Building For Sale, CT Post Real Estate Tax Bill More Than $170,000

Connecticut Post building
410 State Street for sale. CT Post photo Cathy Zuraw.

Hearst Connecticut Media that owns the Connecticut Post and four other daily newspapers in Fairfield County announced two weeks ago that it had placed 410 State Street for sale as it begins the process to downsize its physical editorial and advertising presence in Connecticut’s largest city. According to city tax officials based on the building assessment for the municipal budget year that began July 1, the city is scheduled to receive $173,796 in real estate taxes for the property for the year. Hearst is current on its taxes.

A Downtown fixture since 1928, the news organization’s Bridgeport location is adjacent to the federal building and Housatonic Community College. What’s the market for the building? Housing? Mixed-use? The Post building, like many businesses in the city, received a hefty tax increase with the revaluation of city property kicking in July 1.

Group Publisher Paul Barbetta asserted in a statement two weeks ago “Our commitment to the communities we serve will not change. Our news coverage remains strong and vigilant. Advertisers will continue to be served by comprehensive print and digital options to grow their businesses. Only our addresses within the communities we cover will change.”

Hearst has not specified where it will house the news operation “though it plans to maintain a local editorial and advertising presence in both communities.”

Hearst also owns daily newspapers in Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk and Danbury that often share news content. News reporters say they are in the dark about where they’ll end up cranking out city news, surmising a scaled-down city location or perhaps ending up in Norwalk, the most central point for Hearst’s other offices.

Hearst also owns a printing plant in a separate building on State Street.

Like so many news organizations gutted as a result of corporate journalism cutbacks, local news coverage has been reduced dramatically from the days the paper was family-owned before its sale in the late 1980s. The Bridgeport Post became the Connecticut Post in 1992, but news coverage is largely concentrated in Bridgeport and immediate suburbs, although in recent years there has been an increased sharing of stories among its configuration of southern and western Connecticut daily papers and a growing digital presence.

In addition to the real estate taxes, Hearst is also scheduled to pay nearly $10,000 to the Downtown Special Services District, a special taxing district comprised of property owners to finance security and cleaning Downtown.

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13 comments

  1. It’s déjà vu all over again. Reminds me of G1 when businesses were threatening to pull out of downtown.
    Wonder if Ganim is asking himself why he decided to get back in the game. Or is he just asking the public for more patience? See y’all tonight.

  2. In what some might characterize as biased reporting, Mr. Grimaldi failed to mention the new annual tax bill of $183,365.80 represents a $52,402 increase over their current bill of $130,983.80 or a 40% increase in one year.
    This does not include a Personal Property Tax bill at this location that runs between $25K and $75K for the past five years nor does it include the real estate taxes and personal property tax for their printing operation in town.
    The only businesses that will stick around are those who have no other choices. This will be devastating for Bridgeport-based businesses.

  3. Does anyone else see the sickening injustice in taxing a building for more than someone is willing to even pay for it?
    Okay sure, more housing grants and tax breaks for some rich developer from Fairfield, BUT who will live there?

    1. Good points, all.

      Terrible. A 40% increase in one year?!!!

      Hi Doug Davidoff, do you still believe as you wrote on OIB, to a related posting, that:

      “This is about newspapers. It is not about Bridgeport.”???

      DougDavidoff // Jun 21, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      This is all about the economics of daily newspapers. It is not about “the last glowing embers in the dying heart of the city.”

      What has happened to The Bridgeport Post (try as hard as I can, I cannot get myself to enjoy calling it “The Connecticut Post”) is typical of corporate newspaper interests.
      – Gannett sold the headquarters buildings of The Indianapolis Star, whose “information center,” (neé newsroom) now inhabits space in the Circle City’s former Nordstrom building. The newspaper building is becoming housing.
      – Copy that for the newspaper building in Yonkers, N.Y.; it’s being transformed into housing right now.
      – The Boston Globe, which moved from “newspaper row” downtown out to Morrissey Boulevard on Dorchester Point, is now selling its building and hopes to move the newsroom back downtown.

      Newspapers own big and obsolete iconic downtown structures. One by one, newspapers discover the highest and best use for these behemoths is in the hands of a housing developer. And so the buildings get sold.

      This is about newspapers. It is not about Bridgeport.

  4. Independent research has shown commercial property owners, Black Rock and selected other residential areas in Bridgeport were hit hard. It’s time to put the City’s finances in some capable hands. We need an Independent Financial Control Board now!

  5. Peter Spain: You focused on two perfect examples of cities comparable to Bridgeport in which newspapers divested themselves of landmark properties that were later converted to downtown housing. Both cities are Casey Foundation poster children for being ground-zero for child poverty and income inequality, just like Bridgeport.

