Courts Approve Remington Property Agreement

Remington fire
Aerial of 2010 Remington fire courtesy of Morgan Kaolian

Lawyers for the city and developer Sal DiNardo have reached an agreement on a demolition and remediation plan, approved by federal and state courts, for the 28-acre former Remington Arms plant on the East Side that would include seven acres for a second city train station, according to the mayor’s office.

An ugly fire last August became a flashpoint for health and safety of East Side residents with representatives of the city and DiNardo pointing fingers over responsibility.

In the weeks after the August fire, emergency crews took down portions of the former manufacturing plant deemed an immediate health and safety threat, but the majority of the hulking structures remain. The price tag to demolish and clear the site will cost millions depending on the future usage.

Remington sold its Abrasive Products business and the Barnum Avenue site in Bridgeport to RemGrit Corporation in 1986, according to Remington’s corporate history. In recent years the vacated site has been controlled by a limited liability company led by DiNardo. The city went to court to enforce payment of back taxes on the property. DiNardo had the LLC placed into bankruptcy court.

Mayor Bill Finch wants a portion of the property for a train station. See details from mayor’s news release.

Court rulings allow progress on Remgrit demolition

Major progress has been made to address the condition of the Remgrit site on the City’s East Side.

In a recent ruling, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Bridgeport has allowed the City to move forward with foreclosure actions on the 812 Barnum Ave. portion of the former  Remington Arms plant – a 7.2 acre parcel on the south side of Barnum Avenue abutting the railroad tracks. The State Superior Court also has ruled that the City be allowed to foreclose on that parcel, and title to the 812 Barnum Ave. site has now vested to the City, and is planned to be used by the City as the site of the future East Side train station.

“This is fantastic news. We’ve been waiting a long time for this to happen,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “The judge’s ruling clears the way for these burned-out buildings, which have been a blight and a health risk to the surrounding neighborhood, and a danger to our firefighters, to finally be taken down. My administration is determined to keep pressure on the property owner to begin demolition as soon as is possible to secure these sites.”

In October, Mayor Finch joined federal legislators in announcing the award of a highly competitive $3.5 million HUD Sustainable Communities grant, a unique two-state, five-city partnership which will allow for the planning for a second train station to be built on the 812 Barnum Avenue site as part of a larger development plan for the East Side. The Mayor also will be meeting with the Department of Transportation officials and State Rep. Andres Ayala, chair of the Legislature’s Transportation Bonding Subcommittee, to request state funds to begin the demolition of the 812 Barnum Avenue site. In 2000, the City entered into a Memorandum with Sporting Goods Properties, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of DuPont, which has acknowledged its responsibility for certain environmental conditions at the property as a result of its ownership and operations thereon prior to 1986.

In addition, the Bankruptcy Court ruling will allow Remgrit to begin demolition on the parcel at 889 Barnum Avenue as soon as the state Department of Public Health approves its demolitions plans. Once the approval is in place. Remgrit has six months to complete demolition.

Further, the state court ruled that the delinquent taxes on the property at 1005 Arctic Street be released by the City after it is demolished, and the owner must begin immediate payment of current taxes as soon as demolition begins at that site.

The city will realize a net positive gain for the value of 812 Barnum Avenue and 1005 Arctic Street. The fair market value of 812 Barnum is $2.1 million, and taxes owed, including principle, interest and fees is $1.7 million; the fair market value of 1005 Arctic is $364,915, and taxes owed, including principle, interest and fees is $302,000.

The buildings once housed one of the largest munitions plants in the country. In recent years, the property has been the scene of numerous fires, the largest of which occurred late last summer and which burned for a week. At that time, Bridgeport Fire Chief Brian Rooney labeled the former ammunitions plant, “a menace to public safety.” Following that last major fire, various city, state and federal agencies inspected the site, and the city eventually condemned the property and called for the demolition of the old plant.

“It’s been a black mark on our City for too long and has put citizens, police and firefighters at risk.” said Mayor Finch.



  1. What is the early line that Finch cuts another deal with “Uncle Sal, the kiddie’s Pal” regarding this transitional agreement? What should clearly be claimed under eminent domain will be watered down where this political contributor walks away with millions in his pockets at our expense. BRIDGEPORT, get rid of these whores of Babylon. Pray for Bridgeport, vote for change. Please remember this posting, these whores are shameless.

