Tax Abatement Public Hearing On Tap For Next Phase Of Steelpointe Harbor Redevelopment–Housing, Hotel, Retail

File image, Steelpointe Harbor, June 2021.

A public hearing will take place Monday night featuring 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.

See Resolution_Authorizing_Tax_Incentive_Development_Agreement_Steelpointe_Residential_Development_11.30.2021 (3)

This phase is considered the linchpin of the harbor redevelopment that features Bass Pro Shops, the Hornblower Group, North Sails, Bridgeport Boatworks, full-service marina, Boca Oysters Bar, Starbucks, Chipotle, T-mobile, and associated construction jobs.

Steel Point, 1936
Neighborhood once looked like this. A 1936 photo of the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area in the East End with pluming power plant. Image courtesy Bridgeport History Center, Bridgeport Public Library.

The project is owned and operated by Bridgeport Landing Development led by Robert Christoph Jr. and his father who’ve managed waterfront real estate developments along the East Coast and Caribbean.

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase were among investors participating in a recent sale of $48 million worth of revenue bonds to provide the resources to start building the towers and hotel, expected to commence spring 2022, upon approval of the tax abatement.

“We look forward to the next couple of years as vertical construction continues, new businesses and new jobs are created, and the hotel and housing towers begin to welcome visitors and residents to a new live, work and play Connecticut waterfront neighborhood,” says Christoph Jr.

While this current construction phase attracts market rate housing with views of Long Island Sound, the Christophs have partnered with Bridgeport Neighborhood Together to create 45 workforce housing units toward the required 10 percent allotment of what is being built on the 44-acre redevelopment area that once housed a power plant cutting off water access.

From 2018, Robert Christoph Sr. and Jr. overlooking Steelpointe Harbor in background, prior to site build out.

Another 44 units proposed on East Main Street, they say, have been submitted for approval.

The Christophs have also partnered with Bridgeport-based, minority-owned Ashlar Construction for the mixed-use development in the East End that includes a grocery store in the food desert neighborhood.

The Christophs have gradually transformed the area into a top 10 taxpayer, according to a review of city tax assessment records.

Vessel maintenance now includes Bridgeport Boatworks and Hornblower Group.

It’s been a long time coming powering through cynics but the vision of transforming a troubled area is now coalescing. The redevelopment was first proposed in 1983 under the administration of Republican Mayor Lenny Paoletta. Nothing much happened on the site for more than a decade. In the mid 1990s under the first mayoral tenure of Joe Ganim, eminent domain initiatives and parcel purchases started the process for site clearance. The Christophs arrived on the scene as developers about 20 years ago. Over the ensuing years the city and developer worked through land disposition agreements that set forth parcel acquisitions, site clearance, remediation, bulkhead work and development timetable. The national economy tanked in 2008, once again slowing progress.

New York Harbor ferries serviced in Bridgeport.

After decades of starts and stops, doubters abounded. City, state and federal officials announced millions in grants for infrastructure improvements. A major breakthrough came in the summer of 2012 when the mayoral administration of Bill Finch announced the site had hooked Bass Pro Shops, the mega outdoor retailer, for its first urban store featuring a marine theme. It opened in November 2015.

Summer boat show.

The past few years, a public boardwalk, restaurant and full-service 220-slip marina hosting annual yacht shows bolstered a brighter face to the waterfront. In addition, the Christophs recruited key ancillary components to Bridgeport’s waterfront such as Bridgeport Boatworks, Hornblower Group and North Sails that include refurbishing yachts and maintaining ferries serving New York Harbor

Following the public hearing Monday night, a joint council committee is expected to take up the matter December 29. If the tax abatement is approved, it will go to the full council for ratification in January.

What happens if the council does not pass the tax abatement? This housing and hotel phase will not commence, say supporters of the plan, because the economics don’t work without it.

See council agenda here.

Addendum here.

This meeting will be conducted by Teleconference at 7 p.m.
The public may listen by calling the following conference line and then
entering the conference code:
Dial-In Number: (929) 436-2866
Meeting ID: 381 083 245



  1. I understand how RCI Group (Christof) adds value to Steelpointe but I don’t understand how they take risk without a tax abatement. Beware the risk-free developer. Anyone can have a vision when armed with a tax break, a decade-old blueprint and a $48M bond but execution is the true success metric. They won’t execute without the removal of risk.
    Without struggle nothing is possible.
    CC, are you gung-ho for the status quo?
    Your first vote counts.


    1. Local, I can’t really speak on having a true understanding of this agreement or the risks/benefits to the city or RCI. I barely read it and wouldn’t understand if I did, but it seems reasonable considering other tax abatements where the city gives the keys to the candy store away and then some on deals/projects in the city.

      2 million in fees, 1.3 million (ish) manually with a 2 % annual increase until mature at 1.5 million (ish), for ten years. (I think)

      I am sure JML can touch on some of the losses the city has taken on deals at the city taxpayers’ expense. 🙂

      I somewhat remember JML going on about some 350 million in bonding that cost the city close to a billion, not sure what the city got for that billion. 🙂

      JML, This is where you come in. What do you think of the numbers?

      To Harvey’s point.

      BTY Lennie, you should do your next Only and Bridgeport book on old photos the Port liked the one old plant at Steel point with the updated ones. A then and now/history book about the Port. That might bring some coins. 🙂

      P.S keep your description informative but brief for the avid like me and the swipe and lick generation of today. 🙂

      Bam I am out of here. 🙂


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