Development Chief Tom Gill Touts City Project Progress

Steelpoint rendering future
Rendering of future Steelpointe Harbor expansion East Side.

What’s the state of city development? OIB asked the Director of Economic Development Tom Gill for an update on ongoing projects, timeline and investment. They include the next phase of the Steel Point redevelopment area, housing and retail on the East Side and West End and an advancing mixed-use project that includes apartments, comedy club and beer hall Downtown on State Street. He shared the following covering projects in several city neighborhoods, some that began under the administration of Bill Finch and others advancing in the last year under Mayor Joe Ganim.

In preparation for the City’s meeting with the Rating Agencies, two weeks ago, OPED prepared an exhibit of public/private projects that are approved and funded, and are either currently under construction or will be under construction in 2017. The list has twenty (23) projects which total $1,024,150,000. These projects encompassed the East Side, East End, West Side, South End, North End, and Downtown. Some of these projects are:

Cherry Street lofts/Charter School (Corvus Capital): This is a $71,000,000 project that will re-purpose multiple older industrial properties positioned between 1-95 and Railroad Avenue, to include loft apartments, charter school and retail. The City just assisted the developer with State Bond approval for CHFA funding of $55 million. A Closing, property transfer from the City, and construction expected to take place in November.

Steel Point: Developer has advised that the Bulkhead, Harbor walk, and infrastructure currently under construction will be completed in 2017. In addition, on the Peninsula property construction will begin in early 2017 for a 35,000 square foot waterfront marina office, restaurant building; a 40,000 square foot retail, 2-level parking garage; a 140 unit, market rate residential structure; and a seven story 125 unit hotel (approximately $62,000,000 investment). On the Seaview Avenue Plaza Site, BLD (Bridgeport Landing Development) will begin construction in 2017 for 150,000 square feet of retail, which will include a 44,000 square foot grocery store, a movie theater, restaurants, and a family amusement/restaurant facility (approximately $30,000,000 investment).

Crescent Crossings Phase I & II (JHM Group and Richman): 181 new 1, 2, and 3 bedroom, mixed income, apartments in the East Side. Phase I complete and fully rented. Phase II currently under construction ($75,000,000 investment).

PSEG GasPower Plant: $550,000,000 new natural gaspower plant to replace the current coal burning plant. Construction to begin in 2017.

Downtown Projects:

Security/Harrel Building (Spinnaker). 113,000 square foot redevelopment. 56 apartment units and street level retail space. Currently accepting residential and retail tenants ($11,000,000 investment).

The Jayson-Newfield Building (Alembic Development). Expect closing on financing and property transfer in November. Historic renovation into 104 apartment units and 8,000 square feet of ground floor retail. Remediation and demolition underway ($37,000,000 investment).

McLevy Square Historic Renovation (Forestone Capitol). 60,000 square foot mixed use project, which includes 32 apartment units, a comedy club, and a German beer hall. Construction underway ($18,000,000 investment.)

Barnum Station: The City is currently completing its portion of the design phase, which will then be passed into the State Department of Transportation for their portion to be completed.

Gill issued this statement:

“I am extremely optimistic about the development that is currently underway or will be starting in 2017. We also have a number of exciting development and infrastructure projects in various planning stages. A strong working environment exists between the public and private sectors, and we look to expand that environment further in order to leverage even more significant public and private investment.”



    1. My thoughts exactly. The Finch Administration, with David Kooris at the helm of OPED, put plans on the books for nearly every developable acre of land in the City, and had begun the waterfront masterplan process–a huge undertaking in its own right. The workload on this gentleman will never amount to much. His nearly literal job description: don’t mess it up.

      If he does decide to wake up and start doing something meaningful, I hope he focuses his energy on neighborhood planning. The City’s relationships with the various NRZs needs repair in a major way.

