What’s Going On At Steelpointe Harbor?

Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area.
Aerial of Steel Point redevelopment area courtesy of Morgan Kaolian

The latest: the Connecticut Department of Transportation is planning to request bids for street improvements slated to begin in the spring of 2012 for the mixed-use Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment on the East Side, according to officials associated with the project.

Site improvements in this phase are expected to include separating the storm and sewer lines under Stratford Avenue, realigning and widening the road and traffic signalization.

Bridgeport Landing Development, led by Robert Christoph, has been working through the local, state and federal regulatory process in recent months. Bridgeport Landing has not announced a retailer for the development, but site improvement is a key step for retailers to commit to the project. A lot of dirt is being moved around on the peninsula including clean fill transported from the construction site of the scheduled regional magnet high school in the city near Trumbull.

The city was awarded $11.5 million from the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER II) program for the harbor development project. Budget maneuvering in Washington had threatened to derail the money for the city, but the grant was rescued during April legislative negotiations.

This redevelopment has been on and off for nearly 30 years with several different developers in the mix through the decades. The federal funding was the first credible public declaration that the project could be real. Skeptics have wondered if it would ever happen and pessimism will still exist in light of the economy, the project’s history and no major tenant announced.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers issued a news release in September about a permitting request from Bridgeport Landing:

The Bridgeport Landing Development, LLC is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the United States in conjunction with proposed work in Bridgeport, Conn. The proposed project includes modifying a shoreline, performing dredging, installing a marina, and installing a boardwalk for public access and to create a tidal wetland. The work is proposed in Bridgeport Harbor at Steel Point in Bridgeport.

The applicant proposes to perform the following work: remove a concrete in-take structure, two boat ramps, fixed piers, floats and pilings, excluding the Tallmadge Pier; install approximately 470 linear feet of sheet pile bulkhead with a concrete cap with a tie-back system comprised of a support system installed landward of the sheeting and backfill; and install and maintain an approximately 33-foot wide by 470-foot long public access boardwalk, of which 125 feet will be a fishing pier.

For more about the project including renderings www.bldsteelpoint.com/main.htm



  1. Congratulations to Nancy H on her new position.
    As a former member of the board and an elected official who worked closely on their first projects in Bridgeport, I urge Nancy to re-focus the organization on their core value of community service.
    This was the hallmark that attracted me to the organization initially and what should separate them from other affordable housing organizations.
    Their core value is to require each resident to commit to a certain number of volunteer hours a week. This commitment could come in neighborhood block watch activities, performing routine neighborhood cleanup patrols, organizing recreational activities for the neighborhood youth, instructing the youth in specialized skills, serving as mentors to the area youth, etc., etc., etc.
    Nancy I would be happy to talk with you and share with you where I feel the organization has failed in meeting this important goal.

  2. And I thought everyone knew WalMart is coming to SteelPointe. The mayor and his administration’s failure or unwillingness to categorically deny this rumor is proof enough for me.

    1. I do not believe that. The only big box I would accept is Stew Leonard’s because it is a destination for many. Off topic–does anyone on the blog patronize any of the happenings in Bridgeport? The symphony at the Klein this past Saturday night? Excellent. The Bijou this past Friday evening? Just once I would like to see more than eight people there. I figured I would run into at least one familiar face but never do. Speaking of Nancy Hadley, best wishes on your new position. Maybe one day we will run into you at one of the downtown venues in your neighborhood.

      1. Hey Steve,
        While you were at the Klein on Saturday night, did you hear the four soloists and the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut in addition to the instrumental musicians in the symphony? Good. As a member of the Bass section I was encouraged to hear several members of the audience Thursday (at the Quick Center/Fairfield Univ) and then Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at the Klein, tell us the chorale performance outshone the instrumental. The Messiah is a powerful piece and the audiences were appreciative. Nancy Hadley was in the audience on Saturday evening as were many supporters of the Bridgeport Symphony. Folks from Norwalk were also present on Thursday and Sunday as their symphony ran into financial problems this year.
        Several of us retreated to Fairfield Avenue after the show on Saturday evening for a nightcap at BARE as Épernay was closed by 10:40 PM.
        By the way on Friday evening Rainy Fay featured a jazz duo from 6-8:00 PM that featured Ken Cicerale on clarinet and saxophone along with a local bassist. Another great musical treat enjoyed by a small but appreciative group. Happened to meet the Director of the Playhouse on the Green and were able to tell her how much we had enjoyed the comedy “Moon Over Buffalo” presented on the stage at United Congregational Church on Park Avenue.
        And the week before the Simon and Garfunkel show at the Cabaret followed this week by a Neil Diamond and band repertoire singer. Good, reasonably priced professional entertainment of broad audience appeal is available downtown. Keep your eyes open, invite friends from the suburbs, and support the arts pioneers. City Lights Gallery must also have a few items left for your gift list!
        Time will tell.
        Good things are happening on a human scale. Thank you OIB for making us aware of many of them.

        1. There were many familiar faces on stage. I thought the four soloists were wonderful. I always enjoy Handel’s Messiah. Great way to kick off Chanukah. It was a great evening. At the Bijou Friday evening for Melancholia, the theater was nearly empty. The film was amazing, incredible acting and photography. As depressing as the subject matter was, the all-star cast and the subject matter was absorbing and I understand why it picked up many awards at the Sundance film festival. The theater is a great venue but they are failing miserably in their attempt to market it. I will have a chat this week with them. A Chanukah pre-Christmas and Kwanzaa gift. The theater cannot survive without support. I would hate to think that when Len G. has his next bash the Theater will be history.

