Board of Aldermen Approves Development Agreement, New Zoning for Downtown Crossing
(8/6/2012) Setting the stage for the largest downtown development project in City history, the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously August 6 to approve new zoning for the entire 10.5-acre Downtown Crossing site, and the project’s first development agreement for 2.5-acres of land to be known as 100 College Street.
At 9 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, August 7, elected officials, business leaders and community advocates will hold a press conference at the top of the Air Rights Garage overlooking the Downtown Crossing site to discuss this momentous vote and the next steps to move this project forward. Mayor John DeStefano Jr., State Senator Martin Looney, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Developer Carter Winstanley, and Gateway Community College President Dorsey Kendrick will speak and dozens of community members and business leaders are expected to attend.
Downtown Crossing reclaims 10.5 acres of land currently underutilized by the Route 34 Connector. The first phase of Downtown Crossing and the construction of 100 College Street are expected to generate up to 2,000 construction jobs, 600 to 960 permanent jobs, and millions of dollars in spin-off economic development activity at suppliers, restaurants and other supporting businesses in the City that will create and support an additional 2,700 jobs.
“Since the 2008 recession, no city in Connecticut and few in the Northeast have matched New Haven’s population and job growth. New Haven has led the state in grand list growth each of the last three years. City commercial and residential occupancy rates are at an all time high. Tonight’s vote assures that New Haven will continue on that trajectory for years to come as the Downtown Crossing project brings thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in economic development activity to the City,” said Mayor John DeStefano Jr.
The first phase of the Downtown Crossing effort is partially funded by a $16 million competitive federal TIGER II grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Phase one will close exits two and three and will convert the old Route 34 connector at North and South Frontage roads into an urban boulevard for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. College Street will then be reconstructed at grade level, literally paving the way for the development at 100 College Street. Removing the highway will reconnect Downtown, the medical district, Union Station, and the Hill neighborhood, as the City breaks down the physical barriers that have made it uninviting for people to walk to or from Downtown. In reclaiming the Route 34 Connector, Downtown Crossing introduces 15 Complete Street design elements. Some noteworthy design features include bike lanes, bike boxes at intersections, 10-foot travel lanes, raised intersections, raised crosswalks, raised traffic islands and exclusive pedestrian walk phases. Design continues on the next phase of infrastructure work, which includes new street connections at Temple Street and Orange Street to be constructed in future years.
In the first development agreement of Downtown Crossing, the State of Connecticut will convey land at 100 College Street to the City, which will then immediately convey the parcel to Winstanley Enterprises. The 2.5-acre 100 College Street site is currently located between College Street, Martin Luther King Drive, College Street and South Frontage Road. The land is owned by the State and is used as a roundabout at the end of the eastern section of Route 34. Winstanley will develop the site into a 426,000 square-foot office, and lab, with ground level retail space. The development agreement requires Winstanley Enterprises to comply with the City's small construction business program requirements and the City's construction workforce hiring goals for New Haven residents, minorities, and women. In the development agreement, Winstanley Enterprises also commits funding toward workforce and career development efforts in New Haven. As with many successful development projects recently, the building will be designed and built in an environmentally responsible manner to LEED Silver standards.
Aided by $51 million in assistance from Governor Malloy’s First Five program, Alexion will relocate its global headquarters to 100 College Street in New Haven by 2015. In doing so, Alexion will bring more than 350 employees to New Haven and add as many as 300 new jobs by 2017. Alexion's receipt of competitive First Five funding is supported as well by the Governor's Bioscience Connecticut initiative which seeks to expand and improve the state's research and development capacity. Alexion began in 1992 as a small startup based in Science Park. It soon outgrew that location and relocated to Cheshire in 2000. In returning to its New Haven roots, Alexion is joining a strong and growing cadre of New Haven-based cutting-edge bioscience and medical research companies.
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