Finch Signs Land Document To Developer Of Steel Point For Bass Pro Construction, $1.2 Million For City

Transfer Signing - Finch, Pacacha, Simpson
Finch signs transfer documents to developer. At right, Associate City Attorney Ron Pacacha and paralegal Shakira Simpson.

UPDATE: Mayor Bill Finch has signed the property transfer documents over to the RCI Group, developer of Steelpointe Harbor, that now controls 12 acres on Stratford Avenue slated for construction of the Bass Pro Shops and other potential retail establishments. In return the city has received a $1,222,400 payment from the developer, according to mayoral spokesman Brett Broesder. The development to revitalize the East Side and East End neighborhoods was first proposed about 30 years ago.

The land disposition agreement between the city and RCI Group calls for payments to be made to the city based on performance measures.

“The development of Steelpointe Harbor is a game-changer for Bridgeport,” said Mayor Finch in a prepared statement. “Folks in the Park City have been waiting for this development for a long time, and it’s finally happening. This is a major step toward ensuring the construction of Bass Pro and other retail space, making this the biggest economic development project in the Park City since the industrial revolution.”

Bass Pro artist rendering
Rendering of Bass Pro Shops.

“This is a great day for the Steelpointe Harbor,” said Bob Christoph, founder of RCI Group, which is overseeing the development project. “We couldn’t be more excited to move forward and continue working to get Bass Pro Shops and other retailers up and running.”

Bass Pro Shops will be the first anchor commercial tenant as part of the decades-long Steel Point redevelopment area on the East End just across from Downtown. The mega outdoor retailer’s Bridgeport store will be approximately 150,000 square feet. Finch says Bass Pro is expected to start construction this summer for a scheduled opening in the fall of 2015.

Finch in Houston
Finch with Bass Pro representatives in the summer of 2012.

“This is a very exciting step forward on a project that will bring hundreds of jobs to Bridgeport residents, and additional economic opportunities for our city,” said City Council members Milta Feliciano and Lydia Martinez, both of whom represent the 137th District where the development is located. “Bringing Bass Pro Shops to our city is certain to attract millions of visitors from throughout the region to Bridgeport.”

Steelepointe Harbor, if the 10-year buildout is completed, will include nearly three million square feet of retail, office, restaurants, hotel and residential spaces including approximately 1,400 apartments and condominiums. Former Republican Mayor Lenny Paoletta first proposed the redevelopment area about 30 years ago.

The “Steel Point” name comes from the Bridgeport Steel Works that was located at the site.

The state has authorized the issuance of $22 million of tax increment bonds by Connecticut Innovations Incorporated, a development arm of the state, in support of the construction of a Bass Pro Shops retail facility and related improvements at Steel Point. The total project cost is estimated at $68.5 million–$22 million financed from the proposed sales tax TIF and $9 million for grant-in-aid funding to finance construction and infrastructure improvements that are underway.



  1. I am very excited. Duh, no surprise there. Congratulations, let’s see what a perfect mailer, Finch signing the documents finally after 30 years. The only comment I have to make regarding my favorite topic. I do not want to hear about only retail. There are retail developments happening in every city in the state. I want to hear about a shovel in the ground for a hotel, restaurant, convention center and upscale housing. Nobody wants to hear maybe. We need to make it happen during this upswing, not wait for the shovel to go in the ground when the economy is going to tank. We need to make a huge impact. Bass Pro is a perfect start and a great destination. Plans should be made simultaneously, connecting Steelpointe to the downtown and East Side through shuttles. This is a great day for Mayor Finch. This is a great day for Bridgeport. This is a terrible day for all of the anti-Finch crybabies on this blog. Congratulations to all participants who brought us to this day. Including past Mayor John Fabrizi and all the way back to Leonard Paoletta who initiated the original dream. I am happy Mayor Paoletta is alive to see his dream finally come to fruit after years of legal crap! Oh yeah, let’s talk about Joe Ganim, who really fucked this up and the city. Yeah, let’s let him run again–lolololololololololollolollol.

  2. How about where is the check RCI Marine is supposed to give the city for the property???
    The caption says Finch signs transfer documents but it does not say what if anything RCI paid. And based on what is being said I think the answer is NOTHING!!!

