Alexion Takes The Money & Runs

Aliyya Swaby PhotoMarkeshia Ricks PhotoIt took a pharmaceutical company just over 18 months to move its headquarters into a new downtown New Haven tower with promises of up to $52 million of state help — then start packing for Boston.

The company, Alexion, announced Tuesday morning that it is moving its headquarters out of the 14-story, $100 million glass tower that opened at 100 College St. on Feb. 29, 2016. The move, expected to take place by mid-2018, is part of a companywide restructuring that will include a 20 percent reduction in its workforce worldwide.

The company, which produces drugs to treat rare diseases, will continue to do research in the building. But much of it will become vacant. And both the state’s and the city’s efforts to build a biomedical and tech economy here will take a black eye.

The company is still committed to maintaining a research “excellence” center in New Haven despite moving its HQ to Boston, CEO Ludwig Hantson stated in a release.

“Alexion’s 25 year history began in New Haven, and Connecticut remains a critical part of our future. We value our relationship with the state of Connecticut, and our New Haven-based research team is critical to growing and strengthening Alexion’s leadership in complement, which will allow us to fulfill our mission of serving patients and families with rare and ultra-rare diseases,” the release quoted Hantson as saying.

The company stated that 450 jobs will remain here, “Including employees working in the research and process development laboratories, the clinical supply and quality teams, nurse case management and a number of important enterprise business services.”

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro of New Haven called Alexion’s decision “shocking and shameful.”

State economic development chief Catherine Smith issued a statement Tuesday morning announcing that Connecticut will “require” Alexion to pay back a $20 million loan and $6 million grant “with interest and penalties.”

Alexion’s Hanston “acknowledged” in a letter to Smith Monday that it does have “repayment obligations” under the terms of its agreement with the state. Alexion “will be pleased to work with you regarding the repayment process and timing,” Hanston wrote.

“Setbacks like this, though unfortunate, do not deter the department from pursuing smart policies and ventures with growing companies in our state,” Smith stated.

Short-Lived City Success Story


Alexion was born in Science Park in 1992, moved to Cheshire in 2000, then relocated its headquarters into the new downtown building last year after Gov.  Dannel P. Malloy’s administration came through with over $50 million as part of its “First Five” program to entice growing companies to stay in the state. Now Alexion follows General Electric, which in 2016 announced its headquarters move to Boston, and Aetna, which announced a move to New York.

Meanwhile, the polls opened at 6 a.m. Tuesday in New Haven for a Democratic primary in which Mayor Toni Harp is seeking to hold onto her seat against a spirited challenge by Marcus Paca in part by pointing to new-economy job growth in town, with Alexion as Exhibit A.

Her economic development administrator, Matthew Nemerson, pointed out that Alexion will continue to have a research presence at 100 College, which theoretically could grow; and that the building, constructed for Alexion by developer Carter Winstanley, will continue to pay $3.8 million a year in local property taxes after they’re fully phased in.

He also expressed confidence in the prospects of finding new tenants for the building’s state-of-the-art lab facilities.

“It’s one of the most spectacular research buildings in the country,” Nemerson said in an interview. “People have been coming and looking at the lab building from around the world. ...

“New Haven remains an exceptionally strong place for medical research and discovery.”

Asked if 100 College might be converted in part to market-rate housing, given downtown’s hot market, Nemerson said no, because of the specific nature of lab design.

AlexionGov. Malloy returned triumphantly to 100 College St. in August 2016 to proclaim that the company was already exceeding its job-creation goal, adding 500 new positions in the first months after the move. Then troubles started at the company: It laid off 210 workers in March. More troubling, Bloomberg News revealed  that Alexion was the focus of multiple investigations in the U.S. and abroad for allegedly shady sales and testing practices. Three top officials, including the CFO, left the company. The CEO left, too.

Suddenly New Haven’s showpiece new-economy employer was sounding a lot like the last shattered homegrown corporate star, Higher One. Gov. Malloy came for a ribbon-cutting of a new state-assisted New Haven headquarters for that company, too, in 2012, before government investigators started revealing alleged fraud; in 2016 the one-time “unicorn” was sold for $37 million. Higher One received more than $20 million in tax credits.

