From the 16th floor of the 10 Middle Street high rise Downtown overlooking the East Side, Mayor Bill Finch and project developers announced on Wednesday Starbucks and Chipotle as the latest additions to Steelpointe Harbor joining Bass Pro Shops, the first announced anchor commercial tenant under construction, in the long-awaited redevelopment of the East Side.
This will be the first Starbucks in Connecticut’s most populous city.
Bass Pro, the national retail chain’s Bridgeport store featuring boats and outdoor supplies will be approximately 150,000 square feet when completed. Project developer Robert Christoph Jr. announced at a Wednesday afternoon news conference that construction has begun for Bass Pro with concrete scheduled for pouring next week. He added that construction for the newly announced tenants will begin in two weeks with a completion date for next fall.
“The positive change is happening,” announced Finch. “The Bass Pro foundation is going in … this is a big win for the city. Bass Pro, Starbucks and Chipotle, we’re building a future here. Job creators around the country are looking at Bridgeport.”
State Senator Andres Ayala recalled the days 18 years ago when he served on the City Council voting to approve eminent domain action to secure the site for redevelopment.
“The sacrifices are paying off,” said Ayala who helped secure state funding for the project, adding the project has had many cynics because of the decades-long delays. “Is it ever going to happen? It’s happening.”
“Starbucks is a message that Bridgeport is a place people want to be,” said City Council President Tom McCarthy.
Christoph added that “These tenants now see Bridgeport as a destination.”
Financed with the aid of an $11 million federal grant, infrastructure improvements currently underway include a fully reconstructed Stratford Avenue, East Main Street, Pembroke Street, and Waterview Avenue as well as underground utilities and a base ground elevation that brings the peninsula outside of the floodplain, according to city officials.
Fully built out, Steelepointe Harbor is a 2 million square foot waterfront development project located adjacent to I-95, that will feature more than 750,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and entertainment.
In July, Finch signed documents completing the property transfer for the first phase of retail space at Steelpointe Harbor. The project’s private developer, Bridgeport Landing Development, now controls the 12 acres of land to the north of Stratford Avenue needed for the construction of Bass Pro Shops and other retail establishments.
Steelpointe Harbor has been broken out into four phases of development, according to officials. The first phase of development includes everything north of Stratford Avenue with a retail focus. The second phase includes everything west of East Main Street, a mixed-use development including retail, hotel, and residential. The third phase of development includes the south side of Stratford Avenue and east of East Main Street, also a mixed-use development phase including hotel, office, and residential space with retail on the ground floor.
Officials emphasized that more than one million people live within a 30-minute drive of the development with an average household income of $122,000. The development also includes Long Island in its trade area serviced by the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company that transports 800,000 passengers annually. The ferry service will be relocating from a Downtown terminal to a site adjacent to the eastern edge of the project. Ferry officials estimate an increase in its ridership to more than 1.4 million passengers within the next few years.
The Steel Point development area was first proposed by Mayor Lenny Paoletta in 1983 and has languished through a variety of developers and proposals.
Overall, I think this is good news if this comes to fruition. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and we can celebrate when (1) it is built, (2) occupied by customers, and (3) is sustained over several years. Many of Bridgeport’s downtown establishments have only been vetted by point (1) but not (2) and (3).
If this comes to fruition, then this would be great news. Bridgeport has been jaded by negative media and perceptions, particularly as it is located within Fairfield County, one of the richest counties in the nation. In some ways I find it interesting that having popular establishments such as Starbucks and Chipotle are one of the mechanisms by which we begin to erode negative perceptions of Bridgeport. But in some ways it simply erodes our image by demonstrating Bridgeport too can have similar establishments as Fairfield, Westport, Stamford etc. There is no doubt this is a necessary first step.
