This past Monday, Alexion Pharmaceuticals broke ground on its new global headquarters in Downtown New Haven. Taking nine of the eleven stories in the 100 College Street project, Alexion will relocate 350 employees to the new building and expects to hire two to three hundred more employees in the coming years.
Alexion is a world class company, founded in New Haven in 1992 by Dr. Leonard Bell, a practicing physician and researcher then on faculty at Yale School of Medicine. Alexion's work helps patients across the world who are in need of new medicines to treat rare and severe diseases. It is big news and an honor for the people of New Haven, the region and the entire state of Connecticut to share a community with them. We should all support Alexion's success in the coming years.
And as we look forward it is worth considering why this ground breaking is very different from so many others that I have been part of over the last nearly 20 years.
First is the location of the new building. 100 College Street is being built on what was formerly an active part of the Route 34 highway. Route 34 was conceived in the heyday of America's Urban Renewal efforts. Thousands of families and hundreds of businesses were uprooted; and with lots of dead ends, parking lots and a highway to nowhere, Route 34 ultimately did huge damage to the fabric of the city. Union Station, Grace (now Yale) New Haven Hospital, the Yale School of Medicine and the Hill neighborhood all were separated from the central business district.
Over time it is extremely important to our economic interest to continue the removal of Route 34 as far back as the interchange with I-95/91 as soon possible and to knit the central business district, the medical district, the Hill, Union Station and Harbor back together. Over time this can be done and it will create great opportunities for dense, meaningful job and tax intensive development to occur.
Second, if we seek to promote dense development as a city should, we must all act to promote transit alternatives as opposed to autos. Think of any great city and you will find robust transit systems with easy point-to-point connections. Over the last 20 years much has been done. A second rail station at State Street, miles of bike lanes, the Farmington Canal Greenway, transit oriented changes to the city's zoning code and Street Smart pedestrian safety programs have all been accomplished.
However, much remains to be been done. Expansion of rail service, parking and the re-merchandising at Union Station, growth of the runway to support airline service at Tweed Airport, a bike sharing program, further expansion of bikeways and amenities and more efficient rail service all are smart investments that will support more jobs and new tax revenues for New Haven.
Third, as we consider Alexion's presence in the city it is well worth to consider how work in New Haven is changing. At the core of our economy is our great research University and Medical School, complemented by the clinical practices at Yale New Haven Hospital, now the nation's 4th largest hospital by bed count. The globally-significant research at that the University and Medical School is now being commercialized at for profit companies. This then supports job growth at new, innovative companies in close proximity to the University. The accompanying demand for support services, such as hotels, material suppliers, printers, etc, has created even more jobs in a distinct, competitive and growth oriented New Haven economy. And what is the point of new jobs if are own residents don't have the best shot to get them.
Our kids need to be prepared for the jobs of this new economy, not the economy of the Winchester's Gun factory. If our kids are to succeed today they must be prepared to continue their education and training past high school into two and four year colleges, technical schools and towards lifelong learning. New Haven School Change has earned national recognition for our leadership in reducing the drop out rate, college going and graduation. New Haven's collaborative and comprehensive approach to school reform must persist if our kids are to succeed in today's economy. New Haven must be organized around outcomes and accountability to these results. We must continue and grow what works and thoughtfully redesign what doesn't. All of us have the responsibility and self interest to be part of New Haven School Change, to investigate for themselves what is going on in our schools and to advocate for our young people.
I have been to a lot of ground breakings over the last 19-plus years. Alexion is different. It is the herald of a competitive, sustainable future. However it is a future driven largely by the marketplace, not by government. And that is as it should be. Government's role, in turn, is a big one: by investing in infrastructure and world class transit assets. By being sure we provide an educational environment that promotes academic outcomes in our kids equal to the talent that God has given them. And by recognizing that we are all connected to one another and have a self interest in each others success. And that is a future well worth celebrating.
Free Shuttle Between Union Station and Downtown New Haven to Run on Weekend for the International estival of Arts and Ideas
The free shuttle service that provides a direct link between Union Station and Downtown New Haven will also be provided on weekends for the duration of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, through June 29th.
Typically used by commuters on weekdays, the free shuttle service is provided as a courtesy by Connecticut Transit.
The weekend schedule for the free shuttle will be from 11am to 11pm on Saturdays and 11am to 10pm on Sundays. The shuttle route runs from Union Station on Union Avenue, up North Frontage Road, Orange Street, Church Street, Chapel Street (the New Haven Green), Temple Street, George Street and State Street. It then heads back on Union Avenue to Union Station.
During the week, the shuttle runs from 6:15 am to 9:55 pm. The weekday schedule and route map can be found here: http://bit.ly/12RenM3
Here's What's Going on in the Elm City ...
nternational Festival of Arts and Ideas through June 29th, for schedule go here: http://artidea.org/calendar
Jun. 17-Jun 21.The String Quartet Truck. 12pm.
Jun. 20. David Byrne and St. Vincent. 8-10pm. www.shubert.com
Jun 15 - 23. A Midsummer Night's Dream. University Theatre. $30+ www.artidea.org
Jun 19.Twilight Concert Series. Pardee Morris House. 6-9pm. www.newhavenmuseum.org
June 20. "Dare To Write It" writing workshop w/Sandi Kahn Shelton New Haven Free Public Library. $5 at door. 6-7:30 pm. Register 203-946-8835.
Jun 20-29.Miss Julie. Yale Cabaret. $14-40. 8pm. http://www.summercabaret.com/missjulie.html
Jun 20, 21, 27, 28. Greater New Haven Pizza Fest. New Haven Green. 12-1:30pm.
June 22. Artist Gregory Maichack-"Paint Pastel Flowers," workshop for adults. Ives Main Library $30. 1-3pm. Register by Jun 12 at pastelworkshop.eventbrite.com
Jan. 22. Kronos Quartet. New Haven Green. 7pm. www.artidea.org.
June 25. a poetry event feat. Shaunda Holloway (Sekai) and Bolade S. Akintolayo and Ewuare X. Osayande.Ives Main Library 6pm.
Jun 25-Aug 27 (Tuesdays).Scottish Country Dancing. New Haven Friends Meeting House. $5. 7-10pm. http://rscdsnewhaven.org/
Jun 27. Project Storefronts Informational Session. 756 Chapel St.
Jun 29. Film Screening: An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. Artspace. $10. 7-9:30pm. www.artspacenh.org