          1. Everyone in the City Administration, every single City Department, the ENTIRE City Counci, .IS WORKING FOR GANIM. As far as Governance goes in Bridgeport, you are either for or against Ganim (and Mario).

  1. Tom,
    Wow. Maybe if Joe had done anything about an Economic Development Director when he first took office, BRIDGEPORT might have had a shot at something like this. Did you hear about this?

    With the help of the state of Connecticut, “Connecticut Public Broadcasting to expand into Norwalk.” “The project would require $2.5 million in bonding from the state.”

    These are high paying technical jobs. But instead we will be happy with Bass Pro sales positions, hotel wait staff and movie theater ushers.

  2. The public television network would join NBC Sports, the YES Network and the WWE in the county’s marketplace of digital content producers, which have received millions in taxpayer incentives from the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

    These are good paying jobs going to Norwalk and not Bridgeport. Bridgeport needs to DEMAND MORE from the state.

    Other cities in Fairfield County know the value of long term state legislators but instead Joe and Mario dick around with our incumbent State Senators, two individuals who can help with projects like this, in order to play politics and pay no attention to the city’s economic development future.

    Do you think you can mention this to Joe when you have your next sit-down?

    1. Putting aside the sparkling personalities of Moore and Gomes, Democrats for Hammers and Garrett believe the Bridgeport delegation is better served when both parties are working on Bridgeport’s behalf. It’s the politics of progress. I don’t want Senators fighting for us, I want Senators cooperating for us.

  3. But throughout Joe’s campaign we were told re-electing the convicted felon would not negatively impact the city’s development future.

    Are we beginning to think otherwise?

  4. Tom Gill,
    Thank you for this presentation, pretty pictures and all. Can you provide a spreadsheet with the name of each project, nature of each, value of land and building at completion, info as to whether any special tax treatment or abatement is expected, and then what the assessed value at our current mil rate might provide for each year ever after? Other than property tax to the City, please list any other benefits (especially financial) that may be available. OIB readers in large measure are still reeling (not from Irish fiddle and tin whistle) from the tax increase. Where is the cavalry that will relieve us? And to what extent can we see this? Should be easy to show us, no? Time will tell.

      1. It may be fun to bet on any of these things, but this is not entertainment in my book. If Gill is working as a public servant after all his years in the private sector, this chart should be easy to create and educate the public with. Even Ganim2 should be able to use these numbers. Why speculate when you can KNOW? Time will tell.

  5. The only projects that matter are those billion dollar $chool projects. Everything else is small potatoes. Now you know why we have a city employee as chair of the $chool building committee.
    No conflict there and O&G as the no-bid contractor for all $chool projects. Right, Mario?

  6. Hello There Everyone, Consider this.
    All the above development was built on a TOXIC BROWNFIELD DUMP SITE. Be sure to order and wear your Hazmat Gear when shopping or strolling down the “Boardwalk.” Toxic and chemically rich polluted land was covered by “overfill and paving” (quoting the developer per CT State records). In all likelihood that polluted soil is well below the water table. In other words, continuing to leach TOXIC CHEMICALS and residue into the harbor and Long Island Sound. Personally, I would not consume any sea life in any form or proximity to Steelpointe. Any more than I would consume and digest any of the rhetoric flushed forth by certain players in the sewer of disinformation regarding this most unfortunate Delusion of Prosperity. Point being, use your head for more than a hat rack!

  7. There is a lot of stuff actually going on. Getting Anderson out of the way Downtown is progress. Tom Gill’s job recently was to make a good show that things are happening in order to improve the City’s financial rating. It was upgraded, subsequently. He did a good job.

    The Cherry Street project (reportedly to close in November) is wide open with stacks of lumber set up like a Boy Scout teepee campfire arrangement, on many floors. The building formerly with artist studios (in the same complex) went up and burned for days, two years ago. The firemen did not go in and sprayed water from the outside until the floors collapsed. With our current drought we cannot afford using all that water again, nor the expense and danger incurred by firemen, nor the prospect of this project going “belly up.”