However, I hope in years to come Bridgeport’s branding does not solely rely on popularized establishments, but rather uses this as a vehicle to then leverage Bridgeport’s rich diversity and the myriad of ethnic cuisines in Bridgeport. Bridgeport has over 70 languages spoken within its schools, and a rich array of Thai, Vietnamese, Jamaican Vegan, Puerto Rican, Southern style, Colombian, and Italian restaurants, to name a few. I think Bridgeport would be smart if it says “sure you can come here for Chipotle” but also come try our ethnic dishes. You don’t get this in the suburbs and people would come to Bridgeport to try exotic dishes. What makes cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago great are not just these popular restaurants, but the “good find” establishments that are sprinkled throughout.
Bridgeport–we need to brand ourselves as the “City of Parks and Diversity,” as the “Soul of Fairfield County,” as the “Rhythm of Connecticut.” We are a diverse city, and sometimes this is viewed as a deficit when surrounded by homogenous and wealthy towns. We need to flip this the other way around and allow it to be our branding and catalyst, we need to champion our diversity, which other Connecticut towns do not have.
Needless to say, this is welcome news. Nothing to get overly excited about. There is a Starbucks in Stratford in a mediocre plaza and a nice one in Fairfield.
If I am not mistaken, and I am not, I believe it was Jennifer Buchanan on this blog who let the cat out of the bag months ago regarding Starbucks and Chipotle. That being said, I was disappointed this announcement was not news to anyone on this blog. It was great news but not a significant announcement worthy of a press conference. I think Sports Authority quietly about to open in the North End is more newsworthy. Let’s hope Steelepointe has more exciting destination retailers to announce down the road. I’m thinking Capital Grille, an amazing steakhouse. How about a gorgeous two-story seafood restaurant on the water and I am not suggesting Bridgeport’s old tricks of moving one business into another location like Dolphin’s Cove. I remember an amazing seafood restaurant in Brooklyn, New York located in the heart of Sheepshead Bay, Lundy’s, now that was a real seafood restaurant.
I did–and reported on Bridgeport Now. Currently sitting in Harborview Market stealing cookies and plotting revenge.
Were they oatmeal raisin or the chocolate chip?
When Herman Wolf first came up with the concept of Steelpointe back in the early ’80s, he envisioned a large corporate office park reaching for the sky, with retail shopping on the first levels, walking parks with fountains and daycare centers for working families, banks and learning centers and employing thousands of people, hotels, a giant convention center and a large marina. A first class operation that would supply Bridgeport with jobs and taxes for the next millennium. Not a bunch of novelty outlets and fast-food joints that will close their doors in a few years.
Bridgeport will not see a dime from this Finch project until 2036, that’s if the City doesn’t go bankrupt first because of Bass Pro.
I just think of all the poor people who have been displaced by this scam, and sad to say it’s not over yet!
So hold on to your wallets, folks!
Mayor Finch looks so pathetic holding a press conference to announce Starbucks and Chipotle are going to open at STEALpoint. 95% of these jobs will pay minimum wage or less. Starbucks will have 4-6 managers/shift-managers and Chipotle will pay most of their staff less than minimum wage. Again, there will likely be 4-6 managers/shift-managers.
Does anyone think the mayors or first selectmen of our surrounding communities would ever hold a press conference for these additions to their communities?
I attended a Security Committee meeting tonight and Lieutenant Grech came in and purposefully started highlighting Starbucks and how it was going to draw visitors to Bridgeport. For those of you who don’t know him, he is quite petit and appears to have a Napoleon complex. He also appears to be very insecure and he reminds me of an Oompa Loompa from the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
MP, what’s next, Nino’s Italian Ice?
Saw this article in the Post.
Perhaps the city could look into this as another way to lure businesses to the area. Give them a favorable lease vs a tax break. A large portion of the Stamford/Norwalk workforce is from this area (and surrounding towns). I95 south morning commute has gotten worse over the years. We have open space Downtown–especially past the courthouse/Holiday Inn. It would take some time to upgrade the buildings, etc. But Metro North is right there, along with quick access to routes 25 and 95. Does not have to be the larger companies, target the mid-sized ones for now. Just a thought.
Will the East Main Street portion bring in the Hispanic business community?
Will they be paying taxes when they open or do we have to wait 10 years?
Thanks for asking a question that is reasonable and doing so using your own name.
