A joint committee of the City Council Tuesday night approved by a 9-1 vote a tax abatement for the next phase of the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area, a $100 million project that includes 400 units of market-rate housing, hotel and retail as well as more than $2 million in building fees due at the start of construction along East Main Street and Stratford Avenue.
Under the terms of the agreement, the developer will pay taxes on the cost of the land for three years annually, $23,900, during the construction and occupancy phase. Tax payments will increase to $1.26 million in 2025, rising by two percent each year, reaching $1.47 million in the final year of the abatement. Full standard taxation will then commence.
Yes votes: Jorge Cruz, Michelle Lyons, Marcus Brown, Matt McCarthy, Scott Burns, Ernie Newton, Jeanette Herron, Rosalina Roman-Christy, Maria Valle.
(Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article noted a yes vote by Aidee Nieves. She participated in meeting but did not issue a vote on the matter. As council president she typically votes on committee matters only when a quorum is required. A quorum had been established without her presence.)
Council newcomer Tyler Mack was the lone no vote.
Three council members Maria Pereira, Mary McBride-Lee and Avelino Silvia were absent from the virtual meeting of the joint contracts and economic development committees.
The measure now goes before the full council in January where it’s expected to win final approval based on this joint-committee vote.
I have a question for those Yes voters: Aidee Nieves, Jorge Cruz, Michelle Lyons, Marcus Brown, Matt McCarthy, Scott Burns, Ernie Newton, Jeanette Herron, Rosalina Roman-Christy, Maria Valle, in that $100 million project that includes 400 units of market rate housing, as of today what is that market rate cost? Now what is the going rate for affordable housing and where are they in Bridgeport? Tyler Mack, thank you the courage to vote no at this give away.
I’ve held my tongue on this matter for a long time. I’ve had several council members reach out to me but it’s difficult to upack in a 5min call. Here’s a quick MasterClass.
The truth is I believe in tax incentive deals for projects that are difficult to get done. Steelpointe is NOT a project lacking access to capital to get the project done. (The already have a TIF District and can raise as much as $190M, and have not even tapped into Opportunity Fund equity investors). Considering they are on record for building only luxury housing on the peninsula, it requires no tax incentive deal. Now if we want to issue a PILOT (payment in leiu of taxes) and EARMARK those dollars for affordable housing on the east end/east side, now we’re talking.
My biggest concerns with the deal.
1) the most prime property in the entire city is only worth $23.900 for all that acreage? That undeveloped land is worth a helluva lot more in taxes.
2) OPED’S fine pencil claims to give them a roughly 50% tax incentive break annually. (The used Kuchmas’s 323 property as the comp, lol ) The issue here is a market rate 2BR/2BA is $1650 there. (I used to live there, so I know first hand) The Steelpointe apartments when completed will be featching $2400 – $2600 per 2BR apartment. Simple math (400 x $800 xtra per unit) * 12 months = An extra $3.8Million annually compared to Kuchma’s comp they used. So basically the will make an extra $3.8M tax free annually with this deal.
OH, BTW, the commercial retail space of about 80,000 sq/ft in this phase was not used in the calculation which means more money they make tax free. They expect to fetch $35 per sq/ft. Again simple math. That’s $2.8Million in annual revenue. Even with a 5% vacancy rate, those two revenue streams amount to roughly $5Million dollars more a year than the “Comp property” used to establish the incentive tax rate.
3) If it’s a $100 Million dollar phase, and taxes are based on a $70 Million valuation. Again simple math, $70M*43.9Mills/1000 = $3,073,000 50% of that is $1.5M That number should be the start number with the 2% increases if we really are doing math.
The bottom line is Tax Incentives are economic development tools to assist developments that are in distress or in distressed areas. This is just a complete misuses of tax incentives.
There’s still time.
With Kelvin Ayala’s knowledge and Tyler Mack’s courage there’s a chance the forces of sanity can overcome the forces of insanity.
