BRIDGEPORT — It took 30 months of talking to make it a reality. But finally, on October 7 it was announced that the University of Connecticut athletic department and Centerplate, which operates the Webster Bank Arena, had agreed to terms that would permit the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams to play one game each at the Bridgeport arena during the 2013-14 season.

 

As a result, the UConn men will play Eastern Washington at 1 p.m. on December 28, while the Lady Huskies will host Temple January 11 at noon. The games will make the first time either squad has played a regular season “home” game outside of Hartford or Storrs since 1987.

 

(The UConn women’s team played early-round NCAA tournament games in Bridgeport in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2013.)

 

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch first broached the idea of the Huskies coming to the Park City with Harbor Yard Sports & Entertainment President Howard Saffin after Centerplate purchased the operating agreement for the arena in March 2011. At the time the basketball teams had an exclusivity clause with Hartford’s XL Center that made it the only venue for home games not played at Gampel Pavilion on the Storrs campus. That agreement has since expired.

 

There are some 30,000 UConn alumni living in Fairfield County. They include Mark Shenkman of Greenwich, who donated a reported $3 million to the UConn football program and another $2 million to the basketball practice facility.

 

Tickets for both games will go on sale on October 18. For more information call the Click It or Ticket Box Office at (203) 345-2300.

 WINDSOR LOCKS — American Airlines has begun daily non-stop service from Bradley Airport to Los Angeles (LAX). “American is excited to offer daily nonstop service between Bradley International Airport and our Los Angeles hub,” said Dale Morris, American’s Regional Vice President – Government Affairs.  “This schedule will give customers in the Hartford area convenient access to Los Angeles and allow them to connect through this key international gateway to destinations throughout the American Airlines and Oneworld global network.  We’ve been very pleased with our partnership with Bradley Airport and are excited to extend it with this new service.”

American Flight 1353 departs Bradley at 9:20 a.m. and arrives in Los Angeles at 12:35 p.m. Inbound from Los Angeles, Flight 1354 is scheduled to depart at 11:55 p.m. and arrive at Bradley at 8:10 a.m.

 Officials bullish on new airport incentive zone

 

OXFORD — Inquiries about the new economic development incentive zone at Waterbury-Oxford Airport are flooding into the Oxford economic development office.

“My phone is ringing off the hook and I have triple digit e-mails,” says Andrew McGeever, the town’s economic development director.

The upsurge of interest began on August 12 when  Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the Connecticut Airport Authority had voted unanimously to create the incentive zone, which provides a local tax abatement for five years as well as a ten-year tax credit. The abatement covers 80 percent abatement of local property taxes on real and personal property. The tax credit ranges from 25 percent to 50 percent on a portion of the state’s corporate business tax.

The state’s busiest general aviation airport, Waterbury-Oxford provides maintenance, fuel, storage and support facilities for corporate jets and single- and multi-engine aircraft. Some 6,500 aircraft used the airport in 2010, when it generated more than 2,374 jobs and $235.4 million in economic activity, including $113.9 million of labor income and $7.9 million in state tax revenues. 

McGeever says the Waterbury/Oxford Airport economic development incentive zone encompasses a two-mile radius around the airport — roughly 2,500 acres of undeveloped land. Around 80 percent of the zone is in Oxford; the rest is in Middlebury and Southbury.

“This is a big incentive for the heavy industrial companies,” McGeever says. In addition to manufacturers, he is hoping to attract technology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as those seeking administrative office  space.

“The fourth area I think we can do very well in is big data companies,” McGeever adds. “It’s a great location — two hours from Boston, an hour from New York City and half an hour from New Haven and Danbury.”

Businesses already in the zone include GoGreen Technologies Corp., Villa Sistemi Medicali, B. United International Inc. and Roller Bearing Company of America, which recently added 28,000 square feet to double the size of its world headquarters.

The new incentive zone is Connecticut’s second surrounding an airport. In 2010 the state legislature created the Bradley Airport Development Zone, covering parts of East Granby, Windsor, Windsor Locks and Suffield. The Connecticut Airport Authority was established in 2011 to operate Bradley and the state's five general aviation airports.

McGeever is upbeat about the prospects for the Waterbury/Oxford economic development incentive zone.  “We are anticipating 10,000 jobs over the next ten years,” he says, “and many, many millions in tax revenues.”


NEW HAVEN — Six years after its predecessor was razed, ground was broken September 16 on a new two-story, hurricane-resistant boathouse at the site of the former Canal Dock shipping pier. Paid for by state and federal government funds, the new $37-million facility will be a replica of the historic George Adee Memorial Boathouse, which was demolished in 2007 to allow for the expansion of Interstate 95 along the harbor.

 

The structure, designed by the firm of Gregg Wies & Gardner Architects, is expected to be completed in 2015.

 

The original Yale boathouse on New Haven Harbor was erected in 1911, and Yale crew members rowed out of the structure until the crew team relocated to Derby in 1923, where it continue rowing to this day. After the nation’s oldest crew team left for the Valley, the boathouse was sold and converted to office space.

 WALLINGFORD — Customers of the United Illuminating Co. (UI) and Connecticut Light & Power Co. (CL&P) can help Operation Fuel by having a home energy assessment performed.