    The theaters are also open and the Cabaret has props stored inside that would make it go up a la Train Station Fire 1978.
    Remington Arms: already up in smoke, now City-owned AND wide open.
    Jim Fox: correct. City approved school construction management to O & G with the % line left blank, later filled in with no Council approval. I have all the Council minutes if you want to verify and see people we know whose names are attached.

  8. Let’s face it. Tom Gill has done nothing considering the TOXIC fiscal/financial atmosphere now present in Bridgeport. As mentioned, ALL these projects were already on the books. Even if these projects start getting done, THE REST OF BRIDGEPORT ROTS. People are moving out. Properties are on sale at fire-sale prices. No redevelopment or rehabbing of hundreds and hundreds of individual housing properties. The new mil rate has created non-competitive and crazy rental prices. With the next recession (and that will happen) you may begin to see simple abandonment of properties.

    1. I would have to agree the East Side and East End are being more neglected than ever. Some very violent crimes are occurring in other neighborhoods such as lower St. Vincent’s, West End and Lakeview Cemetery area that are still decent neighborhoods. Housing abandonments and foreclosures are destroying landmark properties in the neighborhoods north and west of Washington Park. The NRZs are more ineffective than ever.
      The City should support the establishment of true grass roots community revitalization organizations such as were present 15 years ago. Neighborhood Housing Services offices in the South End and East Side were very effective and should be re-established, Bridgeport Neighborhood Fund and Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust have a monopoly and are largely negligent of the neighborhoods.

  9. No doubt the rating agencies must be provided with updates of active projects in Bridgeport. The PSEG gas-fired power plant may qualify as ‘development’ because it will contribute to the tax base and involves some employment. The other projects are taxpayer funded or subsidized. The housing projects reflect the use of subsidies that will result in the apartments being Section 8.
    When tax incentives were codified as an ordinance in 1992, development meant a contribution to the tax base and creation of jobs.

  10. Bridgeport: Also known as the Stamford Workforce Annex and regional economic refugee camp. Come see how Bridgeport is employing the latest methods of planned urban dysfunction and social-environmental exploitation.

    Looks like David Kooris had a chance to put the finishing touches on the Gold Coast/suburban coup de grâce of Bridgeport after all.

    In the latest City Hall “economic development” update, we see wonderful artistic renderings of the waterfront of a prosperous town that could be somewhere in Fairfield County. (But we drive past the mammoth Bass Pro box store and 15-acre parking lot, as well as small food stands, parking lots and construction debris piles from out-of-town projects.) In the report we read glowing descriptions of planned, self-contained little communities in old industrial neighborhoods that would fit well into a city of large area with a strong corporate/manufacturing jobs base (hence STAMFORD Workforce Annex). This type of tax-abated, city-services/infrastructure-dependent development doesn’t make any sense in Bridgeport, the grand-list-atrophy poster child. (We are land-rich in infrastructure-served manufacturing/industrial land; the sensible thing to do for the benefit of Bridgeport would be to reintroduce taxable, jobs-rich manufacturing activity. But that is not the REGIONAL agenda for Bridgeport.)

    We hear about transportation and energy infrastructure plans designed to serve REGIONAL needs while displacing high-value Bridgeport tax base. And we’re supposed to cheer.

    We read about $1 billion of planned new development (the tax-base devaluing, dirty, diesel-gas power plant doesn’t count, it is only replacing another existent, tax-base devaluing, dirty coal power plant). The $1 billion in new development is a tax-abated, taxpayer funded liability that no responsible, legitimate city administration would allow under their watch. That $1 billion represents hundreds of millions of dollars taxpayer red ink for city-funded, uncompensated services and infrastructure. Our residential tax bills will increase to fund this development. (Nothing was mentioned of the unfunded, taxpayer financed infrastructure for all the new Sacred Heart and Jewish Home for the Elderly buildings on Park Avenue in Bridgeport. Nor the Trumbull-based, Trumbull-taxed medical facilities recently constructed on our border.)