I’m in the business of changing minds and the clock is ticking…
Kelvin Ayala, you’re a Bad Man! Ernie, when in doubt ask someone that’s not in doubt!
As the TV advertisements warn us…..
DO THE MATH….and thank you Kelvin for your experiences and number crunching.
Is it only because no one wishes to exercise a stricter oversight on economic development that may limit “profitable opportunity” or “riskless investment” that such numbers are not shared on OIB or elsewhere for open discussion and review of other alternatives? But even when you have the basic numbers in dollars, and the formulas for developing the return on an investment, do we know the City assumptions from a public voice? Mayor Ganim? Tom Gill? Who else should know how this works for a citizen taxpayer patiently waiting for something to happen? Time will tell.
You should of held your Dick, now we’re holding ours!
Then Moses of his people stretched out his hands and the parting of the sea was sadly not to be.
Forty days and forty nights but no forty units of ( affordably housing) for the people of the 139th.
Moses and his (promise land) will have to wait for a new leader, someone with a spine!
If the tax break is a requirement of their financers, the Bridgeport City Council is being held hostage and has unique advantages still unused. Critics say the tax break means a consistent 12-year rise in city taxes. Those unimpacted by city taxes remain ambivalent. Bridgeport’s Economic Development Director Thomas Gill declared: “They would have a gap in their financing and their financing and lending institutions would not approve the project,” Gill said.
That’s dependency, a legal taboo and not part of the original agreement. Rip it up!
If Steelpointe stops now, Bridgeport gains.
Wanted: Journalistic detachment. Nobody is presenting the anti-tax break side of the story. Lennie sided with the developers in an earlier post.
As Lennie notes above, Maria P was absent from this virtual meeting of the combined committee.
This meeting was not posted on the City website and Maria was not notified of the meeting. There was also a meeting scheduled for tonight which was canceled at approx. 10:30 this morning
Calls were made to City Hall to inquire about this joint committee meeting, but City Hall shut down because of Covid outbreak and the phones went unanswered.
We know damned well that Tyler Mack would not have been the only NO vote.
There is no reason for tax abatements for market rate developments.
As property owners in the port we object to this mismanagement of the tax flow
MM, the meeting was posted several days prior on the city website. That’s how I learned about the meeting and advanced an item two days ahead of the vote. http://onlyinbridgeport.com/wordpress/city-council-committees-to-consider-waterfront-development-plan/
there were conflicting meetings posted including one canceled. That said the other Council members on the committees were notified by email
Fact, the meeting was posted on the city website. You wrote it was not posted. You were provided false information by Pereira that you assumed was accurate. How come everyone else on the respective committees knew about Tuesday’s meeting? I advanced a story on it with a link to the agenda. Shilling for Pereira has become your favorite pastime. Instead of owning her gaffes she looks for people to blame. And you do it on her behalf.
MM, you are losing creditability with this love affair with Maria, it takes away from the topic at hand.
C’mon Marshall,listen, I don’t have a problem with Maria either,but you can’t come here and say she wasn’t aware of the meeting,or thought it was canceled. I don’t believe that for a second.
Out of the 20 member Council,what is the guess of how many of them understand Kelvin’s post?
Just two CC members, Boyd and Mack.
A tax break for millionaires building luxury housing?
How do you think they got those yachts in the marina?
A tax break isn’t icing on the cake. It’s what’s needed.. It’s the tipping point that makes the deal work and shifts risk from the developers to Bridgeport. — it’s a wealth transfer. It puts Bridgeport at a financial disadvantage for twelve years. It puts upward pressure on taxes. I wouldn’t want my fingerprints on that.
A “no” vote would show resistance — the first step. Now you’re able to tug whole thing in Bridgeport’s direction. A little goes a long way. You could say “yes” after the terms were more favorable.
But right now, a hostage situation exists.
