Bijou For You, Plus: Late Night With Mayor And Chief, And Hill Climbs All Over Linda And Dick

Bijou Square
Phil Kuchma's Bijou Square. Photo courtesy of Bob Abbate

I visited Phil Kuchma, developer of Bijou Square, Thursday afternoon. If you’ve not seen what he’s done on Fairfield Avenue, check it out. He’s cleaned up an entire city block downtown. Good stuff.

The next phase of his redevelopment–ground-floor retail and housing rentals–is two months or so away from occupancy. He already has several commercial tenants lined up including hair salon, dry cleaners and wine shop. Holy Château Lafite! A wine store downtown. (I think I might move in.) Kuchma will have 62 two-bedroom, two-bath units and 22 one-bedroom units. The monthly rental prices range from $912 to $1313 for one-bedroom units to $1369 to $1676 for two bedrooms.

When the economy crashed a few years ago this phase of the project came to a halt. Several months ago Kuchma received financing through a Connecticut Housing Financing Authority/General Electric fund that revived the project. The project also includes renovation of one of the oldest movie houses in the country.

Lots of young professionals have relocated in recent years to the downtown Citytrust building and 881 The Lofts, eschewing pricey housing costs of lower Fairfield County. Bijou Square also includes Café Roma and Two Boots as part of downtown’s emerging dining options for new residents.

Visit downtown, tell your friends. Good eats there. Hey, it’s the weekend!

Walk And Talk

Grab your flashlights and dress in light-colored clothing. Mayor Bill Finch and Acting Police Chief Joseph Gaudett are scheduled to meet at the intersection of East Main and Arctic Streets tonight at 11 as part of the “Take Back Our Neighborhood Walks.” The walk will last roughly one hour. Next Friday it’s on to the intersection of Main Street and North Avenue. As the city experiences a spike in crime the mayor and chief are betting it’s better to stay visible.

OIB Poll

We’re in the field testing the temperature of likely Dem primary voters. How’s Mayor Bill Finch doing against State Rep. Chris Caruso, Bridgeport Bluefish co-founder Mary-Jane Foster and former Finch administration official John Gomes? We’re also testing potential primary candidates in a group as well as direction of the city and top city issues. OIB is doing a multi-faceted poll, the first phase is complete, second one still in the works. We’ll share results when both are done. May not be completed for another week or so. Taking longer that I initially anticipated because of the two phases. One year away from a Democratic primary.

Who’s Brian K. Hill?



  1. *** Wish Bpt had more developers like Kuchma with the patience & drive to see things through. Hope the economy gets better in general & Downtown becomes its own little activities district it once was, good luck Phil. *** Too little, too late with the P/R neighborhood walks, try real cop community foot patrols, not politics! Get to know the real residents & win their trust, the rest will follow. *** BACK TO BASICS ***

  2. Hey Harry! Hate to Phil you and Lennie in but the Bijou at one time was the Rialto then followed by that porn pleasure palace, The Studio Cinema! I hear the Gilmore, Callahan and Grimaldi were the three amigos in the back row. “Spreading Joy” was one of their favorite artistic flicks. The late and great Jim Clark could usually be heard chortling next door at Sol’s.

  3. Lennie, while the Mayor and Chief were walking on East Main street “taking back the streets” the SET team was one block away on Brooks street taking another gun off the street from a 16 yr old kid.

    There is only one way to take back the streets. Get about a dozen proactive cops and give them free roam of the city to do ol’-fashioned police work.

    Then, these idiot lawmakers in the state of CT who decided to make 17 yr olds “juveniles” starting next year, can just let everyone we arrest with guns right back on the street again. It’s a vicious cycle …

    Best job in the world …


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