Wall Street Journal Chronicles Steel Point, Finch: ‘It’s Happening’

Steel Point, 1936
A 1936 photo of the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area in the East End. Image courtesy Bridgeport History Center, Bridgeport Public Library.

The development was first proposed more than 30 years ago by Republican Mayor Lenny Paoletta. All these decades later is it possible mega retailer Bass Pro Shops will actually break ground this summer? WSJ’s Joseph De Avila writes about Steel Point:

In most cities, the sight of heavy construction vehicles rumbling down the street doesn’t merit a second glance. But in Bridgeport’s historic Steel Point neighborhood, it signals a sea change for a long-dormant civic dream.

Bass Pro Shops
Will construction begin this summer?

Six Bridgeport mayors have sought to redevelop the 52-acre peninsula on Long Island Sound, named for a steel works that operated there for decades. The city and state combined have spent about $100 million on the venture over the past three decades, but those efforts have been slowed by property disputes, a corruption scandal and three recessions.

Bridgeport officials now say the fortunes of Steel Point will turn this summer when building begins on the area’s first anchor, a 150,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops, which sells boats and outdoor supplies.

Full story here.



  1. $11 Million for infrastructure … $20 Millions and more from the State for bonding or tax credits … $100s of millions in construction … Buildings coming out of the ground … something material taking place … that is progress … but until someone puts a pencil to paper and shows financially how it contributes dollars to operating the City (net of repayments to everyone and special funds to operated that taxing district), it remains HOOPLA!!!
    Anyone want to provide that development scenario on a few sheets of paper and let us see it? Or am I being too skeptical? Call me curious. Time will tell.

  2. Seeing as we have a stipend crisis within the council, how many council people used stipend funds to visit the developer in Florida? While I am on the subject, how many council people submitted 51 receipts for items purchased at Super Stop and Shop? How many council people illegally contributed to charities? Which council person contributed $500 to the Bridgeport Regional Business Council? How many other illegal uses were there for spending stipend money?
    Who has the answers? The Connecticut Post, Only In Bridgeport, Channel 12? Somebody knows the answer. Who will step forward?

  3. Exposure in the Wall Street Journal is very good for the City, Mayor and developer. Paul Timpanelli always gets a quote, why? Only G-d knows. The story is nothing new except for the quote of the woman who felt the City made a mistake taking her three-story Victorian that was a homeless shelter. Where did they even find her to get a quote? I am hopeful. It would be nice if Mayor Finch could witness the shovel in the ground while he is still in office. Bridgeport will, to the chagrin of the many on this blog, return to its former glory. I believe this in my gut. That is my hope. It would be nice if they had a few landmark headquarters that would guarantee its success. Talking about Bass Pro ad nauseam is not going to excite anyone. News of other components that are not speculation would put the naysayers in their place. Until then, que sera, sera.

  4. Bass Pro will pull out of this deal over the summer. Let’s think about this, Finch was hooting and yelling about this project when? 2012? Now it’s two years later and still no firm commitment from BPS? Not even a peep out of them. If you follow their way of building stores, they announce new plans for stores at least a year ahead of time, through twitter, their Facebook page and their website. What CEO in their right mind would think this is a good idea? When it’s announced they are pulling out, going to be interesting how Finch spins it.

  5. This blog has become a dumping ground of miserable anti-Bridgeport anti-Finch rhetoric. Is there another plan anyone cares to bring forward? Is there a candidate who has something optimistic to say? The people on this blog are bad for the morale of the City. They are bad for potential developers to read. Reading these posts just sucks the life out of the room. A little positive energy wouldn’t hurt. This doom and gloom serves no purpose. I like reading positive articles about the City in the WSJ. Wouldn’t hurt to see a lot more of our city presented in a positive light in papers outside the City.

    1. Steve, I’m not “anti-Bridgeport,” in fact I love this city and defend it whenever necessary. What I see though is a steady decline in our city since this admin took over.

      1. Really, Harvey? You do not have to be a Finch sycophant to admit there are many positives going on in this city. I think if any of the bloggers attended any of the events in this city, as well as the BRBC and City Admin, you would feel a new energy. I am not suggesting another candidate couldn’t continue the process; however, I credit Finch for a lot of this and even if I were running against him I wouldn’t attack the obvious strides Finch has made. Always give credit where credit is due. When you do not, you appear as a very small person.

    2. I have a plan. Auction the property off to the highest bidder. First off, that would have saved us about $200 million dollars in tax deals and infrastructure improvements. Then, you GET the money from the auction sale. Then, let whoever bought the property do whatever they want with THEIR property. They will do it quickly because the interest clock will be ticking.
      Let’s pick some good things in BPT. Captains Cove, Harborview market, Wonderland of ice. NO one planned them; the city did not finance it, these things spring up from the creativity and inspiration of a business person who knows what they are doing. These places have lives and evolve to meet the needs and interests of the consumer.

      1. Seaside Park, Vibes Concert, Bridgeport Symphony, Cabaret Theater, Bijou, Beardsley Zoo, Barnum Museum, Discovery Museum, Housatonic Community College Art Gallery, Downtown Library, Pleasure Beach, University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport Free Shakespeare, City lights art gallery, The Nest, Rope climbing by Discovery. Etc, etc, etc.

        1. Yes, but those things are not like Bass Pro. They are a cost to the taxpayer. The Bass Pro will be not be an income. At least not until all the money we spent to make them come here pays off. BTW UB and Hoochy-tonic are private institutions, not a city property. Other than being tax free they do not receive city money. Without city money most of the rest would go out of business. The idea is to make Steele Point an income-producing thing. Property tax INCOME. We were not doing the Steele Point thing just for fun.

  6. If all one were to do was to read the daily press releases coming out of the mayor’s office, perhaps one would think there is a lot of positive going on in the City. The mayor has at his disposal at least just enough control of the City’s $525,000,000 budget to squeeze out some tree plantings, some pothole fillings, a demolition or a street or two getting paved once in a while. These things all make the news. Some of what he calls accomplishments like the demolition of Remington Arms and GE, or the solar panel array are just plain greedy, corrupt and stupid. He also has a very impressive spin machine and public relations arm.
    I would disagree with this reporter that Finch had nothing to do with the destruction of the Steele Pointe Peninsula. He was all on board with Wrecking Ball Joe when he was a Senator, State Rep and City Councilman. I also disagree with the figure of what was spent, i.e. $100 million? I believe it is more like $250 million.


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