Lessons For Government?

New Haven State Sen. Martin Looney Tuesday called the Alexion news “certainly disappointing.” He said in an interview that the state will need to reexamine the “First Five” agreement with Alexion to see if the state it can recover some of the money it received for the New Haven move.

Looney was asked about deals like Alexion’s, in which government spends millions luring companies which subsequently pick up and leave.
“It’s unfortunately the way things are done,” he said. “States are so anxious for economic development, that companies play one incentive off another. It’s not a healthy pattern.”

“This has nothing to do with the problems” Alexion has endured, Nemerson maintained about Tuesday’s news. “It has to do with [new] CEO living in Boston.”

He noted that GE and Aetna moved their headquarters for the same reasons: the CEOs wanted to base their companies in bigger cities amid more of a tech culture.

Indeed, Tuesday’s Alexion release explained the headquarters move this way: “Boston will provide access to a larger biopharmaceutical talent pool and a variety of life-sciences partners to further support future growth initiatives.”

There’s a lesson for Connecticut, Nemerson argued: To compete with those bigger cities, it must concentrate its tech sector in one or two cities rather than disperse through the state. Cities like New Haven

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posted by: EPDP on September 12, 2017  8:07am

At the Mayoral debate Harp said that New Haven was the “driving force” of the economy of the State of Connecticut.  But the Connecticut economy is going over a cliff.  Is New Haven driving Connecticut off the cliff?  It is time for the voters to throw these politicians, with the big ribbons, Big Scissors, Big Smiles, and BS out of office.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on September 12, 2017  8:08am

CT appears to be winning the “race to the bottom” as the Irish call it. They wisely have stopped bidding on cheapskate businesses looking for tax breaks and low wages.
  These corporations have no loyalty to place or to workers, just the bottom line.
  For those who will whine about taxes, when I lived in Massachusetts, we called it “Taxachusetts”!
  It’s time to stop using tax payer money to bribe businesses to set up here. Stadiums are another wasted of our money.
  Invest in alternative energy sources, repair the roads and bridges, support technical schools, like Wright Tech
in Stamford where people learn to do things we need and make new things.
  Then we have to abolish the anachronistic tax exemption for Yale and set limits for wealthy non-profits so the people don’t have to subsidize them any more.

posted by: HewNaven on September 12, 2017  8:12am

Yale will take most of the space.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 12, 2017  8:13am

So much for the jobs ‘boon’.......

Everybody got hustled, except for Winstanley who will continue to pay $3.8 million in local property taxes once they are fully phased in….

Shades of the Pfizer Pfiasco in New London, without the Eminent Domain…

posted by: wendy1 on September 12, 2017  9:01am

Well, I guess New Haven is one disease they dont want to treat.

But I expect Yale to take over that building…and fill it somehow.  I’m sure they got advance notice.

posted by: Bill Saunders on September 12, 2017  9:17am

Hew Naven,

I think one of the reasonable fears is that many of these developments are just proxy stalking horses for Yale….  Add The Q-House to the list, if it ever happens….

posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 12, 2017  9:27am

it’s been said the most dangerous space in the world is between Blumenthal and a camera. Let’s see what new “program” these clowns come up with now.

posted by: 1644 on September 12, 2017  9:58am

The original plan called for Yale to occupy at least two floors of a shorter building.  Yale was pushed out as Alexion’s needs grew even beyond the original proposed size of the building.  Yale now has a lot of laboratory space on its West Campus, but will likely take a few floors nonetheless.  This development may, however, influence the Salvatore proposal for the space between The Jungle and the Doctors’ Building.  It will reduce demand for apartments in Northland and Salvatore’s developments, as the market shifts from highly paid but insecure Alexion workers and more to medical school lab techs.  It may, also, eliminate demand for the labspace Salvatore has proposed, especially private demand as New Haven will now be perceived as a shrinking, rather than growing biotech hub.

posted by: Elihu on September 12, 2017  10:03am

Wow.  I agree with Rosa DeLauro’s comments and perhaps the Independent can follow up on her claim that Alexion will pay back some large chunk of the $50 million in public funding used to lure them here in the first place.  Looney is also right—this is an unhealthy pattern of giving away the farm to companies with no sense or obligation to loyalty. 

