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City Council Members: What’s Going On Behind Curtain Of Theater Development Plan?

July 23rd, 2017 · 13 Comments · City Council, Development and Zoning, News and Events

Ganim, theaterdeveloper

Mayor Joe Ganim, right, chats with Exact Capital Group officials including Managing Partner Craig Livingston, backed by a “Coming Soon” marquee, at news announcement.

City Council members are considering a seven-page memorandum of understanding with New York-based developer Exact Capital to revitalize two closed Downtown theaters and a hotel as well as building three housing towers as part of a $400 million three-phase plan. A public hearing will also be scheduled. Approval by the council allows the city to hammer out a larger Land Disposition Agreement with the developer. Some councilors assert they should approve the LDA as well.

CT Post reporter Brain Lockhart has more on this issue:

A deal allowing a New York developer to rehabilitate a pair of historic Main Street theaters, an old hotel and to build residential towers on other prime city-owned land downtown is being called “simple and straightforward.”

It is so simple and straightforward that Mayor Joe Ganim’s administration–eager to move quickly on the project–does not believe the final contract requires the City Council’s review and vote.

Whether the 20 council members insist they have a larger role remains to be seen.

“I don’t agree with it,” said Councilwoman Milta Feliciano, a member of the contracts committee. “Bring the full contract in front of us. Give us a chance to read it. Then let us make a decision.”

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • Jimfox

    The Reverse Book of the Month Club?
    This is like Lennie sending you a bill for his new book, when payment is received book will follow.
    Pay Bill NOW!

    Nancy Pelosi “You have to pass it to know what’s in it”!

    Councilman Scott Burns, a co-chairman of the council’s budget committee, said, “It’s a big proposal and has a lot of ramifications. It would be prudent to have some more eyes on the agreement before it goes forward.”

    Fluck you Burns! You should have had your eyes on the Tax increase you gave Black Rock and the rest of this city!

    “I don’t agree with it,” said Councilwoman Milta Feliciano, a member of the contracts committee. “Bring the full contract in front of us. Give us a chance to read it. Then let us make a decision.”

    Ganim, Contract Committee pass it , “No more reviews”!

    It’s time to, Oust the the twenty Flucking Dumbo’s on the City Council NOW!

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Fox you have a very short memory or you are on the get paid list. Does the arena bring back any memories you asshole. You don’t pay taxes in Bridgeport anyway. This is a project that will never go anywhere with a developer with no back ground in finishing a project. They want the land a cross the street for free they could give a shit less about the shows. Wake up

  • Donald Day

    Bridgeport be very careful when you read shit like this, “It is so simple and straightforward that Mayor Joe Ganim’s administration — eager to move quickly on the project — does not believe the final contract requires the City Council’s review and vote.

    Secondly what expertise does the current group of city council persons have to read a complex contract and ascertain whether it’s in the best interest of Bridgeport. They need a second set of unbiased and completely neutral eyes to look this contact over, to again ascertain whether it’s in the best interest of Bridgeport. I don’t think Mayor Ganim had earned blind allegiance from the City of Bridgeport based on past practice.

    • Ron Mackey

      Don, the City Council has City Attorney Hamilton Burger standing on the side at council meetings giving them legal advice and telling them what to do the same way he does the mayor.

  • Mojo

    *** There’s a lot of money to be spent and maybe wasted if this nostalgic plan is a future bust! Is all of the investment tax dollars or is there some private funds involved in this project? Where would parking be available for this type of public venue? Especially in a downtown area that turns to a ghost town after 6 pm. Or are we seeing more bad investments just for political smoke & mirrors to use for bigger & better political advancement in the future? ***

  • Jeff Kohut

    I think that we all have to be realistic about Bridgeport’s redevelopment prospects for at least the near-term. We don’t have any — unless it’s more workforce housing for Stamford or a huge school that will be filled with kids that are nowhere near “education ready” that are from poor, stressed home environments, where the parents aren’t adequately available for their kids because of having to work too many hours for inadequate wages or because of other problematic issues.

    As we’ve learned form the Ball Park/Arena and Bijou Theater, et al — a city like Bridgeport can’t sustain development through patronage from the ‘burbs… The critical mass has to come from Bridgeport residents, and we don’t have enough residents with the pocket change to patronize the kind of entertainment that is being proposed. And we aren’t going to be able to repopulate our city with enough affluent, young (transit-oriented) residents who will want to spend their money in Bridgeport when they can hop back on the train and go to New York — or even parking-meter-less Fairfield for more varied offerings and more interesting/aesthetically-pleasing environments…

    Before Bridgeport can rebound on the hospitality/entertainment/retail front, we have to put $ in BRIDGFEPORT pockets with tens of thousands of living-wage jobs…

    Remember: The theaters were built to accommodate a prosperous city filled with prosperous working people with disposable income that could be spent for leisure activities… We don’t have now. There is no reason for any rational, legitimate financiers to throw money at projects like this in Bridgeport at this time…

    Our redevelopment approach is absolutely back-asswards and contraindicated…And with the state economy going down the tubes, it’s really all just pr BS that can’t happen… The only type of entertainment development that this city reasonably hope to accommodate now would be casino gambling… (Better than nothing… But we probably wouldn’t be allowed to have that… Down-county wouldn’t want their cushy situation disrupted…)

  • Bob Halstead

    Lenny
    Can you possibly get the 7 page MOU and post it on this site?

