Groundbreaking Delayed On Outlet Shoppes At Rentschler Field
EAST HARTFORD — The groundbreaking for The Outlet Shoppes at Rentschler Field has been delayed as the developer waits to hear if it will get financial assistance through a quasi-public group that invests state money, a city official said this week.
Groundbreaking for the mall had been planned for late this fall for an early 2017 opening.
However, Town Council Chairman Richard Kehoe said on Tuesday that the groundbreaking has been pushed back as the developer waits for an answer from Connecticut Innovations on whether the group will invest in the outlet mall."The state is reviewing the project in order to make a determination of whether to provide financial assistance," Kehoe said.
It was not clear how much money the developer, Horizon Group Properties Inc., is seeking from Connecticut Innovations.
A representative from Horizon Group confirmed on Tuesday that there is no groundbreaking scheduled but declined to comment on the request for financial assistance.
Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-public entity, receives state money and invests in Connecticut companies and developments that benefit an entire region. A spokeswoman, Lauren Carmody, said Connecticut Innovations is in the contract stage of beginning an economic feasibility study that will examine whether The Outlet Shoppes at Rentschler Field is a smart investment for the state.
She said there is no time line for when the study might be completed or when Connecticut Innovations would make a decision regarding financial assistance.
"There has been no determination in terms of funding," Carmody said. "There has been no commitment on our end."
"With many of these large projects we look at the income they generate," she said. "We want to make sure the investments we are making are good for the state."
Carmody said the study would look at the economic impact to the state, including how much the development would generate in taxes, how many jobs the outlet would create, and any other potential benefits to the region. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
Plan calls for Connecticut to spend $200 million to improve Wilbur Cross Parkway tunnel
NEW HAVEN >> A state plan to repair the 66-year-old tunnel that carries the Wilbur Cross Parkway through West Rock involves drilling a third tube through the trap rock ridge.
The project, part of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s statewide transportation plan, could cost “somewhere upwards of $200 million,” according to Tom Maziarz, chief of planning for the state Department of Transportation. The state Bond Commission recently approved $2 million for preliminary design work, which Maziarz said will be complete by 2019. Improvements to Exit 59 on the parkway (Route 15) may be included in the job, he said.
The tunnel, built in 1949 and named the Heroes Tunnel in 2003, consists of two quarter-mile-long tubes and is in dire need of repair, Maziarz said Wednesday. “It’s always damp, it’s always got groundwater flowing around it or through it,” he said. Chunks of concrete have fallen and illumination is poor, according to the state. And there are no shoulders, so making repairs requires tying up traffic.
Traffic tie-ups also would be major if both directions of traffic were routed through one tube while the other was being rebuilt, Maziarz said. “Do you want to put everyone through pain for up to five years, real significant pain?” he asked.
Under the DOT’s plan, a third tube will be built to modern specifications, including space for a future additional lane, and northbound traffic then will be transferred to it permanently. One of the original tubes then will be reconstructed. The second original tube, which would not be upgraded, would then be available if repair work needed to be done on the working tubes or during an emergency.
State Senate Minority Leader Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, who has been critical of the governor’s spending plans, said he didn’t think drilling a new tunnel would be the best way to go. “To create another tunnel seems a little bit egregious,” Fasano said. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE
New Haven ground-breaking a step toward new Farnam Courts
NEW HAVEN >> Replacement of the deteriorated Farnam Courts housing project was one step closer to reality with a ground-breaking Wednesday for a portion of it in Fair Haven Heights.
The new Farnam Courts will be the third successful partnership using public and private funds to build sustainable public housing in the city under the state Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, HUD and local officials said.
Karen DuBois-Walton, executive director of Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of New Haven, said over the years they have found what kind of public housing and programs help low-income families the most, a model that they keep replicating.
Farnam Courts, now located on Grand Avenue, is being rebuilt over three sites.
The current tenants will have first shot at the replacement units. If they don’t want to take them, they will be given a Section 8 voucher to live anywhere in the country.A total of 57 apartments will be split between the East View Terrace site in Fair Haven Heights and the former Cott factory between Rowe and Ferry streets in Fair Haven.
There will be 27 two-bedroom units, 28 three-bedroom units, and 2 four-bedroom units totaling $30 million. When all phases of the Farnam Redevelopment are completed, 228 affordable RAD family units, 5,900 square feet of commercial space, a new community center and new park will be built.
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