  2. Cutting deals with tax cheats. Wake up Bridgeport! If Sal paid all the taxes owed to this city, there would be no deficit. Or at least a huge dent would be put into it. Only in Bridgeport indeed.

  3. By the way … did you know the city pays six figures a year to Sal to rent a building on River Street that houses a Police division? But he will not pay his taxes.


    This is not a win-win situation … Three years ago, Sal publicly was willing to give the City $3.5 million and promised to demolish buildings on his own … The Mayor and City Attorneys said no, because they were afraid of the negative media attack on a possible sweet deal for DiNardo … So, the City in their Neverland mind, said we want the $12 million owed on the property (8 million of which was owed before DiNardo took ownership) …

    So now the court says, DiNardo pay $1.7 mil, take down the buildings and give a piece of property to the city for a train station …

    The city then says they are going to seek bonding money to take down the buildings if the owner doesn’t …

    We could have saved a load of legal fees, got $3 mil and the buildings would have been demolished …

    This Administration is a bunch of BS …

  5. There are two winners who I am sure of. The residents living near this site, and the fire department, which will not have to put their members in harms way when these buildings finally come down. I am not sure if the city won on this deal or if DiNardo won. In either case Finch and DiNardo deserve each other.
    I have an idea, maybe Finch can take Curwen’s former job with DiNardo after he leaves office in November.

    1. tc,
      Only in Bridgeport! Why not trade one know-nothing suck-up for another? Curwen & Finch are cut from the same cloth. Both shanty Irish who will lay down with any master who will pay them. The day of reckoning is coming. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I hear a faint song from my youth …
      “See you in September” … … …

  6. My point is this could’ve been resolved 3 years ago, and the residents near the site and our BFD wouldn’t have had to deal with this crap! In those three years to now, there were four or more fires a year ending with last year’s hurrah …

  7. Without commenting on the merits of this deal, I love the idea of a second train station–should be a great boon to East Side development, and aid home vales in the entire area.

    1. The talk of a new rail station on the East Side is a perfect example of what is wrong with economic development in Bridgeport. It will take years, cost millions and probably have little economic impact. Worse, it makes no sense from a public transportation point of view.

      I f(and it’s a big if) the City has the money, there are far better places to spend it.

  8. Celia Cruz // Mar 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm
    To your posting

    Celia C,
    No, it could not have been satisfied three years ago if you are saying it would be a scenario with the same Mayor at 999 in the picture.

    He didn’t do it then, and he wouldn’t now. He never has approached any situation with an attitude of sensitivity to all the parties involved.
    This is especially pertaining to the residents living near the site.

    How insensitive this Mayor has emerged to be in office can only be measured by an extraordinarily long ruler.
    Day after day and year after year, it is the residents of this City who suffer the most from the abuses of the Finch administration.
    We need a candidate like John M. Gomes who has personal and professional experience with the City of Bridgeport Government as a Department Director, and who has seen how poorly Finch has treated this City, with only the select few who Finch and Mario agree will reap bounties.

    As Mayor, Gomes will have a priority on DAY ONE to build a renewal of trust with the 144,000 people of Bridgeport.

    1. Carolanne,
      Please take this advice as a friend. John Gomes is very fortunate to have you as a friend & campaign manager. However many of us here at OIB are beginning to wonder if Gomes is mute. He is seen but rarely heard. I admire your devotion to the cause, but I beseech you to encourage HIM to express his own positions. We all seem to find time during the course of the day to express our opinions, so should John. He has a much greater investment here than the rest of us.

      1. I agree with you, Antitesto. Neither Gomes nor MJF have articulated their positions personally. I’m tired of hearing from their spokespeople. I’m not voting for tc nor am I voting for the Tofu Tootsie. I’m choosing between MJF and Gomes. It’s cojones time. Let’s hear from the candidates.

      2. Antitesto // Mar 18, 2011 at 12:08 am
        to your posting

        Do you get all your political and philosophical positions from OIB?

        I’m surprised you would not know about the value of a candidate out walking and making very public appearances rather than a candidate sitting in an office …

        If you get out and about, or are even willing to make yourself known to John for a conversation, then do yourself the only favor possible and call him.