    A neutral committee with expertise should review this- not Anastasia or the Council

  • Coach T

    well, I have to admit , jeff is correct.
    So let me ask you Jeff, What do you think is needed? Please don’t say higher paying jobs because everyone knows that. What needs to be brought in here? I believe that Bridgeport need to put high end houses, condo,s etc along it’s water. Is Bridgeport the only city with beaches that have zero million dollar homes??

  • Jeff Kohut

    Coach T: The first thing that needs to happen in order for the social-economic revitalization of Bridgeport is the determination of our municipal tax-base needs going in to the future, calculated in the context of modest/moderate taxation of residential and business properties… (I did some cursory calculations in this regard in 2011, based on a 30-mil tax rate with a level spending extrapolated from Stamford’s budget applied to a Bridgeport population… I determined at that time that we would need about $13 Billion in new development to create a taxable grand list of about a $20 Billion taxable grand list (in the same area as Stamford’s, albeit with a higher tax rate…). This latter task would be accomplished pursuant to the creation of a comprehensive, detailed, long-range (visionary) plan of development that anticipates and makes provisions for technological, economic, and social evolutionary changes…

    In this latter context, the massive reconstruction of an interrelated Bridgeport tax-base/jobs-base can be planned and the first steps of implementation taken…

    Since jobs and tax-base – in that order — are the primary needs of Bridgeport, the first step of the plan would be the targeting of several diverse, but compatible industries that could exist as stand-alone or as synergistic industries serving a major, central industry with its own diversities and futuristic adaptabilities… This, I believe, should be the green-alternative-energy equipment industry. Bridgeport would create/develop, manufacture, and deploy such equipment as the first all-electric, grid-free/”free-energy,” energy-independent city in the world. In this manner, we would serve as a prototype – example – city in a market-creating manner… [The first market that we would develop/serve would (logically) be the huge NY-Boston Corridor market…]

    The development of an advanced-manufacturing jobs/tax-base, with high-value tax-base created in the context of the creation of industrial operations involved in the development/creation/manufacture of value-added products utilizing evolving, diverse technologies that could be applied by locally/regionally-trained Bridgeporters through the adaptation of our existing educational structures as technology- training and technology-development centers in cooperation with the aforementioned industries, would be the first part of our visionary, long-term plan to plan to be implemented…

    The planned accommodation of the creation/expansion of companion financial, retail, service, arts/entertainment/hospitality, medical, transportation, educational, et al., facilities/economic sectors would be incorporated into the comprehensive, long-range plan in the context of an anticipated rate of jobs creation per the creation of the various aspects of the, planned industrial development…
    We must keep in mind that we already much of what of needed to plan and execute Bridgeport’s revitalization… We have great “bones” to build on in terms of local workforce availability/workforce housing, transportation, education, medical care, services/construction, location/geography/geology, etc.… Many pieces of the Bridgeport redevelopment puzzle are already at least partially in place.

    What Bridgeport doesn’t have available to it is competent, sympathetic, functional, well-funded federal and state partnering… Indeed, these levels of government are players in the regional, elitist-serving conniving that renders Bridgeport a poverty-stricken, dysfunctional, hopeless place.

    This latter reason is why the very first step of Bridgeport’s revitalization might need to be a grass-roots effort to bring a casino “cash machine” to Bridgeport that is capable of priming our economic and political pumps to the extent where we can leverage state and federal cooperation in the implementation of the comprehensive, long-term, visionary plan. Without some real $leverage$, it is doubtful that Bridgeport can survive as a municipality long enough to implement any sort of grand, long-range plan… That is why a casino – the only type of viable economic engine presently (truly) interested in a Bridgeport location – is probably the only sort of survival mechanism/economic-political $leverage$ that can be accessed in a timely way that would allow for our survival and eventual economic rebirth…

    So that is the short answer to your question, Coach T! If you would like to discuss this further, my e-mail is JPKOHUT1aol.com

    (Thanks for the feedback, Lisa!

  • Frank Gyure

    I have a succint statement: This whole thing about Exact Capital/Majestic-Poli Theater’s(and Savoy Hotel and etc and etc and etc) needs to be slowed down. The City Council needs to do “Due Diligence” when it comes to any 400(and plus) million dollar proposed project. The People of Bridgeport deserve better than a hasty Thirty Day(give or take) review of this project.

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