  3. Also off topic, but it is getting to that time of year as was stated. In addition to the “Turkey of the Year” award which is out basting someplace, I’d like to propose a “Voter of the Year.”

    My nominee is the young woman at Roosevelt School who knotted up the precinct during the mayoral primary by being polite but firm in insisting on her right to vote. She was a University of Bridgeport senior who signed up to vote on campus and was told she was not on the list when she went to cast her ballot. She was one of the kids who were turned away. She stayed. She caused no ruckus, merely insisting on exercising her right. She would not allow herself to get caught up in the carnival some people were trying to start.

    She told me as a woman, and African American, she was keenly aware of how hard people had worked in this country to make sure she had the right to vote. She wasn’t going to back down.

    She did not want to give her name to me when I caught up to her. She was a powerfully mature presence. The Post interviewed her too. (She didn’t give her name to Keila either, but the Post got a pic of her.)

    Roosevelt was always my favorite precinct when I covered politics for the Post-Telegram. Something crazy was always bound to happen there. Covering the primary for this blog felt like old times–not in a good way–when this innocent young woman was upended by the incompetency of Bridgeport politics.

    I was impressed with her cool determination. Hey, me I’d pop a cork. Most Bridgeporters would blow a gasket as well. I’m pretty sure she ended up with one of those provisional ballots, if she didn’t get to vote outright.

    Anyway, she made the biggest impression on me of all people I met that day.

  4. Steelpointe is a major issue and most think nothing will ever happen there. Why did they kick out the Pequonnock Yacht Club if nothing was going to happen? But who comes to downtown? Surprising how few people come downtown. I was at Épernay last Friday sitting by the front window with almost no one there and no one was coming either from the sold-out event across the street. One problem for downtown: how do you offer something other places do not? The movie theater is actually great. But some people have mentioned parking and safety issues. I know Bridgeport does have periodic festivals downtown, however some say that has nothing to do with bringing people consistently downtown. It might make sense to have a regular event on Saturday or Sunday afternoons and offer something for free to the public which is not available elsewhere. For example, free Italian language classes and a meetup afterwards. Or free digital video editing classes or free music recording. In fact the Master Plan identifies people in this demographic as the target audience for downtown revitalization.

  5. I heard Tom Sure-wood is the best butcher in town. Well he is actually in Fairfield but has a little annex in DT BPT. He can really trim the fat and then some. Watch the thumb on the scale though!
    He may not be the most ethical butcher out there but if you keep both of your eyes on him, he can’t get away with too much.
    He aims to please; at least please the bosses if not the common-day customer.
    And he is definitely not inexpensive. He carries a big ticket price.
    But if you want someone to cut the fat, you are not too concerned with losing some of the good pieces with the bad and are not afraid to pay extra then Sure-wood is the man.
    PS He also specializes in low-hanging fruit.

  6. Putting WalMart at SteelPointe will not make this town any better than it already is; a shit hole. The facts are clear. There is more available space to develop than was available to Baltimore. They did it right and the inner harbor once a worse slum than Bridgeport has arisen to one of the finest of commercial development this country has ever seen. Tens of thousands of people work in the immediate area of Baltimore where once there was so few. The prominence and prosperity of the inner harbor led to massive near exponential commercial growth to as far away as Towson and Glen Burnie. TWO I95 bypasses were constructed as a result of this extreme success, I695 and I895. The Baltimore Inner Harbor has no WalMart. The didn’t have Paul Timpanelli and Mario Testa either.

  7. Jim Callahan (on Voter of the Year or “the one who made the greatest impression on me.” I was a greeter at a school this year, the front person at the primary who was there to preview the primary ballot with one and all.

    I could nominate the handful of people looking for the Republican line (which they have learned to identify so they most surely do not vote for one of those people) and were startled to be told by me, “They are all Democrats in the voting today!!!”

    Or I might nominate the hundreds of parents delivering their children to school or retrieving them at the end of the day, adults who heard me ask if they were going to vote only to listen to them tell me NO. And that was 90% of them. They are my poster people for those who trust their children to the public schools, the youth of our future, on whom we spend (CT taxpayers and Bridgeport property owners) significant sums annually but glaringly few complete their education successfully in the funded time period. Somewhere they have not connected the local political process and elections with results in the classroom. Sad and interesting at the same time.

    But my real candidate of the year was a young African American resident of the neighborhood who was talking with a friend on his cell phone as he approached the doorway where I was standing. I held up my hand gently and asked him to finish his conversation before going into the voting area. He walked two paces behind me to continue his conversation. He was close enough for me to hear him say: “I’m here voting today and I’m getting paid again in November. Isn’t that something?” No further word did I hear but I did hear the shout out as to his street address. Then as he made his way out into the hall, I congratulated him on his voting today, extended my hand to shake his, and told him my name, and he told me his. Fair exchange, I think. He expected at least one payday for his effort and was led to believe there were two possible. I now understood by witnessing it, how the party drivers worked to deliver folks to the polls to do their civic duty, bent by a cash incentive. Only in Bridgeport. I have a name and an address, but no one is currently interested in the way things really work. And it was only one person whom I overheard, and perhaps he was talking about something else. All possibilities, I guess. But context is important and I trust ‘street money’ as it is called was prevalent in the primary because of the fear Mary-Jane evoked in advancing her candidacy. Only in Bridgeport? Probably not. But truly in Bridgeport. Time will tell.

  8. *** For years taxpayers have heard lots of talk & seen many smoke & mirrors when it comes to steel point! And now at last the light and object at the end of the tunnel may be a fu..ing “WALMART!” *** FORGETABOUTIT ***


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