But should we be surprised?  You remember that Pfizer left New London after building a big new research complex the required a Supreme Court decision ratifying the use of eminent domain to condemn and clear the land (Kelo v. New London). 

Was Alexion offered a package from the State of Massachusetts to lure them to Boston?  Can we have an honest conversation with the CEO to talk about ways to cultivate and retain these companies in Connecticut and New Haven?

posted by: robn on September 12, 2017  10:06am

Alexion is moving to Boston simply because of the concentration of tech talent….a concentration of tech talent created by a city that young talented people want to live in. Make our city more welcoming, more affordable and more fun to the talent and the rest will follow.
For starters, the city should sue the state legislature to pay all property taxes for non-profits that have outgrown the label. Secondly, the city needs to push a bill through the legislature allowing a cap on property taxes; the burden shift on anyone living in a remotely nice neighborhood is ridiculous and has dissuaded untold millions of homesteading investment.

posted by: HewNaven on September 12, 2017  10:09am

Carter next worked in partnership with state and local officials to purchase land in the Route 34 connector and physically reconnected neighborhoods through his work on downtown crossing and the development of 100 College, the Alexion building. Initially Yale agreed to serve as the anchor tenant in the project, allowing Carter to assemble the state-owned land, secure public approvals as well as financing so the project could proceed. When the building was ready to start construction, Alexion surfaced as a potential tenant. Yale and Carter then worked together to first increase the size of the project and later to find alternate space for the University so that Alexion could occupy the entire building…

posted by: Stylo on September 12, 2017  10:27am

@robn, “affordable” has literally nothing to do with it. Rent in New Haven is drastically cheaper than Boston. The surrounding suburbs are cheaper too.

It has everything to do with talent and job pools.

posted by: theNEWnewhaven on September 12, 2017  10:34am

Maybe they can put in a high end outdoorsy clothing store? jk jk

This actually HURT me to read last night (on another source) but I’ve grown numb.

Since Trump has come into office I have felt PTSD before reading the news.

CT, especially, has had a bad few months. This city was the exception. Well, until today.

(Googles job listings in Philly)

Ugh, What we need to do now is STICK TOGETHER as a State/City and try to ride out this nasty wave.

This region IS geographically positioned to do well. HOLD OUT New Hay Hay!

(Clears Search History)

posted by: Esbey on September 12, 2017  10:40am

It is a good article, but the headline seems a bit misleading, no?  The article quotes officials saying that much of the money will be paid back.  It seems like Alexion is acting like a bank robber who is surprised in the act by the police: *dropping* the money and running.

Really, though, the new (one hopes more ethical) CEO lives in Boston.  It was always likely that Alexion would be acquired and move, or else go bust and die, or, as it turns out, hire a CEO who doesn’t want to move to New Haven. The question at such a point is whether New Haven’s biotech pool is mature enough to thrive in the face of frequent company-level turnover, which is a feature of the industry.  I am not at all sure that we are there yet.  NHI funding appears to be increasing, so folks are probably right that the Yale Med School may fill the gap (again). 

Robn is correct that the best we can do is to try to make New Haven the kind of place that educated workers want to live. I would add that we want it to be good for other families as well.

posted by: tmctague on September 12, 2017  10:41am

In my school, there’s a banner that reads:

Be yourself.

posted by: westville man on September 12, 2017  10:43am

Remember Macy’s?  This has been going on for a long time with public funding, tax-breaks, etc.
Robn,  I agree with most of your post, but Boston is ‘more affordable”??

posted by: JCFremont on September 12, 2017  10:51am

Alexion will be “required” to pay back…. How about a little stronger verb age like “Will pay back….” We wonder if our politicians ever read the “escape clauses” in these contracts?

