With boating season upon us Bridgeport Landing Development also known as Steelpointe is full steam ahead with the newest addition to Steelpointe Harbor, Bridgeport Boatworks.
(Bridgeport, CT) — Bridgeport City Council members braving an unusually cool April afternoon were warmed by the progress and vision for Steelpointe Harbor. They heard first hand from the principals of Bridgeport Landing Development (BLD) while standing under the shelter of the cavernous building at Bridgeport BoatYard, dwarfed by the new 75-ton and 200-ton Travel Lifts.
BLD Principle Robert Christoph Jr. outlined what Bridgeporters could expect in the months to come. Standing in front of renderings of current and future construction projects, Council members could see the new DockMaster Building under construction across the harbor at SteelPointe. Mr. Christoph talked about the infrastructure work that had to be done in order to begin vertical construction, pointing out the recently completed award-winning Bulkhead at Steelpointe Harbor.
The Dockmaster Building, which will serve as an anchor to the waterfront is Bridgeport Landing’s first waterfront building which will be completed later this year. The 48,000 sq. ft. building will have the office for the Marina on the first floor along with a restaurant opening onto the Harborwalk. BLD’s and other offices will fill the rest of the building, which will be completed later this year with the restaurant and Marina opening in the Spring of 2019. Christoph noted the Steelpointe Harbor Marina, which when completed will have about 200 slips. BLD hopes to bring boat shows and fishing tournaments to the Marina to enliven the waterfront.
Live, Work & Play
The first phase of the residential buildings will be located behind the Dockmasters building in the corridor bordered by Stratford Avenue, Pembroke and East Main Streets. The residential buildingis being designed with underground parking, retail at ground level and approximately 200 residential units above it. Christoph says the residential building will help to tie the previously built Bass Pro Shop, Starbuck’s, Chipotle, and T-Mobile retail locations north of Stratford Avenue to the waterfront. Groundbreaking for the residential phase will take place later this year with an 18-month construction schedule.
The council briefing took place at the site now called Bridgeport Shipyard. The two new travel lifts will be capable of lifting most of the ships that ply the Long Island Sound out of the water for storage, upgrades or inspections. Christoph said, “This will bring local jobs and serve as a good economic stimulus for Bridgeport making it a premier destination.” Bridgeport Shipyard will be up and running June 1st and will house and maintain both commercial and recreational vessels.
Bridgeport City Council President Aidee Nieves expressed her enthusiasm for the up and coming development by saying, “I am very excited to see all this happening. As a little girl, I would walk around this area, and never be able to get to the water…. this development has been up and coming since the 70’s and it’s finally a development that will have a residual impact.”
Between the residential waterfront lifestyle of SteelPointe and the maritime industrial positioning of the Bridgeport Boatyard, there is a possibility that the Bridgeport waterfront will become the home for a Fortune 300 Company, MGM Resorts International, to construct a 1.5 million square foot entertainment center with restaurants, shops, spa, hotel, and 100,000sf gaming floor on the old brownfield site at 837 Seaview Avenue. While the Steelpointe development will move ahead with or without the recent MGM development proposal, the Christoph’s are excited about its potential for the City and the State. That proposal would fuel the fastest and most exciting development Bridgeport has seen in decades, providing several thousand jobs while substantially adding to the City’s tax base.
In honor of this season of giving, Bridgeport Landing Development (Steelpointe Harbor) and Optimus Healthcare again hosted a Christmas gift giveaway on December 19, 2017, at the former Bank of America building on East Main Street for local families where several hundred children received gifts.
Families were treated to light refreshments, while children took turns taking photos with the big man himself, Mr. Santa Claus. Every child received a special gift and was also given a new coat or pajamas of
East Side City Councilwoman Maria Valle attended and expressed her thoughts about the important impact this event has on the local community. “There are families with hardships and needs living on the East Side and East End, and this event helps struggling residents give to their families this holiday
season”, said Valle.
“This a wonderful time to spread some Christmas joy,” added Steve Tyliszczak, Development Administrator for Bridgeport Landing Development, while reminiscing about his childhood growing up on the East Side of Bridgeport.
Nancy Pagan stated how this event helped her family, who has had a rough holiday season. “This is a wonderful event, especially for the kids. My family came from Puerto Rico, they lost everything during the hurricane and to have an event like this truly puts them in the Christmas spirit.”
