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Year in Review: 2018

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Steelpointe Harbor experienced continued forward momentum in 2018 on a project that started physical construction in 2014. The construction has been steadily making progress.

It seems like it was only yesterday, but Bass Pro Shop, Chipotle, T-Mobile and Starbucks opened on Steelpointe in late 2015.

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Bridgeport Landing Development (BLD) is currently constructing the 48,000 sf DockMaster Building on the Steelpointe waterfront, and in 2018 received a Certificate of Occupancy for the building.

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Since BLD began, the peninsula has been raised about 8’ in elevation. A new waterside bulkhead has been installed and new roadways have been built to provide the necessary linkages for a project of this size. BLD installed all new underground utilities so that the peninsula will be resistant to future sea rise, hurricane winds and crashing waves.

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BLD opened Bridgeport Boatworks in June of 2018 across the Harbor on a part of the old CarTech site. This new full-service marine boatyard is capable of servicing recreational and commercial vessels. With both a 75-ton and 200-ton travel lift, Bridgeport Boatworks can mechanically maintain, upgrade or restore your boat. Bridgeport Boatworks can also work in wood, metal, fiberglass, or Kevlar as well as clean and paint your boat. Storage is available either indoors or outdoors. The Boatworks is designed to work in concert with the Marina located at Steelpointe Harbor.

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2018 also saw the construction of the floats and docks that will make up the Marina at Steelpointe Harbor. Custom built on site, the various steel, plastic, and concrete components were assembled in the old manufacturing building on Seaview Ave. On December 3, 2018, the first floats were put into the water to begin the construction of the Marina.

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This is the continuation of a process that began in December 2011 when the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) approved a permit giving BLD the authorization to make some key changes. This involved the removal of derelict structures including 1,500 old wood pilings, perform near shore dredging to create a uniform bottom depth, install a new bulkhead and install a 250-slip marina at Steelpointe on Bridgeport Harbor. Best practices and FEMA required that we raise the existing land elevation. Our permits allowed the dredge material to be used as upland fill enabling BLD to begin the creation of a public access boardwalk and a 15,000 sf tidal wetland. The Army Corps of Engineers issued their permit in January of 2012 allowing the actual construction of the sheet pile bulkhead, the public access boardwalk, and the dredging to proceed.


What’s to Come

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The Steelpointe Harbor Marina will be open and operating for the 2019 boating season.
The transformation of Bridgeport Harbor from an old and abandoned industrial harbor to a new, modern maritime entertainment and recreational destination has begun.

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The Boca Mediterranean Restaurant on Steelpointe will open in the Spring. With the opening of this new waterside 10,000 sf restaurant, families from throughout the region will have a new destination for dining, shopping, and boating.

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Construction of the Harbor Walk will continue through 2019. When completed, the Harbor Walk will give the public full access to the waterfront and connect our neighborhoods to the Long Island Sound for the first time in over 100 years. Residents will be able to stroll along the Harbor Walk while experiencing the fresh salt air and mesmerizing spectacle of boats bobbing in the glistening harbor.

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Residential development will begin this year. The first residential building will be located between the Dockmaster Building and Stratford Avenue. It will consist of 200 rental units with underground parking. The first phase of our waterside retail development will consist of 25,000 sf of street-level retail. Eventually, Steelpointe Harbor will encompass approximately 1,500 –2,000 residential units, both rental and ownership.

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With waterside and upland residential construction underway, Steelpointe Harbor would welcome another destination entertainment project on the Yellow Mill Channel to our East, consistent with the City Waterfront Plan, designed to attract more people to enjoy the Bridgeport waterfront.

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When authorized by the CT State Legislature, a major entertainment destination in the East End could provide 2,000 jobs in the City, as well as stimulate additional tourism and development in the Bridgeport region. 1.4m sf of restaurants, hotels, retail, entertainment and gaming will add additional vitality to the Bridgeport Waterfront and to the region. It will also provide additional revenue to both the City and State.

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In a sense, this attraction would be a throwback to the days when Pleasure Beach aka Steeplechase Island existed as an amusement park on the Long Island Sound. A destination where visitors from Connecticut and other states once flocked by train, trolley and ferry to enjoy the beauty of the Long Island Sound.

On His Way Back Home

Where did he go… That statuesque looking baseball player, tanned with a Bronze patina, in front of the old Bluefish Stadium?  We’re talking about Orator Jim, of course.  That’s right, Bridgeport’s own Baseball Hall of Famer James Henry O’Rourke, his statue that is, is gone!  Once the statue, bat in hand following through on a swing graced the ballpark, which itself will be gone soon to make way for an amphitheater.

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Have no fear, the statue immortalizing the record-breaking player, lawyer, and Bridgeport citizen is not lost.  Actually, he’s safely on his way back home; home is the New Pasture Point in New Field, at least that’s what the colonists called it. Better known today as Steelpointe Harbor, it is the peninsula between the Pequonnock and Yellow Mill River where a great development project is underway.  You may recall his house was the last one left standing a decade or so ago after the lower East Side was cleared for development.