So basically the company will use the New Haven location to piggyback on much of Yale New Haven and The Yale School of Medicine’s research, controlled studies and other medical experiments while joining many other companies in Boston for its welcoming business and technological power. It seems in New Haven every business besides a food truck or exotic restaurant that opens up in New Haven is met with protests or viewed the same way that Darth Vador’s Death Star would be met if it was seen hovering over New Haven. Has Yale, Quinnipiac and University of New Haven fallen so far behind in 21st century curriculums? Maybe to really honor Grace Hoppers legacy is to overhaul and commit to Yale’s engineering school. To be honest home many people who are worked to remove John Calhoun’s name off the college know anything about Grace Hopper other then she was a Women Yale Graduate? I’m sure the real estate developers where well aware of Alexion’s problems so I’m sure they are still looking to cash in er, invest in New Haven. Question does Alexion own the building, who will collect any rents for the now available office space? Lastly, if I see one comment stating that “This building should be used for a homeless shelter or Section 8 housing than well you’ve explained the state of New Haven.

posted by: Noteworthy on September 12, 2017  10:51am

Told You So Notes:

This deal was a pig in a poke from start to finish. It was stupid for federal tax dollars to be raided to create a building lot out of nothing but thin air; it was foolish for the City of New Haven to spend any of its taxpayer money on this building and it was more than stupid for Gov. Malloy and his team to dump that kind of money on an in-state company who wanted to move into the Taj Mahal of bio-tech with their rich benefactor from ten miles up the road. But all the powers that be ignored common sense and did it anyway - clearly without much due diligence. Good luck getting the money back.

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on September 12, 2017  11:18am

LiveWorkLearnPlay is now officially dead. Can we get te Montreal guys to just exit the deal, and free up the land?

Also, who has actually read the deal, giving LWLP an effective 14-year option on the parcel in exchange for, well, nothing? Can the NHI get us a copy from Economic Development? Have any outside lawyers taken a look at it, and what is their opinion?

Also Winstanley=Yale. We can never be proxy to the details of their dealings, but the two are clearly in bed with each other. (Not necessarily a bad thing, but one has to wonder how much of the downtown development/yuppification is being driven by Yale $$$$.)

Finally, thank god for Yale. The one major player that can’t just up and leave New Haven!

posted by: robn on September 12, 2017  11:28am

Ultimately, the talent will go where it goes because of lifestyle. This city came a long, long way under the DeStefano administration and its now a place where young people actually want to live. Now give them a chance to homestead without getting taxed out the waazoo.

posted by: 1644 on September 12, 2017  11:41am

Yes, New Haven is far more “affordable” than the places it is losing to, Boston and NYC.  Places where people want to live, and where there is a lot of economic activity are less “affordable” than places with vibrant economies.  Look at the San Francisco Bay area. The fact that people want to live there drives up real estate prices.  It’s also a fact of life that richer people don’t want to live near or come in contact much with poorer people.  Thus, they escape to places like Woodbridge and Madison.  Yet, New Haven continues to fight upscale upscale development, aka gentrification, indifferent to the fact that a scientist from Madison doesn’t want to get off the train and have The Jungle between him and his lab at Alexion.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on September 12, 2017  11:42am

This sucks. No doubt in my mind that the lack of investment in public transit or cities in CT in general is to blame here.

On a positive note there will be a lot of good lab space for smaller high growth companies to germinate within. In the end it could be a boon for the region. 

But really oof. The State’s decades of poor transportation and urban development policies just won’t let us catch a break. Not surprising but infuriating every time its manifested in the form of a departure.

posted by: wendy1 on September 12, 2017  11:47am

@ Stylo and others——The rents here are obscene…so are utilities, taxes, and insurance costs.  We are not Boston, Scarsdale, or New Canaan so why are folks paying over a thousand for a 500 sq. ft. dump????.