Bridgeport Landing Development (Steelpointe) and OPTIMUS Healthcare hosted a Thanksgiving Turkey Drive on November 21, 2017 at the Raphola Taylor Center, an occasion dedicated to providing local residents with a Thanksgiving meal.
Through a generous donation from Steelpointe Harbor developers Robert Christoph Sr. and Robert Christoph Jr., OPTIMUS Healthcare was able to give away more than 150 turkeys, canned goods, and fresh produce to provide Bridgeport residents with a nutritious Thanksgiving dinner. All of the produce was bought at Compare Foods Supermarket, located on the East Side of Bridgeport. “We want to keep it here in Bridgeport. We want to grow local, buy local, shop local and give local. That’s what were all about”, stated Ludwig Spinelli, Chief Executive Officer of Optimus Healthcare.
Upon receiving the generous donation, North End parent Summer Cook stated, “I wasn’t going to be able to make Thanksgiving dinner for me and my 6 kids. Because of this event I will now be able to make a good Thanksgiving dinner which is important for me and my family.”
This is Steelpointe’s 10th year of involvement in this event. Steve Tyliszczak, Development Administrator for the Steelpointe Project said, “As a company, Bridgeport Landing recognizes the need for fresh produce and healthy foods in the Bridgeport area.” East End City councilman Ernie Newton added, “I think this event has a great impact because people are hurting and to have OPTIMUS and Steelpointe chip in with a Thanksgiving event puts smiles on people’s faces.”
Everyone knows the best way to learn is through hands-on experience, just ask the students in the Architecture Construction Engineering (ACE) program. On Thursday, November 16th, students and mentors from ACE visited Steelpointe to get a feel for the construction site.
ACE is an after-school program that gives high school students in the Bridgeport/Stratford area a hands-on introduction to architecture, construction management and engineering. Students are matched with mentors who are top professionals in their industry. Under the guidance of these mentors, students and their teams develop an actual engineering or architectural design project. This year, students are responsible for designing a real-to-life residential building based on the land specifications of the Steelpointe site.
Students and mentors toured Steelpointe and took photos to remember the specifics of their site walk while keeping their RFP and site plan in mind. Students are required to incorporate different site amenities from the construction site into their design. David Stone, an ACE mentor and architect from Antinozzi Associates, believes this experience is an opportunity for the students “to fully appreciate the efforts required to accomplish such a large-scale project and it was just a glimpse into a Master’s Class of how design and construction come together.”
Rewrite of articles created by Neil Vigdor and Hugh Bailey of the Connecticut PostBridgeport Landing Development (BLD), Bridgeport’s highest-profile landowner, says its Steelpointe properties are shovel-ready for developers who would love to build in the Park City. MGM Entertainment has now promised an investment of $675 million dollars in private funds for the development of a casino and entertainment complex with thousands of new jobs. That fits right in line with BLD principal Robert Christoph Sr’s vision for the Seaview Avenue site he owns across the harbor from the Steelpoint peninsula.
Bridgeport’s who’s who showed up for a Monday morning announcement by MGM Bridgeport. “This is exciting entertainment along the waterfront, it’s about jobs, about thousands of jobs,” said Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim.
The developers of MGM Bridgeport are promising to create at least 2,000 permanent jobs and an annual tax revenue stream of $316 million for the cash-strapped state upon completion of the hotel, casino, shopping center, boardwalk, and marina. An economic impact study commissioned by MGM and produced by Oxford Economics anticipates the creation of another 5,779 ancillary jobs in construction and local business.
Uri Clinton, senior vice president and legal counsel for MGM Resorts International said a 2021 opening date is being eyed by MGM, but for that to happen the Legislature and governor must re-open the approval process for a new casino “This is a real win for everyone in Bridgeport,” said Robert W. Christoph Jr., a principal of the RCI Group. “This will be a marquee waterfront development in the Northeast like no other.”
In addition to paying taxes on the slot and floor games, MGM has committed to pay a $50 million licensing fee to the state if the project gets the green light. Bridgeport will receive $8 million a year for hosting the casino to spend as it chooses, in addition to whatever percentage of casino tax revenues it receives from the state, MGM officials said.