        1. yahooy // Mar 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm
          to your posting

          I’m not so sure you are the voting public. I do know you blog anonymously so this is not a candidate forum, but an anonymous blogger’s haven. I have suggested if you feel so strongly about wanting to hear from the candidates you have the choice of coming to coffee-hour meetings and listening and asking questions. Or you could call us at HQ and come meet John. That is if you are serious.
          It’s what I’ve done to know more about a candidate.

      1. Where is the meat?
        What are the bones of this campaign?
        As someone who never held elective position it is easy to say things like this but without specific proposals as to what he would do AND specific instances of what he has done it is all gobbledygook.

      1. I’m going to tell you this as plainly as I can. We, the voting public, are beginning to think your candidate has no political message other than what you profess. This could lead us voters to conclude if we do elect your candidate, we are actually putting you into that office. Because of you and his refusal to make public his plans, policies and goals, many discount his viability. Do yourself a favor.

  9. So who gets this train station from Ayala?
    Finch who half of his office has Ayala’s people in it or Gomes who is Ayala’s treasurer? How about Foster? She has Ayala’s wife working for her. Seems Ayala got a lot of people by the proverbial balls.
    Maybe this train station just becomes another STEALing Point?
    So where are the details of the Guman/Sonya catfight? Everyone seems to know about it.

  10. There is a better chance Steel Point will be developed than a second train station in Bridgeport.
    The only train that stops at the old Remgrit site is the Sal DiNardo express!
    I know I will not see a second train station in my lifetime.

  11. *** Train station on the East Side! Seeing is believing in Bpt, no? How about a large industrial parking lot for the next 10 years instead? *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  12. I thought plans were well under way to put a train station near BJ’s. Is there a need for one at Remgrit? I do agree putting a train station there would improve the surrounding community.

    1. yahooy, from what I understand that station is needed so the high-speed train can stop in Bridgeport. Presently it can’t stop because of a bend in the tracks as the train approaches Bridgeport station. The train station near BJ’s is the third train station in Fairfield.

  13. This. Is. Shit.

    The East Side deserves a fair crack at economic development like other areas of the city. That being said, it is blatantly clear ulterior motives are at play here. Regardless of the political underpinnings, a second train station on the East Side is a TERRIBLE idea. There aren’t a whole heck of a lot of NYC commuters who live in Bridgeport, unfortunately. What is the sense of putting in a second train station, when the “transportation” center downtown is poorly designed and in no way congruent with the overall vision for downtown revitalization?

    I would have no problem living in and taking the train from the East Side. The people with money, however (professionals that work in NYC and New Haven) aren’t going to do that, as sad as it is to say – if Finch and Andres Ayala somehow think this is going to help the city in anyway, OIB enthusiasts better check what city hall employees are smoking.

    1. This. Is. True.

      The only way a train station on the East Side will be acceptable to commuters and utilized is if there is massive parking space–FOR FREE. Key word: FREE.

  14. A new train station there makes sense. Would revitalize the area. There is a huge empty field right across from Remgrit across the tracks. Also makes sense to move the Ferry over there away from crowded downtown. Then, though it may seem shocking to some, start initial proceedings to take down the coal plant, and we will then be closer to actually using the port in Bridgeport. Replace the plant with a renewable energy site incubator.

    We ran a story on TV last Tuesday on the coal plant and also over recent weeks and have been talking about the mercury that is sent into the air. Yes, mercury, which you breathe.

    I guess we aren’t the only ones, since a national standard has just been set by the EPA a couple of days ago.


    Now, regarding Gomes. I heard his speech at the recent city council hearing opposing the latest non-taxpaying group home to be proposed, the one the city residents won with Voytek succeeding in opposing. Gomes made a statement but took no sides. I didn’t understand why he came up to the stand to even speak.

    1. Bridgeport Now // Mar 18, 2011 at 10:25 am
      To your posting

      Which Gomes are you talking about? Be specific. Not good at this time to just use the last name … unless you mean to do so for a purpose.

    2. The Gomes you heard speak was Ed Gomes not John Gomes and the mercury you are talking about is at acceptable levels.
      Let me ask you. What are we as a country going to use for energy and for electricity that is less costly and has a proven track record, not some of the pie-in-the-sky tree-hugger bullshit?

  15. A suggestion to Lennie. Let’s have an OIB party that invites local developers, architects etc. to come in and brainstorm with posters. We could talk about areas with developmental plans and some, that people in their field of expertise, believe can be better developed. You could also invite those considering a run for office or already in office. It would probably not amount to much more than conversation but then that’s what this is …

  16. Steel Pointe will never be developed as long as the coal plant is there. Stand there and see what the view is. Should have left that yacht club there. New EPA regulations, if passed, will close old coal plants … “emissions of mercury and other pollutants from coal-burning power plants, a rule that could lead to the early closing of a number of older plants and one that is certain to be challenged by the some utilities and Republicans in Congress.”

  17. Good morning to all my mates in class today!!!
    Rob is telling us coal plants are disappearing … probably to be replaced by nuclear? Maybe he has missed the news this week.
    By gas? Maybe the EPA will have something to say about water purity after de-gassification? By water-powered turbines (like Eli Whitney used in New Haven)? We might use the downhill energy of the sewage from Trumbull to power turbines? Maybe that’s a s – – – ty idea? What does that leave us? Oil? What’s the answer to that, class? And windmills? Powered by politicians trying to explain where we are really at today … what is the prevailing wind direction?

    I am assuming John Gomes and Jeff Kohut (and Charlie Coviello) and Mary Jane Foster et al. will be speaking when they are ready, don’t you? The anxiety from this politically astute group that they have not been speaking early to you so you can support or knock down their ideas is palpable. Evidence I see is they are walking, driving around the community, talking and importantly listening to what is on the minds of the voters. This week it is Japan nuclear, March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day and warm weather. September and November are way down the list. Admit it. Even for OIB junkies several of those are on your mind too.

    How long and for what reason will minds turn to 2011 elections? Let me suggest a local analogy. We all heard about the subject of Catholic clergy sexual abuse of youth in 2002 when the subject lit up the Boston papers. Some people organized to support survivor healing, support priests of integrity and work for structural change in the Church. Bishop Lori went to Dallas and with fellow Bishops came up with a zero-tolerance policy, a 3-hour class on spotting predators, appointed a committee to oversee the subject and declared a Safe Environment, that the problem was solved.

    In the intervening time the open, accountable and transparent Church declared by the Bishop has not appeared that way to people in the pews. Many have walked away. Even those who have stayed have decreased contributions. The Bishop’s Annual Appeal failed to reach its goal last year. People were fired. The Diocese has failed to post even limited financial audits since 2008 of Catholic Charities, Diocesan Corp and Faith in the Future campaign. And the Bishop’s personal blog has been suspended for maintenance for about one year.

    Those are the facts. People see it. It seeps into their consciousness slowly that the authority of the leader has been cast into doubt. That he fails to provide information or answers in ways that are relevant or meaningful. That info that is covered may only share a partial truth and one that is not relevant to daily living. It is a difficult time for all.

    Well Bridgeport taxpayer voters are in the same boat. City revenues are problematic and taxes are not raised so how is that done? (When the answer is revealed to be smoke and mirrors trust erodes. There is a problem.) A rain barrel in your back yard does not make up for a vacant Steel Point. A library system that has the money to change (voted by the citizens and disparaged by the Mayor on tax bills), but not the Mayor’s OK to get new positions signed by City offices for over 8 months, leaves a bad taste in many mouths. ETC. ETC. Are there riots in the streets? No. People are leaving their “political pews” perhaps. Hard to determine how many, isn’t it? But primary day and then election day will be our “wholly” days this year. If enough people come to the polls asking for the whole story of where we are and what to do about it, there will be a change of leadership, of strategy, of personnel at the top and even maybe to practices of open, accountable and transparent processes.

    So most people have a limited attention span. And it would seem those in the current running are going to research the facts from many sources and deliver the real news when it is timely. When it can get the attention and commitment of people who have not previously come to the polls in a while. And it does not take too many of those to make a critical difference. Tell me where I am wrong …

  18. Almost forgot a call for an OIB poll last night asking who I would vote for using different candidates’ names against Finch. There were a few other questions about condition of the city and its finances. Can’t wait to get the results.

  19. I am in agreement with having another train station. The problem is it would look like a whistle stop from my favorite movie “High Noon.” Has anyone in economic development given any thought to make it be a destination point? We tote the banner of being the transportation hub, people travel through here but never stop here. Why can’t we have a development like Clinton crossing? That is a destination point which generates millions in revenue. Steelpoint could be made up of many smaller successes. The dream of one mega development is just that, a dream.


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