Perhaps no development in the region has posed a more pleasant surprise than the Haven. A 350,000-square-foot development housing 100 “high-end” stores and restaurants, the Haven is expected to cost $200 million in West Haven’s Water Street district, off the Kimberly Avenue exit of I-95.
The developers — Greenwich-based Sheldon Gordon and Dallas real estate investor Ty Miller — have cobbled together a 25-acre waterfront location from more than 20 property owners and are expected to break ground in 2015 with an opening date slated for 2016.
Today the area decidedly low-end and industrial, a neighborhood best known for the tiny but popular Sandbar Seafood restaurant, a no-tell motel, a marina and on Water Street itself the Bilco Co.
The City of West Haven, which has sold 4.7 acres to the developer, projects that 1,200 jobs will be created by the development and will yield $3 million in annual tax revenues.
Developer Gordon has undertaken successful high-end projects across the country including the Shops at Mohegan Sun, new outlet stores at Foxwoods Resort Casino, the Bridgemarket in Manhattan and the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, thought to be the most successful mall in the country.
Access-door manufacturer Bilco is among the companies that will be selling land for the new development. Bilco is exploring a new location in West Haven and beyond. The company says it needs approximately 12,000 square feet for its headquarters’ 65 employees. Bilco’s manufacturing is no longer done in Connecticut, but in Truman, Ark. and at a recently opened plant in Zanesville, O.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided $200,000 for brownfield remediation on Water Street, at the site of a former oil company. The feds and the state together granted $2 million in 2012 for the West River bulkhead reconstruction project, a 462-foot section of the 1,400-foot wooden bulkhead at 105 Water Street with a new steel bulkhead, which consists of a piling of steel sheets and stands 11 feet above sea level. The project, which is expecting to have a 2,000-car surface parking lot, will require substantial transportation improvements in the area.
Gordon has said negotiations with state officials for better access from I-95 have commenced.
The project is minutes away from Sargent Drive, retail giant Ikea store and the soon-to-be built Jordan’s Furniture. Jordan’s is owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Co., which bought the former New Haven Register headquarters and is expected to have four co-tenants. Jordan’s has a reputation for creating an atypical shopping experience featuring laser shows and an IMAX theater in some locations. The “Disneyland of Furniture Experience” is expected to draw shoppers from far beyond greater New Haven.
The New Haven Register, which now jobs out its printing to the Hartford Courant, is relocating and downsizing from its longtime 220,000-square-foot home on Sargent Drive to the 18,000-square-foot former Star Supply building at 100 Gando Drive in North Haven. The Register first considered a downtown location but even an arm-twisting attempt by city Economic Development Administrator Matt Nemerson couldn’t convince the Register’s Pennsylvania-based parent company to move downtown in the face of higher rents, limited parking and a dearth of available space.
Nevertheless, the Haven’s 100 stores, “world-class” restaurants” and their big-box neighbors will present tough new competition for both downtown New Haven and Westfield’s Trumbull and Milford malls as well as outlet centers in Clinton and Westbrook.