The project renderings show a 10-story, 300-room hotel rising up along the harbor on the former Carpenter Technology property with a 900-foot long boardwalk along the waterfront, a marina and 30,000-square feet of retail space. The casino would occupy 100,000 square feet of space with 2,000 slot machines and 160 table games. While the resort would have a 700-seat theater, MGM officials say, the site isn’t large enough to build an arena or major performance venue. Casino executives added that Webster Bank Arena, which holds 10,000 spectators, would be a beneficiary of musical acts lined up by MGM.
MGM executives pointed to last December’s opening of MGM National Harbor in Prince George’s County Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., as a benchmark for the Bridgeport project. MGM officials said in a press release that Bridgeport, along with a project in Tokyo, are the company’s top two priorities. “I don’t know when those two cities were mentioned in the same sentence,” Clinton said.
GM officials promised not just any jobs, but well-paying positions with benefits and a chance for workers to get ahead.
“Our jobs bring competitive salaries,” said MGM Chairman Jim Murren, who was born in Bridgeport. “We pioneered corporate social responsibility in our industry,” he said. “We take seriously our opportunity to have an impact on our communities.”
(Bridgeport, CT) — City and State officials recently got a first-hand look at the construction taking place at Steelpointe Harbor in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Beneath the towering beams of the Dockmaster’s Building now under construction seven Council Members, elected State Officials and City Hall representatives got to hear from Bridgeport Landing Development’s Vice President of Development Mark Summers.
At the end of Pembroke Street, just a stone’s throw from the harbor, officials perused architectural drawings that helped the visitors visualize the development to come which included a harbor walk, restaurant, lighthouse, marina, apartments, and sculpture garden. The development to come will add to the previously built BassPro Shops, Starbuck’s, Chipotle, and T-Mobile retail locations north of Stratford Avenue.
The government representatives in attendance were impressed with the plans which one day will draw large yachts and pleasure crafts to boat slips in Steelpointe Harbor’s Marina expected to be completed next year. Summers says ground will soon be broken for 182 residential units, a garage facility, and first floor retail. That retail he says may include an opportunity for local entrepreneurs. Council woman Evette Brantley thanked Summers, Development Administrator Steve Tyliszczak and the owners for their perseverance on the project.
Summers also says the Steelpointe Harbor owners are in talks with two different hotel operators. He also touted the success of existing tenants. He said Bass Pro is “in the top 5 stores every month of sales” and that the Starbucks is “one of the most successful stores (of that brand) in Connecticut.”
Article from Only in Bridgeport, July 17th, 2017
Robert Christoph Sr. and Jr. in their office overlooking Steelpointe Harbor development in background.
What’s the economic impact of Steelpointe Harbor, the redevelopment of the East Side with Bass Pro Shops as the anchor tenant? It’s been a long elusive question that has never been fully rolled out publicly by city officials, perhaps because city-controlled parcels were acquired by the developer in stages. As progress continues OIB reached out to Economic Development Director Tom Gill and sat down for an hour-long chat with Steelpointe Harbor developers Robert Christoph Sr. and Robert Christoph Jr., principals of the Miami Beach-based RCI Marine Group and its related companies such as Bridgeport Landing Development, for an update on plans and a review of the associated financials. The project is now among the top 10 taxpayers in the city, according to a review of city tax assessment records. Property tax payments–about two thirds of which are returned to the district to cover infrastructure improvements–and personal property taxes combined for the budget year that started July 1 represent nearly $1.4 million. Tax payments will grow as the project builds out, according to the developers.
The anchor tenant.
In discussions with city officials and the Christophs, key economic highlights follow:
–Bridgeport Landing Development has spent more than $5 million on city property acquisitions.
–Property tax payments for current budget year $1.3 million (first payment due for July has been issued to the city). The number will grow with construction of the Dockmaster’s Building and upcoming residential component, with an additional 300 construction jobs over the next 18 months. Under the financing approved for the district, the city keeps first $400,000 of real estate property taxes annually and all personal property taxes. The remaining tax receipts are given back to the district toward infrastructure costs.
–Building permit fees paid to city to date more than $500,000.
–Personal property taxes from Bass Pro, Starbucks, T-Mobile and Chipotle’s, $65,000 for this budget year.
– Construction costs for current tenants, Bass Pro, Starbucks, T-Mobile and Chipotle’s, $48 million that included 400 construction jobs for nearly two years.