Competitive Resources Inc. (CRI) of Wallingford will donate $25 to the non-profit energy assistance program for every UI and CL&P customer who mentions Operation Fuel when they schedule and complete a home energy assessment with CRI.

Operation Fuel is a private, nonprofit program that provides emergency energy assistance through a statewide network of more than 100 fuel banks to lower-income working families, the elderly and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis and not eligible for energy assistance from government-funded programs. This is Connecticut’s only year-round emergency energy assistance program.

“Energy assistance isn’t just for keeping people warm in the winter,” explained Operation Fuel Executive Director Patricia Wrice. “It is equally important to help families in the warmer weather. A home without electricity or heat is unhealthy and not safe any time of the year.”

For a co-pay of $75 for customers who heat with electricity or natural gas and $99 for customers who heat with oil, the home energy assessment provides homeowners with an average of $1,000 in services and installed products that will help make their homes more energy efficient and lower their energy bills by an average of $200 annually.

This energy efficiency service is provided as part of the Energize Connecticut initiative and the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund’s Home Energy Solutions (HES) program, which is administered by CL&P and UI. Competitive Resources is an authorized Home Energy Solutions provider for all participating electric, gas, and municipal utilities in Connecticut.

During the home energy assessment, CRI technicians will make energy-saving improvements that include identifying and sealing air leaks and drafts, installing improved lighting and water-saving devices, and analyzing appliances and insulation.

UI and CL&P customers can schedule an appointment by calling 888-403-3500 or by visiting criprograms.com/operationfuel/.

 HAMDEN — The Hamden Chamber of Commerce is offering an escorted tour of Tuscany, Italy next spring. Tuscany is home to some of the most famous tourist attractions in all of Italy, including the cities of Florence, Pisa and Sienna. The nine-day trip will begin next March 20 and cost $2,499. Travelers (who needn’t be Hamden Chamber members) who submit a deposit of $450 by September 1 will save $100 on the trip cost. Included in the price is round-trip airfare, first-class hotel stays, ten meals, sightseeing per itinerary, admissions per itinerary, professional tour manager, baggage handling and hotel transfers.

To learn more about the tour phone 203-288-6431 or visit hamdenchamber.com.

 SHELTON — When most people think of “sustainability,” the first things that come to mind are environmental issues. But when it comes to sustainability in business, its practices can be embedded into a company and used as a means of keeping a business running for the long term.

Such was the aim of the first Sustainability Base Camp for business leaders, which took place in New York City in April for executives in the media industry. The event was held by South Deerfield, Mass.-based sustainability consulting and reporting firm Burns & Hammond, and sponsored by media auditing firm BPA, of Shelton.

Karl Pfalzgraf, vice president of (yes) sustainability for BPA, was one of the event’s featured speakers. He says environmental issues are only part of the picture, which includes creating value, keeping in touch with stakeholders, and prioritizing how to solve problems.

“Most people do not have a complete understanding of sustainability,” Pfalzgraf says. “Once you move past the idea of that it’s about saving whales and hugging trees, you find it’s rooted in the idea of creating value for your business.

Pfalzgraf says each industry has its own issues. For the media industries, he says, a widely held belief is that transitioning from print to digital will be more environmentally sound. But electronic devices raise their own ecological issues — e.g., the energy burned to power data centers, the disposal of computers and gadgets.

The point, he says, is getting executives to think through environmental issues, get feedback from shareholders — employees, suppliers, government officials, etc. — and develop an approach to keep their business valuable and sustainable for the long haul.

“It’s how you prioritize issues and respond to them,” Pfalzgraf says. “We focus on the issues that hamper a corporation’s ability to generate long-term value.”

Pfalzgraf says the feedback he received from the relatively small group of roughly 25 executives from companies such as the Hearst Corp. was positive and helpful in instilling new perspectives.

“I know they had their minds opened, and I hope they go back and embed those practices in their organizations,” he says.

 STORRS — The University of Connecticut is the state’s largest university, and now according to some, it’s also the greenest.

The folks at Sierra magazine recently ranked the Storrs school seventh among the ten “Coolest Schools” in the country, a list that details the greenest of the green institutes of higher learning.

UConn led the pack this year for a litany of reasons, including the school’s 600 sustainability-related classes, with more than 40 percent of research faculty providing original academic work benefiting the environment.

The feature makes note of the fact that since 2005 the school has cut water use by 15 percent, retrofitted a number of buildings to reduce thousands of tons carbon emissions annually, and has a Forest Committee that maintains more than 2,000 acres of open space off campus.

Sierra also pointed out that the school sources more than a quarter of its food from within a 100-mile radius, with foods like honey, eggs and seasonal produce harvested on campus, as well as trayless dining halls in which 30 percent of meal options are vegetarian.

“UConn’s commitment to environmental sustainability is a core part of fulfilling our mission as a land and sea grant university,” said UConn President Susan Herbst in a statement.

UConn beat out Dickinson College in Pennsylvania as well as three University of California campuses, Cornell and Stanford universities, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The school also recently opened its $25 million reclaimed water facility in July, which can treat up to one million gallons of wastewater each day for use in the university’s power plant, which conserves drinking-quality water.