    1. Well, maybe it is time again for an in-depth exposé on Steelepointe. From a business perspective minus the fluff. Just how much has RCI put up of their own money? However, I still think this is a great day for Bridgeport. A landmark hotel on the site visible from I-95 would be a major magnet. That would be one of the pieces I’d like to see as well as attracting a headquarters building. There was a time when Bridgeport had all the banking headquarters. History can repeat itself. There was a time when Bridgeport was “The Place to be.”

    2. Walsh is right. Show us the money! What propert taxes are going to be collected on the raw land or this going to be another raw deal?

      Based on 5 million sales price for 50 acres we should be receiving about 1.2 million for this parcel.

    1. Nose,
      The City received and spent some Federal money to the tune of $11 Million for infrastructure improvements. Part of that process was funding the extra expense of putting utilities underground. City said UI pay for it and UI said City pay, or something like that and we heard no further. Folks today are saying the Mayor traded away the Solar Panel siting at Seaside Park for UI cooperation at Steel Point. No word on accuracy of such rumor or any details of who is paying for what. Wanted? You bet.

      A simple one-pager outlining the expenses for assembling land, legal, design, preparatory work, who has done the work and/or will be doing; for how much actual or budgeted and in what phase, by when; and totaling up the project revenue contributors would be helpful.
      A second one-pager might show what the annual revenues from taxes and fees will be and to whom they are paid, would also be helpful in addition to the extra expense required of the City. Will be ahead or behind when the project is finished in the year 21?? Time will tell.

      1. JML, the city had to match somewhere around $8 – $9 million to get that TIGER grant. Not the developer or the taxing district. They issued general obligation bonds to accomplish that. John, start with taking the properties by eminent domain, paying for the demolition of 150 taxpaying structures, add in the kickbacks and overcharges that occurred as a result of the Ganim corrupt activities, then calculate the lost taxes for decades, add in an estimate of the impact of the entire Bridgeport economy but especially property values in the East Side and East End AND the cost to buy/relocate two water-dependent yacht clubs AND estimate the cost to the city for the developers’ failure to perform specific development projects they alone are responsible for and I do not think you really want to know how much this failed project has cost the taxpayers in the city of Bridgeport. It would literally make you sick to your stomach.

  3. Steve, how big is that hotel if it is being built on capped polluted property?
    It probably couldn’t be more than three stories; five tops but the expense would make it barely affordable.

    1. Bob any Hotel or condo that is less than 20 stories will be pathetic. Sweeping views of downtown and the harbor will be magnificent. The 15th floor at 10 middle st. Will attest to that
      I think any architectural rendition showing any high rise less than 20 will be a joke. Where is your vision Bob. Bridgeport needs to alter the Cityscape . Stamford, your city city about to Enter the game. Land is limited and Steelepointe is a blank canvas.

          1. Steve, the higher the building the deeper the footings. The deeper the footings the more expensive the construction. The more expensive the construction the more they charge for rooms. And for what? A view of desolate impoverished downtown B’port! People can call this negative but it is the truth.
            Now Steve, add to it they are building on polluted land on the waterfront and the cost of construction probably doubles.

  4. This just in. An unconfirmed rumor has it Scott Hughes has filed his candidate committee paperwork today. More to follow once Lennie wakes up in the AM.

    1. Unless you are a developer or vendor and then you are privileged and thrilled to attend fundraiser after fundraiser for Finch’s new PAC.

  5. Side bar.. RuuThai kitchen , the Thai restaurant on Beechwood Ave. Has caught on. Food is excellent. The best Coconut chicken soup and Massaman Curry. Enjoy!

  6. Kudos to mayoral spokesman Brett Broesder for putting a million dollar pricetag on the mayor’s signature and spoiling the rumors perpetuated by a former City Councilman.

    1. Apparently you don’t know much about Bass Pro and their products … this isn’t a market for them.
      And it’s been about 50 years since Bridgeport has been anything but a dumping ground with the Democrats milking this city dry of its assets and leaving Bridgeport virtually bankrupt.
      Why negativity? Simple, my business had to move out of Bridgeport in 1988 as there was and has been since no reason for anyone to do business downtown. The only reason to go downtown is to go to court. And you don’t go there unless you’re a lawyer, criminal, on jury duty, or are lost.