–More than 250 permanent jobs, with more than half Bridgeport residents.
–More than $50 million combined investment of federal, state, local and private dollars for infrastructure improvements including street reconstruction, utilities, separate sanitary and storm sewers, environmental and construction of the bulkhead and harbor walk. More than half is private dollars invested by the Christophs’ company Bridgeport Landing Development.
– In May broke ground for the 35,000 square foot waterfront Dockmaster’s Building that will house a raw bar restaurant, retail and an engineering company accompanied by a harbor walk platform, marina and docks that Christoph Sr. estimates will be operational in about one year. The engineering firm BL Companies doing work on the site is expected to occupy 4,000 square feet of the building that will also serve as the headquarters for Bridgeport Landing.
– The site covers in total 52 acres including 44 buildable. The entire site is now controlled by the developers.
– The developers increased the height of the bulkhead, with six feet of clean fill, following Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The entire shoreline area is now above the flood plain.
Rendering of Steelpointe Harbor Dockmaster Building.
It’s been a long time coming powering through cynics but the vision of transforming a troubled area is now being realized. The redevelopment was first proposed about 35 years ago under the administration of Republican Mayor Lenny Paoletta. Nothing much happened on the site for more than a decade. In the mid 1990s under the first mayoral tenure of Joe Ganim, eminent domain initiatives and parcel purchases started the process for site clearance. The Christophs arrived on the scene as developers about 16 years ago. Over the ensuing years the city and developer worked through land disposition agreements that set forth land acquisitions, site clearance, remediation, bulkhead work and development timetable. The national economy tanked in 2008, once again slowing progress.
After decades of starts and stops, doubters abounded. City, state and federal officials announced millions in grants for infrastructure improvements. A major breakthrough came in the summer of 2012 when the mayoral administration of Bill Finch announced the site had hooked Bass Pro Shops, the mega outdoor retailer, for its first urban store featuring a marine theme. In the fall of 2015, the store opened, complemented by other tenants on the site such as Starbucks, Chipotle and T-Mobile, all with convenient I-95 access.
For the Christophs, who’ve developed waterfront projects up and down the East Coast, the time commitment and investment is finally paying off, for both the city and them as investors.
“In the future will we host regattas, fishing tournaments, boat shows enlivening the waterfront,” says Christoph Jr. A 2,600 foot harbor walk will eventually connect the development with Downtown, similar to a project they did along Miami Beach.
The success of projects must be assessed over time but tenant input, according to the Christophs, reveals business goals are being achieved with an emphasis on hiring local people.
Starbucks was first tenant to open doors. T-Mobile and Chipotle also in row.
As activity continues, says Christoph Jr, “our story becomes easier to tell” in attracting other tenants. Landing a Starbucks, for instance, added credibility to tenant successes in addition to anchor tenant Bass Pro Shops.
Christoph Sr. explained his interest in Bridgeport more than 15 years ago was all about location. “Bridgeport, from a waterfront perspective is unique,” he said. But so much of the waterfront was shut off to public access, something their vision for the site is transforming with construction of the Dockmaster and harbor walk. The developers have a unique bird’s eye view of their work perched on the 16th floor of 10 Middle Street Downtown peering across the waterfront.
Navigating an old industrial site that included a utility, the permitting process, economic downturns, multiple mayoral administrations has been an exercise in patience and resilience. But now they say all the components are coming together and that includes the expected groundbreaking this fall for 180 units of housing, in the first phase of a residential component. And calls are coming from Fairfield County gold coast towns such as Westport inquiring about the development and residential piece.
Fully built out over several years the developers say Steelpointe Harbor will be a 2.8 million square-foot mixed-use, urban-oriented waterfront project with 1,000 to 1,500 residential units , 800,000 square feet of retail, 200,000 square feet of commercial/office space, 300,000 square feet of hotel/meeting area, a new 200-slip marina with complete shore-side support.
“It’s all positive,” says Christoph Jr. “We are excited where we are and for the future. We are here for the long haul.”
Futuristic rendering of Steelpointe Harbor.