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Next year, Orator Jim will be returning to his old stomping grounds on the public Harborwalk overlooking Bridgeport Harbor near the Dockmaster building at the ends of Pembroke and East Main Streets. For now, he has taken an early retirement and is now safely stored away from the mammoth construction machines creating the new outdoor entertainment venue, the Amphitheater at Harbor Yard.

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One day real soon James O’Rourke will come out of retirement and again swing the bat towards the Long Island Sound.   And why not;   it was the area where his father bought their farm, where he once honed his baseball skills, and in the neighborhood where the house he built for his family stood until earlier this millennium.   It is certain Orator Jim would have been happy to know that all people will have access to the Harbor and to see his statue.  As he once said, “Baseball is for all creeds and nationalities.” And soon the Waterfront will be too.

Bridgeport Landing Development Delivering Holiday Joy

Bridgeport Landing Development (Steelpointe Harbor) is working to spread the holiday cheer this year by sponsoring OPTIMUS Healthcare’s Annual Christmas Gift Giveaway on December 18, 2018. This year’s event was held at the Ralphola Taylor Community Center on Central Avenue and provided a chance for local families and children to receive a Christmas gift.

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Lieutenant Darrien Penix of the Bridgeport Fire Department traded in his flame-retardant yellow fire suit for one much more appropriate for the holiday season as he donned Santa’s icon red suit for a worthy cause. Penix helped to spread the holiday joy by giving out toys to families from the neighborhood where he grew up.

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Students from Bridgeport’s Dunbar Elementary School were able to take part in the holiday celebration. Ms. Schmidt’s 5th-grade class was amongst those receiving presents. “Events like this really help the students. Some of them won’t receive a lot this year so this just brings a little extra holiday spirit. It shows them that people do care about them and helps them feel really good this time of year,” said Schmidt.

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East End City Councilman Ernie Newton attended and expressed his gratitude for the event. “Thank you to OPTIMUS and the Christophs for always thinking about the community. There were a lot of children in the community who didn’t have presents to open and now they do.” said Newton.

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“Events like this help us to spread some Christmas joy,” added Steve Tyliszczak, Development Administrator for Bridgeport Landing Development, who grew up on the East Side of Bridgeport.

Steelpointe Supports OPTIMUS Health Care’s Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drive

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In the spirit of giving season Bridgeport Landing Development (Steelpointe) joined forces with OPTIMUS Health Care to support their Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drive. The event was held at OPTIMUS Health Care and is dedicated to providing local residents with a Thanksgiving meal.

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Through generous donations from Steelpointe Harbor developers Robert Christoph Sr. and Robert Christoph Jr., AMR and Gala Foods, OPTIMUS Health Care was able to provide more than 400 residents with turkeys, canned goods, and fresh produce. “We really wanted to help make this a great holiday. We are thankful for Bridgeport Landing Development and the Christoph family who have been very supportive over the years”, stated Ludwig Spinelli, Chief Executive Officer of OPTIMUS Health Care.

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Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim was one of the many city officials in attendance to help pass out turkeys. “Thank you OPTIMUS Health Care for all you do, you can see there’s so many people here who are helping, as I know you do everyday… There are so many needs especially around the holidays. It’s really the community coming together and doing something to help people around the holidays.It’s not just about eating but it’s about helping each other.”

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Upon receiving the generous donation, East side parent Kassandra St. Hilaire stated, “I have so much to be thankful for this year. I didn’t have a turkey for Thanksgiving and now I do, I’m very thankful for that.”

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This is Steelpointe’s 11th year of involvement in this event. Steve Tyliszczak, Development Administrator for the Steelpointe Project said, “As a company, Bridgeport Landing is dedicated to helping the community where we live and work.” East Side City Councilwoman Maria Valle added, “There are many individuals and families in the community who need turkeys and we are now able to fulfill this need. Thank you to OPTIMUS and Steelpointe for always staying present in the community.”

City Officials Get a Glimpse into Steelpointe’s Future

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(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.

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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.

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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

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 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.

Bridgeport Boatyard

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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.

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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.”

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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.

2017 Christmas Toy Drive

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.
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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
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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.

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“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.

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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.”

The Annual Steelpointe Harbor and Optimus Health Care Thanksgiving Turkey Drive

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.

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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.

IMG_3504Steve Tyliszczak, Development Administrator for Bridgeport Landing Development, participated in the giving by sharing with Summer Cook and her daughter.

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.”

IMG_3429Ludwig Spinelli, CEO at Optimus Health Care and East End councilman Ernie Newton

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.”

ACE Students Visit Steelpointe

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.

IMG_3142Mentor David Stone from Antinozzi Associates

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.

IMG_3202Mentor Kevin Gatzke from Antinozzi Associates

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.”