Reel Fun! City Hooks Bass Pro Shops For Steel Point Development

Bass Pro Shops

Let’s get this Reel Steel party started! Sunday afternoon, local, state and federal officials will officially announce Bass Pro Shops as a major anchor tenant for the Steel Point redevelopment area that has been 30 years in the making to revitalize the city’s East Side. Fishing, boating, camping, clothing, and a bunch of other stuff, officials will share details for a 150,000 square foot facility. This is huge news for Mayor Bill Finch and the city.

Steel Point
Officials project the opening of Bass Pro Shops at the Steel Point redevelopment area the winter of 2013.

Finch, Governor Dannel Malloy, Congressman Jim Himes, developer Robert Christoph and many others will assemble at the Steel Point site 2:30 Sunday afternoon to unveil the destination point that could lure others to the redevelopment area. City officials expect infrastructure improvements on the site will begin this fall.

The Bass Pro story

In 1971 young Johnny Morris, frustrated by the lack of tackle in local stores, rented a U-Haul trailer and took off across the country filling it with the newest premium fishing tackle he could find.

When he returned home to Springfield, Missouri, Johnny started in the fishing business with eight feet of space in his dad’s liquor store which became a popular stopping-off place for local and out-of-state fishermen on the way to the Ozark’s famous bass lakes.

A number of these anglers started calling when they got back home wanting Johnny to send them some of his specialized Bass Pro Shops tackle. In 1974, in response to this demand, he printed and mailed his first Bass Pro Shops catalog. Today, outdoor enthusiasts around the world look forward to opening the mail and getting their favorite Bass Pro Shops catalog, while many enjoy visiting and shopping

In 1978, Johnny introduced the first professionally rigged boat, motor and trailer fish-ready package. The Bass Tracker boat “package” revolutionized the marine industry. Huge boat showrooms are featured in every Bass Pro Shops store.

Bass Pro Shops today isn’t just fishing. It is an outdoor retail leader in hunting, camping, nature gifts, outdoor cooking, and much more.

From that simple beginning, Bass Pro Shops has become one of America’s premier outdoor retailers with destination outdoor retail stores across America and Canada, serving over 75 million sportsmen a year. Each store is unique and offers a truly unforgettable shopping experience–as close to the Great Outdoors as you can get indoors!

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  1. Could not have hoped for anything better. Malloy is turning out to be a hell of a governor for B’port.

    This must also be Finch’s dream attraction. For as bad as all the posters on this Blog say he is, Finch seems to be shaking things up quite a lot, and mostly for the better.

    1. This is good news. I like the fishing/boating/waterfront tie-in to Bridgeport Harbor. I think Bill Finch is doing a good job. We all need to get behind him with his and his team’s efforts.

      1. I don’t know if I would want to stand in front of or behind Bill Finch. Either way we’re screwed. I think they now spell Harbour like Barbour!

  2. Bill Finch doing a good job??? You must be joking!!! It took Bill Finch–what?–nearly five years to find a major tenant for Steelpoint. This was after years and years of promises by previous administrations who claimed they were “working” on Stealpoint. i want to see how long it takes for Bass Pro Shops to be shuttered and done. Really and truly, how many people are going to come to Steelpoint to shop at Bass Pro Shops? Steelpoint isn’t the Post Road in Westport or Darien–it’s Stratford Ave in Bridgeport!!!

  3. Although this is a positive for Bridgeport, what will the ultimate benefit to cost ratio be?

    How much in property and personal business taxes will this project generate? Certainly anything is better than nothing.

    My problem is all the years of Ballyhoo with 50-story condos and all the lost revenue in taxes, legal fees, eminent domain etc. is this will be another historic giveaway.

    1. Hey Billy Bob, I think Finch already beat you to the punch and has already made a video about fly fishing at Beardsley Park. I wonder if Bass Pro Shops sell Igloo units for winter camping and fishing. We only get about four months of good warm weather. A seasonal shop doesn’t stand a chance of great returns on their investment. Do an online search for camping and fishing equipment and see what results you get. Go around and look at the fishing piers and favorite fishing spots and tell me what you see. All I would need to do if I wanted to start fishing is go to Walmart for fishing or camping equipment and dig on my back yard for worms as the Illegal drugs/Bait and Tackle Shop in Black Rock shut down. At least Bass Pro Shops won’t take much business away from other Bridgeport businesses except for a few pounds of fish from the Fish Department.

  4. I actually think this is a top-notch resident for Steelpoint. It’s appropriate to the location, it’s not Walmart, and it could eventually end up as a kind of “destination” shopping experience. My hope is they do more with the venue. Stick a coffee shop or small restaurant over there and take advantage of use of a pier or build a nice one. Maybe it’s not optimal, but it’s pretty damn good. Well done.

    1. Hello Zena Lu, I couldn’t agree more. I am a camper and will definitely have a reason to shop there. Kudos to Finch and yes I will be behind this. This is too exciting. Perfect retailer for the site. The marina will also be built there. Finally everything is falling into place. We cannot be negative. Finch deserves credit for a job well done. Also give him credit for adding a new development director. I have always been optimistic and now I am super excited. For those who are not happy … Sad. Just plain sad!

