Revitalized Downtown Buildings Transformed Into Retail And Residential

Downtown is coming back, led by hundreds of new housing units, rehabilitated buildings and energy-efficient retrofitting. Developers of the Harral Security Wheeler project, United Illuminating and Energize Connecticut have come together to transform three historic buildings on Main Street.

Joint news release:

The restoration of three historic buildings in downtown Bridgeport has sparked new commercial and residential interest around the city’s transportation hub. The project was funded through a combination of historic rehabilitation tax credits, Brownfield programs, private equity and $26,235 in energy fund incentives. The vacant buildings, now known as Harral Security Wheeler (HSW), have been repurposed into retail and commercial space on the lower levels with more than 70 residential units on the upper floors.

Spinnaker Real Estate worked with United Illuminating (UI) engineers to retrofit interior lighting and install 18 new heat pump units. Using UI’s energy model, the upgrades could result in roughly $50,000 of annual energy savings. UI, a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., provided guidance on available Energize Connecticut efficiency incentives to help overcome the daunting task of retrofitting the more than 100-year-old buildings.

“The energy incentives allowed us to provide better and more efficient equipment in the building’s common areas, which are in use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said Spinnaker Real Estate President Kim Morque. “The incentive shortened the payback period to justify the additional costs of the project. By their nature, Historic Tax Credit projects require subsidies to make projects feasible. The energy incentive helped lower construction and operating costs.”

With limited exterior space because of the large windows, installing air conditioning wall units was impossible without damaging the buildings’ historic architectural elements. Energy efficient heat pump units allowed for the installation of an alternate heating and cooling source to keep energy costs low while providing the conveniences of temperature control.

By retrofitting existing lighting with LED units, less energy will be consumed by residents and retail occupants. The new lighting also has an extended life span, lowering maintenance costs. Comfort and safety are a top priority for customers and residents of the building, so efficient, dependable and ample lighting is a major plus.

Kim Morque, Spinnaker Real Estate President

The HSW buildings are located steps from the train, ferry, bus depot and highway in Bridgeport, giving residents access to major cities and towns nearby. With panoramic views of the beach from the building’s large historic windows, the HSW has become a bright spot in the Park City’s downtown revitalization efforts.

“We are pleased to work with customers that are leveraging energy efficiency incentives in order to save money, especially those helping to revitalize communities.” said Glen Eigo of UI. “It’s not every day that you can be a part of a program that revitalizes a neighborhood, provides lower energy costs to its owner and helps to make historic buildings new again.”

About Harral Security Wheeler
With the rehabilitation of three historic buildings in Bridgeport’s Downtown North neighborhood, the E.W. Harral Building, Security Building and E.E. Wheeler Building, Spinnaker Real Estate has created the Harral Security Wheeler (HSW). The building boasts commercial space on the lower level and multi-family housing units on the floors above. Combined, the three properties offer 70 residential units (18 affordable and two live-work) and five retail spaces.

About United Illuminating
The United Illuminating Company (UI) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1899, UI operates approximately 3,500 miles of electric distribution lines and 139 miles of transmission lines. It serves approximately 335,000 customers in the greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas of Connecticut. For more information, visit

About Energize Connecticut
Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Green Bank, Eversource, UI, SCG and CNG, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at or by calling 877.WISE.USE.



  1. I,ve decided to take on a project. I will choose a nice sunny day. Will go downtown and walk around,look at all the eateries,the arts and craft shop. I really want to know the truth about Downtown. I am not going at night.

        1. Len, I sold the business and the property last May. I am completely retired. I therefore have no more “personal” interest in the Defilippo/Willinger/
          OPED conspiracy to go around existing laws which protect business and property owners. This also does not apply only to liquor locations. This issue was settled in Superior Court and the collusion began and has lasted for over 3 years. This is not about competition it’s about the law and what’s right. I remain in this fight because it’s the right thing to do. Anyone familiar with this thing knows exactly that my side of this issue is absolutely correct and it’s for the protection of all. The post above this which you responded to is a facetious one and I don’t usually joke about the issue but it intends to show the ridiculousness of what he and his cohorts are trying to do.
          As Einstein said “the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch without doing anything”. This quote is appropriate and directed at all council persons past and present. Elected officials are responsible to protect the citizens. As we have seen, rarely- in Bridgeport, does this happen. Heads in the sand, do as your told, and you’ll keep your position. That’s what we’ve seen.

      1. You know lennie in all seriousness, that’s a damn good idea. For all the Debbie Downers , you should host a night of touring Downtown Bpt. Get all the restaurants involved. Have a taste of Downtown Bpt. sample sizes from the restaurants. Some music. Adults only. A comedian etc. Actually showcase it all. what do you think???? Oh and an open house so all can see the apartments being offered

      2. Lennie,
        That is an excellent idea! I would be happy to join you and help ease any security concerns that anyone may have. Downtown is much safer than it was many years ago. Much progress is being made toward a total transformation. If anyone thinks that people are scared to go to downtown Bridgeport all they need to do is stop into Ralph and Rich’s restaurant any day or night, the place is packed with people from many of our surrounding towns. Ralph and Rich’s is living proof that if people have a reason to go to downtown Bridgeport they will!

        1. Lennie,
          Thanks for the offer and I’ll take you up on it one day. Others seem to like this idea. I would like to remind everyone that there is something called the “Downtown Special Services District” which collects fees from Downtown merchant to provide services in ddition to standard services from the City. Maybe if a Downtown merchant or a member of the DSSD sees this,it may be a good idea to implement.

  2. *** A ghost town with questionable safe parking at nite, shops & restaurants that close early & go out of business in a year or two. Questionable elements hanging out, up & down Main St. with little police presence down the side streets except during P/D shift changes. As JML would say, “time will tell”, no? ***

      1. Lennie, that’s a dirty low-blow coming from you. I’m forced to come in defense of my replacement on the Council. I left in 2001 and Mojo eventually ended up replacing me. I knew that whomever ended up taking my spot wasn’t going to have a smooth ride. The writing was on the wall and I’m not talking about the graffiti. By November 2001, It was clear that the corruption by Joe Ganim, developers and YOU, was going to have a negative impact in future developments. I grade Mojo a ‘B’.

        1. *** I’am rated a political “B” according to Manic Joel, that must be an “A” in political reality terms, no? *** “Man in the Mirror” by M.J. says it all. ***

        1. Derek, plenty of Downtown restaurants are full at dinner time loaded with suburbanites, especially on weekends: R&R, Joseph’s, Metric, A Vucchella. Dine at any of them? Shows at the Bijou, Downtown Cabaret, comedy club. There’s more to the city than Black Rock.

          1. Lennie, as a Black Rock resident (raised in Brooklawn) who works downtown, I am inclined to agree. Lots of activity day and night these days. BTW I like when you call people by name rather than handle 🙂

          2. Thank you kindly! I am learning a lot about the A/E/C field and have a better understanding of some of the hot items on OIB as of late.

  3. It’s taken way too long to fix these vacant historic buildings Downtown
    Under Ganim and Finch, the entire North part of Downtown was taken by eminent domain, for no good reason. Numerous demolitions and some fires created more of a desolate wasteland
    Ownership of these city-owned buildings given to a handful of developers instead of dividing ownership into small businesses and instead of creating condos and coops for young professionals..
    I was disappointed recently that Downtown leadership is not interested in advocacy for a bike friendly community
    Room for improvement…


Leave a Reply