I assume you are referring to the two businesses headlined in the article, Starbucks and Chipotle. As businesses that will likely be franchises operating as corporations or limited liability entities, if they are profitable, they will pay Federal and State income taxes.
They will likely be leasing space and so will not be responsible for property taxes as will their landlord. (However, that is of lesser importance inasmuch as a long term perhaps 30 year agreement will govern the property taxes of this Special District and it will use some 85% of such tax revenues to cover principal and interest payments to repay what has been borrowed. No financial relief to speak of for the long-suffering Bridgeport taxpayer!)
However, to the extent they have “personal property used by the business,” the valuation of such items is assessed and pays tax at the Mil rate.
It is this argument that has been partly used by the Finch administration to postpone the valuation for two years beyond the original October 1, 2013 date. You see, with “personal Property” subject to depreciation, but not volatile swings like real estate recently, a mil rate jump from 42 to 65 for example increases business taxes by 50% in one year. Imagine the outcry. And auto values are calculated every year in a “blue book” like manner so a slight loss in value, times a 65 mil rate also increases taxes for a large number. How does that sting if you are facing an election in early November 2015? But if you have the revaluation done over the next few months, have an election on November 6, 2015, and the revaluation data go out one week later, who are you going to blame? Fool me once? Twice? Ten times? Time will tell.
Maria Pereira sounds so pathetic using this blog to voice her disapproval of today’s event. Any elected official would gladly announce two new tenants joining the anchor at a 35-acre development that’s been dormant for years.
In an unrelated matter, I wonder when Bridgeport’s city charter was first started/approved/ratified.
Local Eyes = www .twitter.com/door24
It’s important to be vocal during the early stages of development. Mayor Finch is a qualified cheerleader for this project. Maybe fate arranged a meeting. Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Starbucks and I enjoy eating Mexican food. Neither of these choices were designed to be well-paying jobs. However, both are retail magnets. Get used to these kinds of meetings. Prepare for a tenant stampede because Steelpointe is underway and its final version is still unknown.
Local Eyes, you described these two additions to STEAL-point as “retail magnets.” I worked in management for a variety iconic retailers for 23 years. This includes Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s in Manhattan, Gap, etc. I am really interested in understanding your basis for claiming Starbucks and Chipotle will serve as “retail magnets.”
Local Eyes, in your town of residence Trumbull, has Timothy Herbst held a press conference for any of the Starbucks openings? What about in Fairfield? Do you realize these additions will not generate one dollar in municipal tax revenue? The point of development is to generate revenue to reduce the burden on local taxpayers. Of course I am referring to the taxpayers in Bridgeport, not Trumbull.
We all must concede a Bridgeport mayor must make lemonade out of lemons. This announcement is more like making a ‘salty dog’ from a grain of salt.
Appears Brett Broesder has attended the Joseph Goebbels school of public enlightenment.
I agree with Maria Pereira. What will the next media event be?
Tom, Brett Broesder aka Arnold Horshack, left ConnCAN to become Mayor Finch’s spokesperson. I assure you it wasn’t a chance appointment and it was very strategic.
Maria Pereira, tell us more about Brett Broesder and this appointment.
Ron, Brett Broesder was the communications director for ConnCAN and left them to work for Mayor Finch. This was not a coincidence. Mayor Finch has suffered significant losses on the education front and he is a charter school supporter and enthusiast. Mayor Finch is working with Malloy, Commissioner Pryor and ConnCAN to further expand charter schools in Bridgeport. In fact, I am confident one of the major goals of bringing Vallas to Bridgeport was to decimate our public school system and convert every public school into a charter school just like he had in New Orleans. Elaine Ficcara was not knowledgeable on education policy and Brett Broesder is, therefore he has been brought in to help reverse Mayor Finch’s repeated defeats on his education initiatives. Think about it. His coup of the BBOE failed, the charter referendum failed and all his BBOE candidates lost last year. Mayor Finch has taken a shellacking around his education policies and Brett Broesder has been brought in to reverse that trajectory. As I mentioned here previously, I witnessed Jennifer Alexander, the $200,000 a year CEO of ConnCAN, enter the City Hall Annex two weeks ago for a meeting with Mayor Finch. I assure you the charter school supporters will be major funders of his re-election bid next year.
I can assure you the charter school folks have already donated big to the Finch re-election bid. That and a nickel, of course, couldn’t win the charter revision proposal or BOE seats.
Clearly they’re not as smart as they think they are or perhaps we’re not as dumb as they think we are.
Well since there is some sour grapes I feel obligated to say a few kind words.
This has been a great week for Mayor Finch. His speech at Central High, Governor Malloy winning reelection guaranteeing Bridgeport priority status, Mayor Fabrizi deciding not to run based on current trends and of course Steelepointe news. Bridgeport has had many dark days. I am glad Mayor Finch has been enjoying good days in Bridgeport. Obama, Malloy and Steelepointe. I think the Mayor deserves to enjoy his day even if it lasts for a week. 🙂 Congratulations!
I will stop short of heaping praise on Hizzoner for his miraculous feat that is slated to have the starting gun fired in an election year (who’d’a thunk?). I remain cautiously optimistic regarding this development. It’s good news for Bridgeport and long, long, long overdue. I also breathe a wistful sigh, not because this Mayor assumes this achievement will assure a large percentage of the electorate forgets the BS that goes on in the current administration, but because it probably will.
On another note, I wonder if they are trying to “lure” Bonefish Grill to the location? I’d be down with that.
Bonefish Grill is an excellent choice. Wonder if the city or the developer even thought of going after them? A perfect match with Chipotle. There are only two locations in Connecticut, 15 in Florida. The closest one is Newington. Bond Girl, I’ll bet Bonefish Grill lands in Bridgeport Landing.
It will be a knock-off restaurant branded as Bonerfish.
Wow, what do they serve there?
Lennie, what would you like them to serve there? 🙂
Bass Pro will move in right after the November 2015 Election; if you believe that, I have two bridges for sale, and one happens to be the Congress St. Bridge.
Bass Pro has pulled out of this deal! They do it all the time!
The CT Post is sitting on this story until after Finch is reelected!
Jim Fox, I actually called Bass Pro headquarters last week. They have a fall opening scheduled.
PT Barnum said it best, there’s a sucker born every day, and Bridgeport has 139,000 of them, if Bass Pro is coming to Bridgeport where’s the hoopla, the balloons, the marching band, the hats, the dancing girls?
Where’s the groundbreaking ceremony? The ribbon cutting? Where are the Bass Pro people?
Finch is so full of shit, I’ll bet my $600 tax rebate check Bass Pro is a no-show!
So Sonny, the folks who identified themselves on the site as Bass Pro people are imposters? Was that you I saw in the chicken suit?
Do me a favor. Ask some construction people you know how realistic it is to build up to the degree your propaganda rendering suggests. I count at least 16 stories on top of a multi-story base. This is not being built on a concrete slab for sure. And the deeper they have to dig in order to put in footings for a structure this big then the expense of the environmental clean-up grows exponentially.
Also, the deeper they dig the more expensive the reconstruction of the bulkhead becomes in order to ensure containment of the pollutants from seeping into the water, but I am sure all of this was covered in the press conference I am guessing you did not attend.
Good points, Troll. Noted. I did attend a news conference. They let me out once in a while. Next time I’ll bring you along as a special suspicious OIB correspondent. Troll under Stratford Avenue Bridge.
No Lennie, that was someone from the 138th in that chicken suit.
Bass Pro is known for pulling out at the last minute, costing the City and State millions of dollars.
Jamie oh I mean Jim, that was your pal Rich P in the chicken suit. Jim, you are still an asshole.
It is so perplexing to me people are still hoping Bass Pro pulls out. Hoping somehow it will be Finch’s fault and somebody is going to run against him. Stop dreaming and be positive. This is Bridgeport’s last chance and it is apparent it will be a tremendous success. Tremendous. Bob Walsh and Jim Fox, honestly, don’t you ever get tired of your own negative hot air? A simple acknowledgement of a job well done for Finch would give you both credibility. How can you stand knocking every single project across the city? What could you be thinking? What candidate could be doing better? If you are not part of the solution you are part of problem. What candidate do you imagine you are helping by pissing on Finch’s parade? The city is ripe for greatness and it is happening a year before an election.
Steve, you and I don’t see eye to eye on many things but I agree with the comments you made above. These two idiots Bob and Jim Aka Nit&Wit are against everything. They know all the problems but never have viable alternatives. Walsh was the perfect candidate for our space program, he knows how to take up space. BTW JIM where is the list of 300 Black Rock taxpayers you claim are getting tax breaks? Just more of your bullshit.
Andy or is it TC? Welcome back to the arms of the Finchettes, there must be an opening on TPZ!
Jim, where are the 300 names that got the tax breaks? Just gives us a few examples of what should be built at steel point. Just a few. Listen you little shit, all you do is piss and moan and try out your comedy act here on OIB. Some decent alternatives would be nice but that is above you, dumb ass. Where are the 300 names?
Some of your dear friends are on my list, do you really want me to publish their names???
Yes Jim, I want you to publish the whole list. I don’t care who is on it.
Next up will be a Dunkin’ Donuts and a Mickey D’s.
Sorry guys but this is kind of embarrassing. A couple of years after Bass Pro signs on the best they can do is two fast food shops? And this is a destination shopping attraction?
To quote my very good friend John Marshall Lee, “Time will definitely tell,” but the meter is running.
Here is part of the Bass Pro job app. Are you filling one out?
You may not be eligible for employment with Bass Pro Shops if you are prohibited by Federal or State law from possessing explosives, ammunition or firearms. Please answer the following questions in order to determine your eligibility.
1) Have you ever been convicted in any court of a felony, or any other crime, for which the judge could have imprisoned you for more than one year, even if you received a shorter sentence including probation (does not include state misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment of two years or less)?
2) Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime, for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year?
3) Are you subject to a court order restraining you from harassing, stalking or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child or such partner?
4) Have you ever been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?
5) Are you a fugitive from justice?
6) Have you been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions?
7) Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance?
8) Have you ever renounced your United States citizenship?
9) Are you an alien illegally in the United States?
10) Is there any reason you cannot legally possess firearms?
11) I understand that providing false or incomplete information may be grounds for termination of employment.
Bob, you actually spent time writing this. 1-10 I’d have to answer no. Number 11 yes. Are you doing the hiring? I understand Bass Pro is going to be outstanding. Can you stand it? I am certain you cannot. You are so damned miserable, Bob. I cannot wait to check out their camping equipment. From what I hear, I am not alone.
Just imagine all the positive energy daily as cars pass watching cranes in the air, for the next 10 years. Very good for Bridgeport. I could be deluded, but I know and you know I am not. Change is a good thing. Some people cannot accept positive change in a city that has been maligned for years. I believe the best is yet to come.
Thank you for posting this information. It is a little more than I need to know about how Bass Pro looks for information on potential employees, but it is instructive of how the private sector works.
The failure to initially secure or follow up secondary sources has been part of the Dunbar School story. And now the City of Bridgeport hires an IT person from a neighboring town only to discover in two or three weeks there is a back story that causes enough concern to suspend the person, BUT WITH PAY??? Whether union or non-union employee, why has the City not maintained a right to ignore paying someone until they serve a preliminary period during which the balance of info gathering can be accessed??? I want to believe someone is innocent until the facts and opinions are rendered, however this City seems to have too many occasions where people are suspended for too long (up to two years?) with pay!!! Sooner or later that gets expensive for taxpayers. What is a viable alternative policy? A Better Practice? Time will tell.
John, the question you need to ask is who does this IT person know who’s connected to Finch & Company. There is a probationary period and she could be fired without her getting suspended. What information did this person put down on her application? There is no need to pay her while this is being investigated. Let’s remember, the head of the IT department is married to the secretary for the town committee and the secretary for Tom McCarthy.