This town could be full of young people, families, and retirees if we had affordable rents for poorly paid and overworked Americans.  And yes, we need to get rid of all of the people in that first photograph of this article

posted by: NHVCyclist on September 12, 2017  11:56am

A few notes from someone who works in this industry:

1) Eye roller -Yet another company claiming that “lack of talent” in an issue in CT.  I work in biotech, in a successful area startup.  It’s not true, and its an excuse for a new CEO that wants to live in, and have his executive team in Boston. Also, per the Register article, the New Haven location is still the research hub of the company - where the young tech workers will be located. So they are contradicting themselves here. Also note, Alexion was born out of Science Park. The founders were not talented?

2) While this is a psychological (and minor job-related) blow to New Haven, per the NH Register article Rhode Island was hit harder.  As part of this same restructuring, they are closing the manufacturing plant in Rhode Island and outsourcing the jobs. And they found this out on 9/11…jeez, what happened to making america great again?  This is not a negative reflection on New Haven OR Rhode Island.

3) Alexion is struggling, this happens in business. They built a bigger headquarters than they could support. To save face, they’ll blame the move partially on CT, instead of just retreating to a smaller space elsewhere in New Haven. I work in the industry, I can tell you that image and saving face are CRITICAL. CT is an easy target to throw under the bus, often for well-deserved reasons.

4) I almost wonder if this is better for the building, and thus for New Haven. Previously, the building was “locked down” for Alexion who failed to meet job targets, leaving some of the building unfinished/unoccupied. Now, the developer will have the freedom to lease the space to other companies, giving them access to top-end lab & office space. There could easily be more jobs housed in this property than there would under the struggling Alexion.

5) Yes, we do need a better airport and more hotels, and a state government that can pass a damn budget. Duh.

posted by: budgeteer on September 12, 2017  11:59am

It appears that New Haven lost this HQ due to many transitions at the top.

If that is correct, then this company’s history should serve as a reminder that even as New Haven and Yale work to incubate innovative tech and biotech firms, the firms themselves need to inculcate cultures of compliance, responsibility, ethics, and transparency.

This shouldn’t be difficult.  Yale has leading professional schools that can bring expertise to bear.

But corporate growth isn’t all about medicine, science, technology, or engineering.  It’s also about ethical practices, strong lawyering, and sound management.

posted by: JCFremont on September 12, 2017  12:36pm

Building on alphabravocharlie’s comment. Funny. Anyone notice that the city officials are looking at the ribbon, notice Rosa and Dick are staring straight at the camera’s! They are such polished politicians, they do need to school young Christopher where one’s eyes should be focused at important functions.

Excellent comments by NHVCyclist.

posted by: Bohica on September 12, 2017  12:43pm

Why would any executive taking the long view stay in Connecticut? This budget fiasco alone leaves you scratching your head about the idiots we elect to office and their fondness for taxing you until you leave.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on September 12, 2017  1:06pm

@1644 who wrote: “It’s also a fact of life that richer people don’t want to live near or come in contact much with poorer people.”
    First of all, didn’t Madison have a problem with rape and murder in the last few years?
    People who limit themselves to wealthy enclaves are ill equipped to deal with people from diverse backgrounds. I’ve seen such people and just don’t “get it”.
    But here’s an option for those who can’t afford or don’t want to live in a limited place.
    How about we tax some of the wealthy people and non-profits, you know, the one’s who profit from income inequality, like CEOs making 600X what the average worker makes, and we pay people a living wage, have a local Civilian Conservation Corp to fix our crumbling roads and sidewalks (and sweep up the broken glass) and reduce property taxes so more people can have a decent quality of life, not just the educated and affluent?
    We could do it.

posted by: Stylo on September 12, 2017  2:16pm

“@ Stylo and others——The rents here are obscene…so are utilities, taxes, and insurance costs.  We are not Boston, Scarsdale, or New Canaan so why are folks paying over a thousand for a 500 sq. ft. dump????”

Over a thousand! Trying getting any decent apartment under $1000 in any decent metro area in the northeast. It’s nearly impossible unless you live in a bad neighborhood.

