Ganim touts major developments across city

This article originally appeared in the Connecticut Post.

 

The future of Bridgeport’s business climate and economic development are brighter than ever before, according to Mayor Joe Ganim.

In his third State of the City address since he returned to office in 2015, Ganim attributed recent progress in citywide development to a trove of completed and ongoing projects — many that predate his administration.

“While a number of major businesses have announced that they are leaving the state, here in Bridgeport others are moving in and bringing with them millions of dollars in investments and jobs,” Ganim said, stating that his administration has been hard at work to attract investors and new businesses to the Park City to fuel its growth.

According to Ganim, more than $2.5 billion worth of proposed projects are either under construction or ready to break ground this year.

While retail and commercial hub development have become a focus in recent months with new businesses setting up shop in downtown Bridgeport, a number of projects geared toward increasing the apartment stock are coming through the pipeline. More than 400 units of housing are expected to be added to Bridgeport’s rental market as projects like the Cherry Street Lofts, Crescent Crossings, Windward Commons and the Jayson-Newfield building progress.

According to Ganim, the city recently closed on a $25 million financing package for the Jayson-Newfield project in the city’s Downtown North neighborhood, with plans to convert the Main Street building into more than 100 apartments with 8,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space.

“This huge urban redevelopment project will not only create jobs but will add to the city’s tax base and skyline,” Ganim said.

The downtown Bridgeport dining scene, which has struggled with quick arrivals and departures in the past, has seen a series of new eateries set up shop like the Funchal American, Eat Noodle, and Harlan Haus in McLevy Square, which will also be welcoming the Stress Factory Comedy Club next door in coming weeks. Looking ahead, developers are gearing up to break ground on the outdoor amphitheater in the former Bluefish ballpark, which would add another draw to the area.

Stepping outside of downtown, areas like the East Side are also seeing commercial growth at Steelpointe Harbor, with the frame of a $22 million waterfront building under construction with plans to include a boardwalk and restaurant.

According to Ganim, the second phase of that project, which is slated to bring 105 apartments to the area, is expected to begin later this year.

Long over-looked sites within the North and East End also have projects that are projected to come to fruition, with the redevelopment of the former Boys and Girls Club on Madison Avenue and the civic block along Stratford Avenue corridor.

That project is expected to bring a new retail complex and library to the area.

“It is our hope that this project will bring momentum and optimism for the future growth and development of that neighborhood,” Ganim said.

Even with the list of developments that are in the works, there are still a couple projects that have yet to be realized, like the renovation of the Poli and Majestic Theaters and highly-debated casino which still has to pass the legislature and perhaps the legal system.

While New York investors Exact Capitol are supposed to invest over $400 million into renovating the theaters, there haven’t been an visible changes to the either buildings.

“This huge urban redevelopment project will not only create jobs but will add to the city’s tax base and skyline,” Ganim said.

This article originally appeared in the Connecticut Post.