      1. Whats happenin’ 134!!! So psyched to hear from you! Yes when I read this on the blog this morning it instantly became one of a couple of things that put a huge smile on my face today!! !This could be good. Really good! 🙂

  5. Bass Pro Shops already has an extensive saltwater catalog/inventory. Here’s where the Rumor Mill kicked in: some people think the striped bass of Long Island Sound originated in the clear lakes surrounding the Ozark Mountains.
    Billy Bob, can fish migrate?

  6. It is interesting there are state incentives for this retailer. Up until now the state has incentivized office and manufacturing jobs and stayed away from retail. In the case of Cabella’s locating at Rentschler Field, UTC incentivized that deal privately after the State decided to put the UCONN football complex there. For Bridgeport this is a very good announcement. Bravo to the Mayor and Governor! It is all about jobs, tax base and destination.

    Maybe the grocery store can now become reality on the East End’s former Carpenter Steel site now that SuperWalmart is not going on the Pointe.

  7. The relocation costs for PYC and MOVE are in excess of 6 Million Dollars! Plus whatever the buyout was for Hitchcock and Skip’s Harbor Hut!

  8. Just think of all the shopping traffic the Ferry Company will be able to deliver to this site from their newly proposed cross-harbor docks.

    Please! I don’ twant to hear any T-Berry Shuttle music from the Downtown crowd.

  9. What is the difference between this and Eastern Mountain Sports in Fairfield? EMS has classes, workshops and outdoor activities they sponsor. Finch makes it look like this will revive Pleasure Beach.
    Give me a break. How much has been blown on this project? How much in taxes will this bring in? Of course the Post did not report on any of this contextual matter.
    Don’t forget, our mayor was instrumental in this fiasco long before the five years he was mayor.
    Isn’t this “announcement” another one indeed! We love “announcements” here in Bridgeport.

  10. The more I read this blog, the more I think the posters have Finch derangement syndrome. Many seem to want the city to fail so Finch fails.

    For years, people have said “Walmart,” “Dollar Store.”

    instead, a premiere retailer is to be the anchor. Do all those posters who now look like know-nothings come on the blog and say “wow, great news, so much better than Walmart?”

    NO! They just come up with another reason why everything sucks.

  11. An acre of land is about 44k sf. The footprint for Steel, Harbor, Harbour and now Steel Pointe is 50 acres. The developer promised us $5 million and came up $4.5 million short with a renegotiated time value of money to become due in 2021 or 2022.

    Will the 150k sf building be strictly horizontal or vertical? How many acres of land will that require for parking surfaces?

    If the acquisition price is $5 million equaling 40k an acre then how can we bond for $190 million? These numbers don’t make sense and will cost us a lot of cents.

    Inquiring minds want and deserve to know!

  12. Does anyone know if we are talking about Steel Point or Steel Pointe? The white cement block wall across the harbor from Downtown boldly announces “STEELPOINTE HARBOR.” However, all writings refer to Steel Point.

    Just call me curious, or CURIOUSE.

  13. This is great news, definitely a big plus for Bridgeport. I just can’t comprehend all the negativity on this forum. It almost seems like some posters don’t want to see any progress in any form.

  14. What a waste of great, potential factory space (that could serve as valuable Bridgeport tax base and employ thousands of Bridgeporters, permanently, at living-wage jobs) …

    It’s a pity we don’t have the leadership in this city to put us on a truly sustainable, positive path to the future.

    There’s really nothing more to say about this silly idea except it will surely turn out to be another ploy to pour more city and state money into a location that is planned to ultimately serve as an addition to the Bridgeport “servants quarters” serving the tax base and lifestyle of Stamford/Greenwich/et al. at Bridgeport’s expense.

    1. Jeff. You really believe a manufacturing site on the water would be the best use of the land in this day and age? There is at least 1 million square feet of obsolete manufacturing space in this city. The waterfront is not where I would put a factory. Jeff, I am disappointed. We have waited for 30 years for this dream to manifest into reality. Did you imagine a luxury hotel next to this factory? Upscale housing? Wait, you just did not ever buy into the Steel Point plan? I think this is a perfect retailer to start the project. I just hope the developer has the ability to work on many projects simultaneously and not put one edifice there every three years. That would be sad. I want to see cranes everywhere. I want to see construction guys back to work as well as electricians and plumbers. Project managers, etc. etc. etc. I am so psyched I might stop down there on Sunday.

  15. So now, remember, there used to be a neighborhood here, now we have a shopping center … and remember, this is just an announcement. And that is a desperate departure from the promises made of New Urbanism, walkability, small shops, cafes. Hey, how much parking lot will there be? Not exactly a green development. The “creative class” will stay in that one part of Downtown, I hope. Chump change, but a certain few will profit. For the rest of Bridgeport, what IS this? I’m still waiting to hear: are they going to pay taxes?