Local Eyes, you’re on a roll, you can tell that this topic is way over the heads of the city council members and they don”t want to look dumb by questioning anything. It’s follow the leader and more important, FOLLOW THE MONEY, who’s getting paid off from this deal with money and jobs for theirself, family, friends or business associates. This is just part one of the big steal, part two will be Pleasure Beach which means Newfield Ball Park and those homes on the East End. Remember God is not making any more land especially land on and near a waterfront property. We are watching elected officials just giving away land while they are not looking out for those voters who put them into office, Moses, Moses, Moses where are you leading us into?
The more the City Council has been wined , dined and promised, the more anxious/desperate the developers are to gain their vote. To them, the tax cut is essential. It’s pivotal.
This pattern has been repeated before because it’s always worked for them.
Don’t be the latest to be tricked — be the first to be valiant.
Those who seek a tax break for building luxury apartments are the weakest link in Bridgeport’s supply chain.
We all wear many hats — here’s one of mine:
And just what are the goals/outcomes of this huge, taxpayer investment? It would seem that the main goal/outcome of this project has more to do with political vanity (“…Look at what my Administration did in Bridgeport!…”) than with reassembling the economic nuts and bolts of this impoverished, crime-ridden town into something that could be described as viable and productive. But that is just in keeping with the modern non-plan plan of Bridgeport redevelopment… (Not to digress, but in deference to RM and DD, et al., we might interpret Bridgeport’s present redevelopment “strategy” as presenting a strong indication of a general “gentrification” theme, such that we will slowly shed our historical identity and population demographics… Contextually, it might be said of this implicit design, albeit somewhat abstractly, that “…Pride goes before the fall…” Do we really want to continue trying to be something other than “Bridgeport”?!
Really; the Steelpointe project has been a boondoggle from Day 1. The original concept was inappropriate with respect to the needs and attributes of this city, and the “evolved” version makes even less sense. It is a development mismatch that has never even had the intent of taxpayer benefits written into its RFP responses. The developer(s) must have bought into a political ploy that even designers don’t fully understand…
Eventually, those seeking to become involved in commercial development in this city will realize that our demographics, assets, and ongoing/historical reality demand that appropriate job development is the first step in revitalizing this city. First the jobs. Then the image change. THEN the entertainment/vanity projects.
Workforce housing, in the context of accommodating regional needs, will only keep this city behind the 8-ball. Seaport/waterfront development, in the form of yachting destinations and regional power and waste-handling facilities (incompatible in any event!!) are not conducive to revitalizing this impoverished rust-bucket city. Yachters and high rollers aren’t coming to a place where they’re surrounded by obnoxious infrastructure and where they put themselves at risk for personal/property harm…
Bridgeport is a by heritage and resource description, a working-class, manufacturing-center port city that should be making tangible things of value and shipping them out to the rest of the world. Such a description of Bridgeport’s role in the world has always defined our prosperity — when we could claim the existence of such. When we had full employment at good, local jobs — with a real, commercial tax base — we had the atmosphere and wherewithal of a local populace to support a rich, renowned assortment of regional entertainment venues.
Now, as a generally troubled, socioeconomically/politically distressed place that serves as the regional catch-basin for obnoxious, property-devaluing infrastructure and services, we are in no position to support contraindicated, heavily subsidized, unproductive vanity development and regional-workforce housing.
We only have to take stock of the condition of our downtown and other, former commercial corridors to realize that Bridgeport is presently map-less and politically rudderless — and serving as regional prey for development that is contraindicated for our municipal well-being.
Energy-themed manufacturing jobs, port-facility/rail shipping development — with a heliport/air-drone port at Sikorsky Airport — are what (among other things) could produce a real future for Bridgeport… With these in place, people with yachts might want to dock here…
To have these things realized here, we need entirely new political leadership, as well as new agendas in Hartford and DC.
IN with the NEW; OUT with the OLD!
Happy New Year! (Happy Bicentennial Bridgeport!…)