Trust me, Boston is much more expensive. Scarsdale and NC are truly random examples as they’re mostly families and SFH owners.

posted by: RobotShlomo on September 12, 2017  2:51pm

Nobody I’ve seen so far says the one thing that I’ve been harping on now for months; Why would you pay New York (or in this case Boston rents) without the one thing that would justify them? And that’s New York / Boston. Seriously, everyone is dancing around the obvious, but to lure talent as many have suggested that Alexion and other companies want to do, there has to be more for their employees to do than just go to work, eat pizza and then step over the homeless on the way back to your over priced apartment. New Haven doesn’t have the trappings of a big city, where on a fairly mild November evening you can look at the clock and say “Hey, the Bruins are playing the Penguins tonight, let’s see if we can get tickets”, or “who’s at the Laugh Factory tonight, anyone good?”. And please spare the whole “Oh, but Yale sports…”  or “UCONN women”. If you have no connection to Yale or UCONN other than occupying the same city, there’s no reason to go to a Yale hockey or basketball game.

I keep thinking of the scene in The World’s End where Nick Frost’s character asked Simon Pegg why they don’t live in their hometown anymore, and he says “It’s boring, it’s a black hole”. There’s an energy that bigger cities have that a place like New Haven simply does not. That’s what New Haven and Connecticut is competing against, and that’s why it’s getting it’s rear end handed to them when it comes to these things. This is not exactly unfamiliar territory. New Haven back in the 90’s was trying to become the next Seattle and in the 2000’s it wanted to be the next Austin. Neither of which happened, and there’s probably too much self hatred New Haven for it to happen. New Haven has an identity crisis, which is it doesn’t have one. To paraphrase Game of Thrones, winter is coming, and in a way it’s already here. Every ten years city leaders ask the question of how to keep young people and companies in New Haven. Maybe it’s time to ask why they’re leaving?

posted by: HewNaven on September 12, 2017  3:12pm


Excellent comment. Unfortunately, your insight is lost on people like Nemerson and Harp. And, it’s nothing new either. New Haven’s curse of believing it can be a big city goes way back to the Great Shippe.

posted by: GroveStreet on September 12, 2017  3:22pm

So, Shlomo, what are you finding for say $1500 a month in NYC. I can tell you, for that money you can live in the East Village. In a 200 square foot basement apartment without access to a window.

So don’t lie.

And don’t think that the last-second hockey game makes up for the expense. That is just dumb.

posted by: NHVCyclist on September 12, 2017  3:43pm

Just to say it again:

How is tech talent (the mythical “educated young worker”) in New Haven the issue when they are keeping the tech segment of the workforce here?  And even suggesting that they will grow that presence as they make new acquisitions?
Its the executive/business portion that’s leaving.  The CEO wants to be close to his team.

And again, as someone in the industry, I can say that it is not an issue to get young biotech talent to relocate to the Greater New Haven area. Nor is it difficult to retain Yale, UNH, Uconn, SCSU, etc science/technology grads if there are AVAILABLE JOBS for them in CT. 
Is an advanced-degree holding scientist going to turn down a well-paying job with advancement opportunity because they will have to take a train into NYC for NHL hockey, and because a half-decent 1-bedroom apartment in East Rock is $1100/mo?  Uhh…no. 

We certainly have serious issues to tackle - incompetent politicians who can’t make a budget, the knee-jerk reaction of these politicians to tax everything that moves, all these taxes yet meager investment in infrastructure, irritating quality of life concerns in our cities, and a negative-minded populous that has seemingly zero pride in their city and state, and would rather watch it burn for the satisfaction of blaming Malloy or something.

posted by: RobotShlomo on September 12, 2017  3:58pm

So, Shlomo, what are you finding for say $1500 a month in NYC. I can tell you, for that money you can live in the East Village. In a 200 square foot basement apartment without access to a window.

So don’t lie.

And don’t think that the last-second hockey game makes up for the expense. That is just dumb.

I’ll give you it was a bit of a hyperbolic quote, and obviously you aren’t going to find a place in the East Village for that amount of money. However the point, much like a shot through the you were able to find rent stabilized in Brooklyn that were affordable until the wave of gentrification hit before the hipsters started moving in and ruined it.

