State Approves $3.5 Million To Complete Key East End Development Featuring Grocery Store, Healthcare Facility

Honey Locust Square project along Stratford Avenue corridor.

Backed by the city’s legislative delegation, the state has awarded Anthony Stewart’s Honey Locust Square project in the East End $3.5 million, a key financial linchpin to complete construction of a grocery store, pharmacy, healthcare facility and restaurant in a neighborhood food desert.

In January city officials approved roughly $1 million for the project, $600,000 authorized by the City Council combined with another $400,000 from money the city received from the federal American Rescue Plan.

Stewart’s $11.5 million, 35,000 square-foot plan stalled as a result of price spikes from Covid and a bank revisiting lines of credit. The location is known as the Civic Block.

Meanwhile members of Bridgeport’s legislative delegation lobbied the $3.5 million from the state’s Community Investment Fund which approved the award on Tuesday based on an application submitted by the city’s development office.

Developer Anthony Stewart

Stewart, who was raised in the East End and headquarters his Ashlar Construction there, says the cash infusion should schedule construction completion in the fall along the Stratford Avenue corridor.

Stewart also built the adjacent new East End branch library.

Of all the development projects in the city, this one is the most significant given what it means to citizens of an underserved neighborhood lacking the amenities included in the project.

In addition, Stewart and Mayor Joe Ganim are trying to woo a financial institution to the development to establish a bank branch.

In this mayoral election year, Ganim wants to trumpet this development success as he seeks another four-year term.

“I want to thank the state of Connecticut Community Investment Fund Board, along with our state legislative delegation for providing the city of Bridgeport with the funding it needs to continue the East End development project,” said the mayor in a statement. “The East End is one of the many communities we’ve been working to revitalize. The residents of that neighborhood deserve to have a local grocery store nearby, along with other essential services.”

State Rep. Antonio Felipe, a voting member of the Investment Fund Board, added “The Civic Block encapsulates the very spirit of creating the Community Investment Fund. This project has been a labor of love and a dedication to service in the neighborhood that needs it the most.”

State Senator Herron Gaston represents the neighborhood.

“I am very grateful that Bridgeport is getting the funding it so desperately needs,” said Gaston in a news release. “Our residents deserve a friendly atmosphere that provides a one-stop shop and addresses the essential needs of our residents. Revamping the Civic Block is mission critical in assisting in the revitalization, resurgence, and the vitality of the East End. Many low-income residents don’t have the means to afford transportation and they deserve a grocery store, pharmacy, and bank that is easily accessible in their respective neighborhood.”



  1. Does anyone who knows about the process that resulted in these funds to complete the project wish to provide when the request for project money happened pursuant to the ultimate issuance? Who were players? State and local for the request and when did the number grow to $3.5 Million? What are the details of the State Community Investment Fund other than the observation that Bridgeport qualifies because of our economic conditions within the State?
    Where does the Mayor and other City actors play a role? City Council members? Senators Moore, not mentioned, and Gaston? City State Reps and their roles?
    Please inform all with a fuller story of how financial governance actually functions? Time will tell.

  2. Pardon my ignorance but something just doesn’t seem right with a private developer receiving 3.5 million dollars to complete a project that he started and that he will profit from. I’m sort of with John here, I sure would like to know more about the details of this deal or this give away, whichever the case may be. And what does the City Council “approving” $600,000.00 mean. Are we just giving a private contractor $600,000.00 of taxpayer money? There is no guarantee that any of this will make a difference to this neighborhood. This neighborhood, like every other neighborhood in Bridgeport, needs the guidance of honest, capable leadership. Unfortunately, honest, capable leadership in Bridgeport is in short supply. This deal may not be the boondoggle that it seems but I for one, would like to know for sure, one way or another. So far, I’m not convinced.


Leave a Reply