On the 2015 campaign trail, Joe Ganim criticized a Finch administration tax deal involving an East Side development that was also rejected by the City Council. Ganim on Thursday announced his own financial arrangement with the developer that he asserts is a better deal for the city. It will go before the City Council for approval.
When the City Council blowtorched Finch’s proposed 35-year tax abatement last year, one vote that Finch had expected in favor was East Side councilor Alfredo Castillo. Finch, in a fit of frustration after the vote, grabbed him by the back of the neck when the council meeting ended. Ganim and Castillo had a playful exchange Thursday afternoon reminiscing about that sticking-his-neck-out moment.
More details on this from city Communications Director Av Harris:
Mayor Joe Ganim today announced a significant financial agreement that if approved by the Bridgeport City Council will clear the path for the second phase of the Crescent Crossings mixed housing development on the city’s east side. Mayor Ganim made the announcement together at the construction site with Todd McClutchy of JHM Financial Group, the developer of the project and was joined by several Bridgeport city councilors, members of the state legislative delegation, and Bridgeport Housing Authority Executive Director George Byers and members of the Housing Authority’s board of directors. As part of the agreement, the city will invest $1,250,000 in capital funds this year and $700,000 next year in improvements to the Crescent Crossings project, and the developers will forego their previously sought 35-year tax abatement that would have cost the city $8,000,000 in lost revenue over the life of the abatement. Instead, the $33,000,000 second phase of the construction at Crescent Crossings will bring the city an estimated $250,000-$300,000 (a year) in new revenue for the city.
“This agreement gives the east side of Bridgeport huge momentum for economic and housing development going forward and this is a great day for the city,” said Mayor Ganim. “Crescent Crossings will be a beautiful housing community and I want to thank the McClutchy family for working with the city to come to terms on an agreement that works for the city and its taxpayers and will be very profitable for these developers. This mixed use housing community is exactly the kind of residential development we want to see going forward and combined with the new train station on the east side it will be a very livable, walkable, desirable place to live!”
Developer Todd McClutchy said, “This is the second phase of a mixed-income housing development that will transform a once abandoned site into a vibrant, productive neighborhood that will enhance the City of Bridgeport while offering quality affordable housing to the entire community. We, along with our development partner, The Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport, would like to thank all of those who have worked hard over the past year to bring this exciting development about, including the Connecticut Department of Housing, Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and The City of Bridgeport, especially Mayor Ganim and his staff who have worked together with us over the last several weeks to finalize our plans.
In addition to city capital funds and their own private investment, the Crescent Crossings developers are also receiving significant state and federal funds including federal/state low income tax credits for developing affordable housing units. Two thirds of the 84 new units of housing in phase 2 of Crescent Crossings will be affordable housing, including approximately 25 former residents of public housing projects. As part of the agreement, Crescent Crossings must abide by the Bridgeport minority hiring ordinance and use project labor agreements for the hiring of workers. Phase one of Crescent Crossings for 93 units of mixed housing is under construction and should be complete by late summer 2016, with phase 2 set to break ground pending approval of the financial package by the Bridgeport city council. Planning for phase 3 of construction will begin later this year.