And the last part of your quote sounds like something that would have been written by the former DeStefano administration. Like a shot through the five hole, you miss the bigger picture. Hockey is a part of city’s identity, and in a place like Boston it’s more than just a sport. It’s a tradition. It’s a heritage. It’s becomes part of your family passed down from fathers to sons. You don’t remember going to a museum for the first time, but you DO remember going to your first game, whether it’s hockey, baseball, football, or basketball. October 2nd, 1978 I went to my first Yankee game. They lost to the Indians to put themselves into a tie with Boston, setting up the one game playoff.

But I digress… It’s all part of the fabric of a city and STUFF TO DO without having to hop on a train for two hours to Grand Central and ride one back at 2am, or drive up Boston.

If you don’t want to be just another bureaucrat, then you need to see the whole picture. If Alexion is already paying their employees what they could afford in rent in Boston, then when not just move to Boston? And with the trapping of a big city, luring talent and getting them to STAY will be much easier.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on September 12, 2017  4:11pm

@RobotShlomo. Granted Boston is a fabulous blend of authentic colonial heritage, glass skyscrapers AND the Duck Tour, but New Haven has its own treasures, just on a smaller scale.
    The Yale U. Art Gallery, Museum of British Art, the Peabody and the NH Museum & Historical Society, just to name a few, are phenomenal resources and even have free days.
    The NH Free Public Library is welcoming and a great architectural presence, as is the Court house on Elm St. In fact a great deal of New Haven is composed of outstanding architecture, and not just the Yale campus.       
    The Green is our version of the Boston Common and every bit as central to community life.
    Edgewood Park, Wooster Sq. Park and Lighthouse Point are just a few of the outstanding green spaces.
    Instead of the Charles River, we have the Quinnipiac River for recreation and harvesting kelp.
    New Haven should not try to compete with any city, but rather preserve and develop its own identity.
    FYI, people of South American background are the majority of Boston residents, not the Irish or Italians any more.
    New Haven welcomes diversity and that is a big plus because brains and talent come in all packages.
    We have problems with apartheid here, but at least we kvetch about it and push for change. The level of civic involvement and activism is quite special and not found at this level any where else in CT.
    So I plan to enjoy New Haven while pushing for a more equitable tax system and some home grown business to sustain the residents.

posted by: RobotShlomo on September 12, 2017  4:14pm


They may not turn it down initially, however after a while they will start to get restless, and after experiencing everything that a place has to offer, the ennui will eventually settle in. And at some point they may have that $1,100 a month apartment in East Rock, and their job at Yale, but they will go to bed every morning and they will still wake up in New Haven. To use a metaphor, it’s like being with a girl for a long time, and then someone walks through the door who is as attractive and as exciting as you remember your girlfriend or wife USED to be. The new girl is exciting. The new girl knows and does things your current girl doesn’t. Then the familiarity as it so often does, will breed contempt. 

And I know you think you’re one upping me about the “negative-minded populous that has seemingly zero pride in their city and state”. However I’ve lived here long enough to have heard all the promises time and time again. “It’s going to be different this time, no we swear”, then the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I’m just at the point where the city and state have let me down so many times, that I can be honest, and I don’t bother to defend it anymore.

posted by: Stylo on September 12, 2017  4:18pm

I’ll say it once more:

New Haven DOES NOT have Boston/NYC level rents. Not even close to NYC.

Fact. Full stop.

posted by: wesunidad on September 12, 2017  4:23pm

The elephant in the room in the case of Alexion (Macy’s and others) screwing CT taxpayers and running away is capitalism.  This is what capitalism does.  It goes for the biggest bang for the buck.  Period.  And, for Alexion the biggest bang for the buck is not in CT.  Get over it! 

