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Troll: Is It Steel, Steal Or Stale?

October 18th, 2010 · 12 Comments · City Council, Development and Zoning

Robert Christoph, developer of Steelpointe Harbor, will receive an infrastructure windfall courtesy of $11 million secured by Congressman Jim Himes from the federal Department of Transportation to revitalize a portion of the East Side for a planned mega mixed-use development.

At Monday night’s City Council meeting, with Christoph in attendance, Bob “Troll” Walsh launched into a rant that is unique to the Troll questioning the checks and balances involved in the acceptance of the grant, how much public money will supplement the project and when the city will actually receive tax revenue from the project.

What gives? Is a dose of skepticism warranted? The development location has been promoted, pushed, pushed back, reignited, extinguished, reinvented, redrafted for nearly 30 years. It has involved decades of property transaction, relocation, site clearance, development rights, etc. through six administrations.

Hopefully, we’re closer to the end to of this project than the beginning. Would be nice to experience SteelPointe instead of Steal or Stale Point.

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Mojo

    *** More like hurry up & wait! *** SOS ***

  • Hector A. Diaz

    IF it were an issue all the time instead of just at election time it probably could have been completed by now. As long as we continue to let these out-of-town developers cry broke every time it’s their turn to contribute then we deserve what we get. Someone (thanks Mr.Walsh) needs to hold the developers’ feet to the fire. If they are really as broke as they claim then why are we dealing with broke developers? I can’t wait for the next administration (whoever that may be) because with a new administration comes new deals and the option to look for legitimate developers with a plan. Bridgeport is tired of buying DREAMS.

  • Up On Bridgeport

    Mr. Christoph has run a Daisy Chain of a land-banking scheme since he was awarded this project. RCI, Midtown Equities, Rex Realty Group and now back to Christoph. A promised $5 million was diluted to a $500k downpayment that includes a Marina that we paid $4.5 million to sail out of town.

    Sounds more like Steal Magnolias!!!

  • Jim Callahan

    Given the city’s long history of being fleeced or embarrassed by the scheme du jour, prudent questioning and critical detachment is reasonable.

    Alderman Walsh has shown no inclination to use his position for personal political gain. As the only alderman willing to question the administration on a regular basis, and being somewhat cogent about it, his importance for community awareness increases.

    Attempts to move this project have been delayed for a variety of reasons. A degree of political and community unity has existed for a long time. There are indications of management instability by the city (always a warning in Bridgeport) and a failure by developers to meet deadlines (always a warning in Bridgeport).

    The only thing off in Bob’s reported rant is questioning of tax revenue. It will be years before the city sees a revenue gain from real estate taxes. He knows that. There’s more to his prying, I am sure, on that topic.

    Keeping a developer to a schedule is reasonable.
    Getting infrastructure help is outstanding.

    Speaking of infrastructure …

    Are there any plans for the replacement or rebuilding of the Yellow Mill Pond Bridge? It’s only about 80 years old. Or is Bridgeport going to declare it a Historical Monument because of the corruption in building it?

  • Nancy Hadley

    As I wrote in an earlier post over the weekend the city didn’t gain title to the whole peninsula until 2007. I can only comment from 2004 forward since that is when I joined the Fabrizi administration. In my opinion this developer is performing in good faith, everything before 2008 is on the city, not the developer because the city had to acquire the property AND provide much of the infrastructure. So the recent announcement of the $11 million helps the CITY meet some of the infrastructure obligations. For those who remember back to 2004 the infrastructure costs were estimated to exceed $75 million. The taxing district will help with the financing but remember that the pricing of the bonds will depend on the strength of the deal. Look, due diligence is critical, I agree. But based on the city finally delivering on the land and now some of the public financing of the infrastructure, this developer has submitted full documentation to the PZC in 2010 which has the details on the uses, densities, timeframes et al. which is in addition to the Land Disposition agreement. This isn’t a good-cop bad-guy scenario. This is finally moving forward on one of many economic development efforts in the city. Steelpointe is not a silver bullet. It is one of many important efforts.

  • Hector A. Diaz

    I’ve seen very little “effort” on anyone’s part, most specifically the “developers.” If the first thing built there is a home of any kind it will be a kick in the head to any of the former homeowners. Is the city saying they want a “different type” of homeowner as opposed to those who were run out?

    • flubadub

      Hector: The first buildings on StealPoint will be big-box stores; Sam’s Club, Walmart, Costco, Target etc. Just another glorified strip mall.

  • Hector A. Diaz

    Does anyone know what happened to the “Latino” who Christoff tried to get the community to believe was Puerto Rican? I can’t recall his name, but we should have seen that something was wrong at that time.

  • Bob Walsh

    Here is what my beef last night was.
    The City of Bridgeport leads people to believe the developer is coming up with the $18 Million match for the federal funds.
    However, when pressed on the issue they admit it is the taxing district that will come up with the match.
    There is no taxing district. And even when there is legislation passed to create the taxing district the taxing district will have no money. The taxing district will only begin to get money when there are buildings paying tax on the property.
    I wanted the developers to guarantee the match via an irrevocable letter of credit which they would not do.
    So Ladies and Gentlemen, girls and boys and somewhere in between Nancy Hardly, if the city accepts the $11 million grant which requires an $18 million match, who do you think has just guaranteed the match???
    The taxpayers of the city of Bridgeport.
    And the developers continue to set themselves up to make millions without having to use any of their money.
    Only in Bridgeport!!!

  • Hector A. Diaz

    Maybe that “latino” guy can help come up with the moolah…what was his name…?

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Technically, Hector, Latino names kind of played a role in Steal Point. It all started when La Pinta, La Niña, and La Santa Maria arrived and Christoph Columbus set foot on the Bridgeport Harbor.

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