(Bridgeport, CT)—Vertical Construction has begun on the waterfront at Steelpointe Harbor in Bridgeport. Following the completion of construction and opening of Bass Pro Shops, Starbucks, Chipotle, and T-Mobile in November of 2015, BLD has spent the past year installing a new 2,600 linear foot bulkhead and raising the elevation of the peninsula to 14’ above mean high tide in preparation of vertical construction.
On June 28, the vertical construction began with the driving of the first of the 157 H-Piles being driven as much as 100 feet deep to support the Dockmaster Building. Delivery of the 30 truckloads containing 580 tons of steel began arriving on site this week, and it will take about a month to drive the 2.7 miles of steel H-piles into the recently graded landscape.
The 35,000 sq. ft. Dockmaster Building itself will have a restaurant with outdoor seating on the first floor, offices on the second floor, and residential units on the third floor. This next phase of construction is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018 and will also include a waterfront park and a new marina.
The DockMaster building, along with our pedestrian friendly streets and walkways along the water will serve as the centerpiece of a series of buildings planned for the peninsula that will include residential, retail and entertainment. Steelpointe Harbor will serve as an urban mixed use environment “designed to embody the most desirable characteristics of a harbor-side neighborhood,” according to developer Robert Christoph.
Steelpointe Harbor is a part of the rebirth of Bridgeport Harbor and the creation of a new Long Island Sound destination. With its transportation infrastructure, Bridgeport is ideally positioned – between New York and Boston, with a year round ferry service to Port Jefferson Long Island. The redevelopment of this 50 acre site will support the redeveloping Downtown Central Business District next to it with an urban/waterfront complex, a destination, and a new Bridgeport neighborhood.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Overcast skies could not keep them away. Local dignitaries, corporate executives, project developers and members of the media all felt compelled to come and see the initiation of the next phase of Bridgeport’s Steelpointe Harbor development. And why not? It represented the symbolic and very real progress being made in the Park City.
Monday, May 15th was the groundbreaking for the DockMaster Building construction project at Steelpointe Harbor. Owners, Robert Christoph and his son, Robert Christoph, Jr. of Bridgeport Landing Development (BLD) joined the group of excited participants to celebrate the start of the significant Bridgeport Steelpointe Harbor project. Moments after they all arrived shovels broke the seal on land that had been months in preparation; a 22 million dollar bulkhead nearly completed, land graded to a height that can take on Long Island storms and utilities being constructed that will do the developments heavy lifting once built out.
Most of the same guests were at the culmination of the Steelpointe’s first anchor project which was the completion of the retail development north of Stratford Avenue containing Chipotle, Starbucks, T-Mobile and Bass Pro Shops. And most will be back for the groundbreaking of the residential development to follow.
At the DockMaster’s Building groundbreaking Robert Christoph, Jr. stated, “This is the beginning of the work that will enliven the entire waterfront (on the lower peninsula).” Construction should begin in the next forty-five to sixty days, once a company is chosen to do the work. The building and the associated marina boat slips are set to be completed in the summer of 2018.
When the same folks return for the ribbon is cutting of the 35,000-square-foot DockMaster Building in 2018 it will have a restaurant on the first floor, offices on the second floor (occupied by BLD, and BL companies, the engineering and architectural company for the project), and the owner’s residential units on the third floor. The development is set to have pedestrian friendly streets, a walkway along the harbor, a public marina, and outdoor seating. Undoubtedly it will draw even more folks as it will be open to the entire community.
The DockMaster building project is the centerpiece of a series of construction projects planned for the lower-peninsula including residential, retail and entertainment. Once completed, according to Christoph, Steelpointe Harbor will serve as an urban mixed-use development “designed to embody the most desirable characteristics of a harbor-side neighborhood.”
Steelpointe Harbor is the rebirth of a destination and engine of commerce. The ideal location on Long Island Sound positions it – an hour to Port Jefferson Long Island on the ferry, and an hour to New York City by way of interstate or rail. The redevelopment of this site will recreate an urban/waterfront complex, a destination, and a new Bridgeport neighborhood.
This summer will mark a huge transformation for the harbor, as it will be home to the “largest current waterfront development project along the east coast to New York City,” Mayor Joe Ganim stated, “The end product is going to be nothing short of magnificent.” City Council Chair Tom McCarthy said, “The waterfront is really the people’s waterfront. It’s time we give it back to them.”
Click links below for news reports on the DockMaster’s groundbreaking event: