Deep-pocketed Sacred Heart University announced on Monday it has purchased the nearby 66-acre Fairfied property of General Electric, now headquartered in Boston, for $31.5 million “But with Sacred Heart’s acquisition, the property will no longer be subject to the same property tax payments, due to the university’s nonprofit status–a fact that concerns Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau.” Welcome to the world of tax-exempt properties in Connecticut’s largest city. An interesting note in this report from CT Post reporter Keila Torres Ocasio is the claim by SHU that it has “invested more than $100 million in Bridgeport.” Really?
SHU’s relationship with Bridgeport is sweet and sour–or is it sour and sweet? Its primary campus is located in Fairfield but across the street on Park Avenue it has ancillary facilities including dormitories located in Bridgeport. It has caused a town and gown divide with SHU benefiting from Bridgeport land but city neighbors not experiencing the benefits, especially with partying SHU students causing havoc in the North End neighborhood placing an added burden on public safety. SHU recently purchased eight acres of Bridgeport-owned golf course property for $4 million to satisfy Fairfield zoning regulations to expand its campus footprint.
“We are experiencing remarkable growth, and the need for state of the art facilities,” SHU President John J. Petillo said. “And frankly, the one thing they don’t make more of is land. The proximity and quality of the facilities is something we were unable to resist.”
… With the purchase of the GE property, the university gains 550,000 square feet of space and 800 parking spaces.
Kinney said he expects the acquisition to attract more students to the university, which now has roughly 4,800 undergraduates.
“This is transformative for this institution,” he said. “We’re acquiring the headquarters of one of the most iconic companies in the world. There is an image that all of this will bring.”
In the past, Kinney has estimated that the university has invested more than $100 million in Bridgeport and a similar amount in Fairfield to expand its campus.
Full story here.