Crane Sighting, Steelpointe Harbor Goes Vertical On East Side. Does Bass Pro Oversell Economic Impact?

Bass Pro vertical
Crane assists with walls for Bass Pro building.

UPDATE: Includes link to Hugh Bailey article. Redevelopment of a troubled area of the East Side has been more than 30 years in the making and the project still has its share of cynics, but something happened on Thursday that never occurred before: vertical construction.

Bay Crane began erecting walls for construction of the mega outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops, the anchor tenant for the project that also includes a Starbucks and Chipotle in the first phase of construction. Developer Robert Christoph Jr. says all three will be open for consumers in the fall of 2015.

McCarthy, Martinez, Christoph, Finch
Mayor Bill Finch, front, developer Robert Christoph Jr. behind him, joined at left by City Councilwoman Lydia Martinez and City Council President Tom McCarthy on redevelopment site Thursday.

In 1983 Mayor Lenny Paoletta first proposed the Steel Point redevelopment of the East Side, in close proximity to Downtown, along the waterfront. Former mayors Joe Ganim and John Fabrizi through eminent domain clearance and project developers moved the ball down the field to help make the site ready for construction. But not until the beginning of Mayor Bill Finch’s eighth year as chief executive has the site gone vertical through tenant attraction.

“It’s a great day in Bridgeport to see vertical construction happening at this site,” said Finch in a statement. “After decades of broken promises, it’s finally happening. Steelpointe Harbor will serve as a major boon for the city’s economy with Bass Pro Shops serving as the site’s flagship store. This is further proof that Bridgeport is getting better every day.”

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22 comments

  1. Mayor Finch would certainly know something about “broken promises.”

    The main purpose of commercial development is to generate tax revenue to offer tax relief for local taxpayers. There should be a financial benefit to the developer and taxpaying citizens. It should not be one-sided.

    The State will certainly see tax revenue generated in the first 25 years, however Bridgeport’s coffers will see almost nothing.

    Bringing 150-200 minimum wage jobs with Bass Pro, Chipotle and Starbucks to Bridgeport will not even come close to offering residents a living wage. A recent study showed the correct living wage in CT should be $19.00 per hour.

    In addition, allowing a racist and discriminatory company into Bridgeport and then placing it in the communities with the largest minority populations is just an absolute insult. According to the 2010 Census results, Bridgeport is over 80% minority.

    1. Would you rather have minimum-wage jobs or no jobs? Imagine if UBS or Bridgewater relocated to steel point instead, there would barely be anybody from Bridgeport working there. It’s a fact residents of our city don’t obtain higher education degrees and therefore would not be able to work at something other than LOW wage jobs.

      1. OlofsonD, you stated “It’s a fact residents of our city don’t obtain higher education degrees and therefore would not be able to work at something other than LOW wage jobs.”

        For the record, I have five siblings who attended the Bridgeport Public Schools and only one of us has a two-year college degree. I have managed upwards of $26 million dollars in annual sales and have had as many as 62 employees reporting directly to me. Three of my brothers and sisters have served in executive/management positions throughout their employment history and have earned as much as $80,000 annually. One has never served in an executive/management position, however she served as an executive secretary for over 29 years and has earned as much as $60,000 annually.

        My cousin graduated from the University School, which is an alternative high school in Bridgeport, and he does not have a college degree and is a millionaire.

        Your comment is rather ignorant and it is most definitely offensive. Do not paint people with a broad brush.

        1. Without a doubt there are people who obtain higher educations, but the majority do not. Compared to suburban communities, the city residents are way behind in terms of education level.

        1. Day, if you checked what I wrote you looked in the wrong place . Check the 2010 census track, if you don’t understand it I will be glad to explain it to you.

        2. Day, I took my own advise and rechecked my numbers. I unfortunately used 2000 numbers when I should have used 2010 census track numbers, which are 38.51% are white in Bridgeport. This is where I got the numbers.
          censusviewer.com/city/CT/Bridgeport

          Day, if you want to really read some prejudiced shit that is just that, shit, read your own racist posts.

          1. Andy, re-check your own link. The top table does not list “Hispanic or Latino” anywhere. It just lists “other.” Many of those identified in the “White Only” columns are Hispanics because “Hispanic or Latino” is not listed in the table at all.

            If you go to the table directly beneath the table you are referencing, you will see “Hispanic” as 38.20%. If you add every race listed in the top table and add in the Hispanic column it totals 120% which is impossible, therefore your statement that 38.51% of Bridgeport’s residents are White is false.

            The specific data I listed is from 2010 Census data, which totals 99% because I did not include Pacific Islanders and other which were very small percentages.

            Donald, if you look at your link it specifically states the data was gathered from a variety of sources including news articles, census data, etc. Your figure is certainly much more accurate than Andy’s.

  2. There are so many press events these days. Every Day!!! Do these folks do anything else besides stand in groups in front of cameras? Why don’t they hire penguins?

  3. Lennie, thank you for inserting Hugh Bailey’s story, which provides some balance to the drivel from the ministry of public enlightenment. In a previous story, he pointed out development south of Stratford Avenue on the peninsula will be more difficult. The pattern of Bass Pro projects is disturbing, with mostly taxpayer financing. I think the deal suggested by the Lenocis was better. Bridgeport mayors need to make lemonade from lemons, but coverage like Bailey is doing is not cynicism, it is reality, something other media outlets don’t see a need for.

  4. In today’s CT Post there is an article on Steel aka STEAL Point. I especially enjoyed how Johnny Morris CEO diminishes people to numbers, i.e. “tons of people.” Also the article states about Bass Pro being a economic and revitalization proponent “It hasn’t always worked out as planned elsewhere.” “Bass Pro stores do draw shoppers, but economic development and revitalization OFTEN do not follow, and cities are left to deal with the consequences of the sort that they were trying to avoid when they subsidized Bass Pro’s entrance, such as vacancy, blight and fiscal duress,” they have “… A pattern of turning away minorities looking for jobs …” and finally “… Bass Pro’s design discourages shoppers from visiting competing businesses located in the immediate vicinity. THEY TOOK PEOPLE’S HOMES FOR THIS.

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