News Flash

West Haven News

Posted on: November 9, 2018

Sale of waterfront park brings The Haven a step closer

Bayview Park Check Presentation 012 (Small)

PHOTO — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi heralds the sale of the city-owned Bayview Park property to The Haven Group LLC by presenting a $257,500 check on behalf of the developer to Finance Director Ronald Cicatelli on Friday, Nov. 9, at City Hall.

Joining them are, from left, city Treasurer Michael P. Last, Planning and Development Commissioner Fred A. Messore, state Reps. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, and Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven, and city Corporation Counsel Lee Tiernan.

When completed, The Haven, a $200 million, 261,182-square-foot luxury outlet center, will cover 26 waterfront acres that will feature dozens of upscale retail shops, restaurants, a promenade and a 200-seat amphitheater.

(City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

WEST HAVEN, Nov. 9, 2018 — Mayor Nancy R. Rossi heralded the sale of the city-owned Bayview Park property to the developer of The Haven for $257,500 during a check presentation Friday, Nov. 9, at City Hall.

Rossi presented the check on behalf of The Haven Group LLC to Finance Director Ronald Cicatelli in the third-floor City Council chambers as city and state officials looked on.

Joining the mayor and Cicatelli were state Reps. Charles J. Ferraro, R-West Haven, and Michael A. DiMassa, D-West Haven, as well as city Treasurer Michael P. Last, Corporation Counsel Lee Tiernan and Planning and Development Commissioner Fred A. Messore.

After weeks of negotiations, the city and The Haven Group agreed to terms on the sale of the .87-acre parcel at Water and Main streets for $257,500. The price represents an amount slightly higher than the appraised value, said Rossi, who thanked the developer for agreeing to the terms.

Although a development agreement between West Haven and The Haven Group more than three years ago included the sale of the waterfront park, the city was obligated to resolve several issues related to the property’s title before the sale could take place.

“One of my first actions as mayor was to demand that the corporation counsel do what was necessary, as quickly as possible, to complete the sale of this park because The Haven Group told me it was a necessary component for the development of the upscale waterfront shopping experience,” Rossi said. “The Haven Group has made clear that the sale of the park by the city of West Haven was necessary before any development would take place.”

The Haven Group received site plan approval from the city Planning and Zoning Commission in July, which included sidewalk improvements to the neighborhood.

Two months later, the state Bond Commission approved $5 million in funding for the reconstruction of Elm Street — the future entrance of the $200 million, 261,182-square-foot luxury outlet center.

The National Park Service granted the city relief from its Urban Park and Recreation Recovery grant obligations concerning Bayview Park in August.

West Haven will now make improvements to the city-owned park on Contact Drive, off South Street in West Shore, as part of the approval with the federal agency.

The Park Service’s approval process required the preparing and filing of an application package earlier this year with its Philadelphia office, along with compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act and approvals from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Further consultation and negotiation with the Park Service this year was completed by city staff, without the use of private consultants, Rossi said.

The Haven Group also recently agreed to reimburse West Haven for the cost of city attorney fees for the project as part of the negotiated sale, she said.

After a comprehensive review, Bayview Park was not found to have any significant historic value. Only a half-acre of the parcel is land that can be developed, city officials said.

Access to the waterfront by the public will remain as part of the proposed development.

Rossi said the project is a great example of a public-private partnership.

State and federal funds for the site included a $200,000 environmental cleanup in 2007, a $2 million bulkhead reconstruction in 2012 and a $2 million brownfield cleanup in 2016, as well as the recent state bond money. In addition, a real estate property tax abatement agreement was negotiated in 2015.

“All of our state delegation, the governor, the federal delegation and other public partners have been helpful and essential, and we are grateful,” Rossi said. “For its part, the developer has spent in excess of $32 million on the project since it was first pitched to then-Mayor John M. Picard in 2012 by Sheldon M. Gordon, who is now deceased.”

When completed, the project will cover 26 waterfront acres that will feature dozens of luxury retail shops, restaurants, a promenade and a 200-seat amphitheater. It is expected to generate between 800 and 1,200 jobs and several million dollars in municipal tax revenue and fees.

— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator

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Bayview Park at Water and Main streets overlooking New Haven Harbor. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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