwalk, 200-slip marina and oyster bar under construction as part of Bridgeport Landing Development’s 48,000-square-foot Dockmaster Building visible from I-95 across from Bass Pro Shops. Developers anticipate an early spring opening.
A key backdrop to this campaign season, the goodies the city secures from the state legislative session underway with multiple moving parts that include additional state aid to the city, sports betting, gaming, a proposed statewide mil rate on cars that would lower urban taxes.
If there’s credit to be lavished who gets it?