      1. Bob, I go camping at least four times every summer and look forward to going to Bass Pro. As far as downtown, I am sorry your business had to move out in 1988. My family moved to the North End in 1967. We were surrounded by 100’s of acres of woods in Baker Firestone’s first condominium. Downtown was a ghost town then and over the past six years housing and restaurants have been opening. To deny there has been a renaissance is just your desire to see all efforts fail. You suck the life out of the room. I go out of my way to support downtown. The Star of Istanbul, Ralph and Rich’s, Bare, Tiagos, Two Boots, Barnum Pub, City Lights art gallery, Housatonic art gallery, Bijou Theater and the Downtown library just to name a few. Downtown needs more consistency with the Arena. Ralph and Rich’s is always busy and they continue to be after the new Marina Village construction. After a few parking garages and 1000 units of housing I expect more life. I always find it sad I never run into anyone from this blog or anyone from the political scene or anyone who works in City Hall. That is a very sad commentary, all that support on a substitute teacher’s salary. There is great humor there somewhere. Bottom line, the City will not be able to survive with one little project every year. Btw, Forecourt Thompson’s new renovation of Mechanics and Farmers is looking good. For all the businesses that have taken their chances on downtown, thank you. That beautiful grocery store did not make it because there were 1500 housing units before their time. VERY VERY SAD. The gorgeous Arcade empty but I believe it will come to life. The only person on this blog I ever run into is John Marshall Lee. Everyone else is hiding under a rock and this includes the members of the Democratic town committee and mayoral hopefuls. The lack of presence is painfully obvious. Downtown could really use a little more cheerleading and a lot less negative BULLSHIT.

        1. Steve,
          Mary Lou and I try to spend our money in Bridgeport. On Friday night we were able to find a table in a nearly full ‘A Vuchella Trattoria. We had enjoyed Épernay in its run here and lamented its passing. However, things change always and we adjust.
          We enjoyed a bottle of Italian white with our meal. Last evening returning from Greenwich, we stopped in Norwalk, BarSugo, that was jammed, but we got a place at the bar. Reflected on their Wine List was the same wine, but the bottle cost $6 more. A sign of value in Bridgeport? And the service at the Trattoria is enthusiastic and that is good as well. We’ll be back.
          Lennie, why not ask readers about their three best Italian, Family style, Southern, Jamaican or other island cooking, Brazilian, Diners, Hot Dog stands, Thai, Viet or Chinese food. And please don’t forget the Irish Menu offerers. We have it all. Let’s update the changing palate. Time will tell.

          1. JML, thank you for the positive feedback on the new restaurant. I also went to ÉPERNAY, always running into Phil Kuchma. I give him credit for patronizing his tenants. The most extensive wine list I’ve ever seen from better days was Capital Grille in Stamford. Their steak is awesome and they wait on you as though you were royalty.

        2. It is good to hear about your camping. Where do you currently get your camping supplies? Cappy & Son And Daughter, Modell’s, Mister Sports, Arctic Sports Shop, Sports Sports, Yeremi Sports, Orbit Marine, Seaview Ave Fish, Ski Eze, Bridgeport Shooting, etc. The list goes on but I hope you get the point. What is to become of these places? With what the city kicked in, Bass Pro will be well positioned, with taxpayer help, to sell for a number of years at below cost. Drive all these places out and become a monopoly. Then raise prices. This is why I do not support these kinds of government interventions. They give Bass Pro a more unfair advantage than they already have.

          1. Arctic Sports and Modell’s do not carry camping stuff. I have most of my stuff from out of town, Internet, Walmart, Home Depot, etc. etc. Tents, tarps, grills, coolers, stoves, knives, hatchets, etc. etc. etc. Competition is a good thing. I worked at Home Depot for 11 years and I shop there four times a week. It works for me.

      2. Bob, apparently you don’t know much about Bridgeport–this isn’t a market for you.
        Fifty years ago America started deficit spending to pay for things like Medicaid, Medicare and the Vietnam war. In the process, we priced ourselves out of our own markets. America never lost its appetite for manufactured goods. We just lost our pricing power. This has been bad news for Bridgeport and the mayor is trying to reverse that direction.


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