    There is a pattern of distressed US cities converting downtown retail/commercial landmarks into residential space, usually accomplished with huge federal and state grants and city tax abatements. That pattern speaks to the phenomenon of the exodus of wealth from US cities as globalization siphoned huge numbers of jobs and huge amounts of wealth out of US manufacturing cities, resulting in the absurd redistribution of wealth into the pockets of a handful of global-wealth manipulators, most located in the US, creating a situation of spreading, deepening poverty in the US and other corporately driven countries/economies. (Albeit without doing much to alleviate the grinding poverty of most of the rest of the world.)

    The pattern of distressed cities focusing development energy and resources on the creation of more housing stock, most of it low-income housing (non-revenue generating), resonates with the accompanying pattern of concentrating regional social services and polluting, obnoxious, disrupting, tax base devaluing regional power-generation/waste-disposal infrastructure in cities.

    Yes; and when another landmark commercial building in the downtown of a distressed city transitions to the housing-conversion list of non-productive downtown properties, it is describable in the context of the extinguishment of one of “the last glowing embers in the dying heart of the city.”

    The only people who will be able to see a real plus side to this phenomenon are the developers receiving all the government money that will help to finance the rent-subsidized housing to be used to warehouse the disenfranchised residents of the region to be collected in the region and unceremoniously and quietly dumped into the new residential spaces of the economically dying cities. Indeed, our cities are beginning to resemble refugee camps, if not concentration camps, in this regard.

    No reason for optimism in regard to this modern phenomenon of the devolution of our cities.

    1. Jeff Kohut, you write eloquent and well-written analyses of cities and the living potential of cities but I get a sense your vision is of a city in the 1950s. That “city” is GONE. “CITIES” are actually making a comeback if well managed, well designed and look forward to the future. The City of the future will have significantly less reliance on heavy manufacturing and will prosper and succeed on people’s minds coming together instead of meeting of muscle (assembly lines, etc.). I actually think Bridgeport can have a bright future because we are in the NYC metropolitan area but we need to get past these Testa/Ganim/McCarthy/Ford/Newton issues.

  6. IT IS about newspapers!!! If you ignore that you are ignoring reality. There used to be record/cd/music and bookstores. GONE!!! Same with newspapers. It’s sad this building would have great potential for apartments if it were located in a city with better financial/fiscal prospects than Bridgeport. The front looks well maintained and has Art Deco elements. SAD!!!

  7. Frank: There used to be talk of the “new economy,” one based on information technology and related services. Well as it turns out, there is no “new economy.” An economy is an economy is an economy. A true, sound, viable economy is constructed on the bedrock of tangible goods which are produced/harvested and exchanged for other tangible items and services (some of which can be considered part of the “bedrock” if they are essential services , such as health care). If cities aren’t involved in essential, bedrock areas of the economy, or populated by people participating in the economy at this level, then those cities are not going to be able to draw from enough wealth to maintain a viable tax base and provide services at adequate levels.

    For cities of working-class people, such as Bridgeport, there aren’t many pipelines to adequate wealth resources save for areas such as manual labor/factory hand work/trades.

    Bridgeport needs to recreate a diverse economy representing several sectors providing tens of thousands of living-wage jobs. Jobless development cannot represent an adequate tax base for the city and will not sustain a prosperous, livable, city. A city of low-wage, underemployed commuters, which is what we are now, cannot afford necessary municipal taxes, supply parental support for schools/education, sustain a viable downtown/other business districts, nor supply adequate numbers of active participants in the municipal democratic process.

    Thus, Bridgeport, not being able to sustain a high-value service economy, needs to re-establish a high-value, labor-based manufacturing economy (21st-century manufacturing/labor).

    Bridgeport cannot be sustained by the residential tax base that can be accommodated here. It needs a high-value commercial/industrial sector.

    There are no “1950s” cities. There are only cities consisting of people who work for a living within the context of living in those cities. That is the history of cities. Even the “super cities” such as New York, and Singapore, and Hong Kong are populated and sustained by populations living and working within their borders. Manhattan isn’t “New York City,” it only the “super” part of the rest of the city that provides it with a distinct political and economic advantage over most other cities. The 7.5 million residents of the rest of the city work in factories, retail, shipping, etc.

    So Bridgeport, as such, cannot think in ‘New York” terms; it must think in “Bridgeport” terms.

    And if the city/downtown could support high real estate values at affordable tax rates, would the Post, et al., want to shed such valuable investments?

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