    It is obvious Bridgeport development is deigned to further strengthen the Gold Coast/suburban dominance of the Fourth District/Fairfield County by furthering the exploitation and socioeconomic distress/political dysfunction and helplessness of Bridgeport.

    Stamford/Malloy had a friend in Bill Finch. And how would Dan Malloy and his Gold Coast/suburban cronies describe Joe Ganim. A “good old boy?”

    Next we’ll see David Kooris back in his old City Hall office.

    Nothing but old, recycled, Finch Administration propaganda and bad news coming out of the G2 City Hall after a whole year.

    Bridgeport: one step forward, a giant leap behind.

    Utterly disappointing and disheartening.

    Way to go, Joe!

    1. Jeff, I agree with you that our region is suburban-centric (hopefully Downtown development is changing that), but I do think the upper Park Avenue development is great for Bridgeport although what you say about associated services and infrastructure provided by the City is true.

  11. Bob: Pray tell; how is the upper Park Avenue development good for BRIDGEPORT. Our services are being pirated–BIG TIME–and our neighborhoods are being destroyed by traffic and SHU brats. The university is a blight on the region with no mission and lots of money, a dangerous combination. It is a $ operation run for the benefit of a gangster administration and to elevate and sanitize the profile of the scandal-defamed Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport and the elite BOD. They are a huge problem for the city and the region, not an asset.

    No, Bob. At this point, I see the Park Avenue development (medical facilities) as nothing but a parasitic, disruptive presence for Bridgeport that could have been located elsewhere, perhaps on the old GE property near Bridgeport hospital. SHU should have done something such as purchasing the Hubbell property (that UNH wisely purchased) to relocate to a more commodious location. The Jewish Home and medical offices in the 5000 block should have gone into part of the GE property near Bridgeport Hospital, or perhaps the Remington property on Seaview and Grand, a much better fit for everyone concerned.

  12. And Bob, the downtown development isn’t happening. It’s still just talk. The essential, taxpaying, jobs-creating retail/commercial component of the downtown redevelopment isn’t happening, and it won’t happen until there is disposable income in the pockets of the populace of Bridgeport. The emphasis on residential development as the saving grace of downtown is misguided. Downtowns developed to serve the surrounding populations of cities. We’re doing things backwards. Yes; a small “downtown” neighborhood with a symbiotic relationship to the downtown amenities. But to emphasize residential development over retail-commercial-hospitality development (to the extent of crowding out the latter) is just stupid. This downtown redevelopment scheme is just that. It is a scheme designed to serve certain connected developer-investors at Bridgeport taxpayer expense.

    The way development has gone in Bridgeport and on its borders is highly indicative of a corruption-dominated regional scheme/plan.

    Things are smelling worse and worse in Bridgeport.

  13. Hey Jeff,
    I just logged in and saw your two extensive replies. I won’t read them tonight it might take me two days but I appreciate you and will read them and reply.

  14. Okay, Bob. It could take a few minutes to wade through that commentary. (When SHU was a commuter college and served the needs of local people and acted as a good neighbor with a stake in our community, I was very pleased they were here, serving as an educational and cultural asset for the area. And they reflected well on the Diocese and the members of our area community serving on their BOD. Now they have morphed into an institutional Cyclops catering to a student body consisting of mostly obnoxious, spoiled dolts who happen to have parents with money. Despite their significant monetary assets, they provide a second-rate education to mostly third-rate students. There are some excellent, serious students there, but they are eclipsed by the spoiled dolts who pollute our neighborhoods with their spoiled-brat drunken/drugged presence. The other Park Avenue development isn’t particularly well-placed or beneficial to our community. It is a huge drain on the taxpayers and is disruptive to the neighborhoods.)


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