  16. Without a doubt, the overwhelming number of people who post on OIB are full of hatred and vitriol. They come across as if they are rooting for failure just so they can say I told you so.

    Some of these people I know and they have not exhibited much success on their own part but are expert on everything involving the City.

    This is a very big start in a very tough economy. Can’t we just hope for the best until proven otherwise?

  17. Factory space? That would be a true waste of what is going to become a beautiful area. Bridgeport lacks for many things, but “factory space” is not one of them.

    “There used to be a neighborhood there.” True, but it is gone now. So unless you and Jeff get together in some “factory space” and build a time machine, the city is going to have to do the best it can with what it has in the present.

    People today are working hard to make this city better. During a recession, the downtown looks better, the parks look better, there are schools being built. Is it UTOPIA??? Of course not, but it is progress. Steady progress during a recession is a good thing.

    “Are they going to pay taxes?” Who cares? I hope they do. I pay a lot. But if it took a deal to get them here, SO BE IT. I don’t see companies knocking down the door to come here.

  18. 7/6/2012 12:00:00 AM – Mayor Finch, Governor Malloy to Announce Major News for Steelpointe Harbor Development

    Bass Pro Shops, nation’s largest outdoor retailer, plans to build store in Bridgeport

    WHAT: On Sunday, July 8 at 2:30 p.m., Mayor Bill Finch and Governor Dannel Malloy together with Robert Christoph Sr., of Bridgeport Landing Development, will announce Bass Pro Shops, the nation’s largest outdoor retailer, as a major anchor tenant for the 50-acre Steelpointe Harbor development. The public is invited to attend.

    “This marks a historic moment for the City of Bridgeport and Steelpointe Harbor. Bass Pro Shops’ investment in Bridgeport will create hundreds of jobs, generate new tax revenues and bring economic growth to the City. They are a proven brand that will generate interest and attract customers from throughout the region. Bass Pro Shops is committed to Bridgeport and we are proud to have them as a major anchor tenant at Steelpointe Harbor,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “I want to thank Governor Malloy and his commitment to broadening economic development and job creation in our state. We stand ready, willing and able to support this project and to work with the Governor’s office and the DECD commissioner to bring jobs to Connecticut,” Mayor Finch added.

    WHO: Mayor Bill Finch, Governor Dannel Malloy, U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal; U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, Robert Christoph Sr. and Robert Christoph Jr., developers of Steelpointe Harbor, John Morris, Founder Bass Pro Shops, state legislators, Bridgeport City Council members and other local, state and federal dignitaries. Also on hand at the event will be: Legendary anglers and television hosts Jimmy Houston and Bill Dance, along with Daytona 500 winner NASCAR® driver Jamie McMurray and PBR Professional Bull Rider Luke Snyder.

    WHERE: 495 Stratford Avenue, corner of Pembroke St., Bridgeport CT

    WHEN: Sunday, July 8, 2:30 p.m.

    The 150,000-square-foot outdoor superstore, equivalent in size to 4-1/2 football fields, is scheduled to open Christmas 2013.

  19. This is a strong first retail announcement! Destination retail has been one of the important components of the development of the peninsula. So is the 3000-foot public boardwalk that has all of the required permits in place. BPS attracts other top-shelf retailers. BPS isn’t like REI in Fairfield; not even close. BPS is the ‘Disneyland’ of outdoor sporting retailers; real destination quality.

    Given all the public money that has gone into the peninsula already, the yacht club and slips must be open to the public. Pequonnock and MOVE were private clubs unwilling to become public. As for the Oyster Company, they needed to be tucked under I-95. Who would want to walk around a 3000-foot boardwalk with shops and concerts in the plaza and be next to a huge pile of smelly oyster shells? Yes it’s expensive but so was the creation of Baltimore Inner Harbor and Boston Faneuil Hall.

    It is very sad several neighborhoods were destroyed on the peninsula to make way for fifty acres of job and tax generation. Urban Renewal will always leave a hurtful set of memories. Please remember, 2007 was the year when the City actually got control of the entire peninsula. It took the DPUC to order the condemnation of the seventeen acres UI controlled before the developer could be held accountable for performance. Therefore the last five years has been the crucial period for real focus on development which spanned the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression. So Sunday is a big deal!

    Floating the Tax Increment Bonds will be the next huge milestone to achieve. There is lots of infrastructure work that needs to be done on and under that 50 acres. The TIGER II money will construct the realignment of Stratford Avenue including the separation of the storm and sewer lines across the peninsula. Step by step.

    I will be there Sunday afternoon with a huge smile and lots of pride. Congratulations to the Mayor and Governor. Welcome also to David Kooris–a great time to take the helm of OPED! It is finally Bridgeport’s time!

    1. Probably wise, and if this were just the city at work maybe correct. Malloy doesn’t strike me as a clown though. I don’t agree with everything he does, but he seems like a ‘get things done’ kind of guy. That gives me a lot of hope for the project.

  20. It just occurred to me as I travel through the south, Bass Pro Shops always seem to be paired with a Walmart. Always right off of a major highway. Not necessarily a bad thing.


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