At least this most recent fiasco with Alexion takes the spotlight off looking at Yale and asking why they continue to have special laws that keep them in non-profit, tax-free status. The citizens of New Haven and CT don’t demand it, that’s why. And, Yale can pay the attorneys and lawmakers to keep them right where they are…tax free!  The question is how much longer are people going to put up with this gross inequality and demand that Yale pay its fair share to the City of New Haven and to the State of CT?

The refrain at labor union rallies, “Tax Yale” must be 50+ years old by now.  If not now, when?

posted by: RobotShlomo on September 12, 2017  4:37pm


I’d probably refer to it as either vulture capitalism, or as Henry Rollins once called it “disaster capitalism”.

posted by: NewHavenTransplant on September 12, 2017  4:40pm

For the state to compete it needs was MA and NY have: public transport and bike lanes.
The commuter rail system barely penetrates the state. That the rail line going from New Haven eventually up to Springfield MA stops near but does not go to Bradley is a huge missed opportunity: imagine taking a train to the airport—how visionary! Imagine a fast train from Hartford to NYC? Or to Boston. Suddenly CT might actually be more than just a place to drive through.
Meanwhile, Cambridge MA is ripping up parking spaces to put in protected bike lanes; finally it is a bikable place, not to mention NYC’s bike sharing program and miles of riverfront bike paths. CT doesn’t seem to see an empty space that can’t be improved with a parking lot. The one advantage that CT has at the moment is affordable housing: the state should capitalize on that asset and push for faster rail service to NYC and Boston, and a rail connection to an international airport—to make it feasible for people to live here, even as the desirable jobs will go elsewhere.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 12, 2017  4:51pm

This is also a lost for the Gentrification Vampires.

posted by: GroveStreet on September 12, 2017 3:22pm

So, Shlomo, what are you finding for say $1500 a month in NYC. I can tell you, for that money you can live in the East Village. In a 200 square foot basement apartment without access to a window.

So don’t lie.

You can find these apartments In New York for !,500.  there are some for under 1,500

74 NEWLY CONSTRUCTED UNITS AT 210 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Downtown Brooklyn
Amenities: 24-hour doorman, on-site resident manager, elevator building, laundry room (card-operated),
bike storage*, storage room*, fitness center*, resident lounge*, game room*, business center*, outdoor
terraces*, on-site parking* (*additional fees apply)
Transit: Trains - A/C/G, 2/3, N/R, B/D/Q, F; Buses – B25/B26/B38/ B41/B45/B52/B57/B61/B63/B65/B67/B103
No application fee • No broker’s fee • Smoke-free building

90 NEWLY CONSTRUCTED UNITS AT 555 Tenth Avenue New York, NY 10036
Amenities: 24-hour gym*, indoor pool*, outdoor rooftop pool*, dog run*, outdoor landscaped areas*, club room*, bowling
alley*, game lounge*, children’s lounge*, dog care services* and tenant storage* (*additional fees apply).
Transit: A/C/E, M42 Bus
No application fee • No broker’s fee • Smoke-free buildin

They even have SRO

YORK, NY 10019
Amenities: 24-hour security, on-site resident manager, community room, backyard, laundry room, on-site social services
for low income or formerly homeless households with special needs.

In fact I know some people here who are applying for these apartments.How come New Haven can not do this?

posted by: Stylo on September 12, 2017  5:36pm

THREEFIFTH, those are not market rate apartments. Subsidized/affordable housing in New Haven is much, much less than even that.

posted by: HewNaven on September 12, 2017  5:44pm

Indeed, DISASTER CAPITALISM has thrived in many American cities since the 1970s after the cheap remnants of Robert Moses style planning were made apparent to the greedy vultures (and vampires) that we mistakenly name “developers”. They’ve been getting rich on our land for a long time. This is just the latest chapter. And politicians get fooled every time by their promises. They even give them sweetheart deals to take the land and build tacky monuments to progress.

P.S. I watched the leasing agent tying balloons up outside College/Crown today, offering a “move-in special”. I thought all these new apartments were filled up already. Maybe people are growing out of their overpriced microunits?

posted by: TheMadcap on September 12, 2017  5:46pm

3/5, while the subsidized rate is quite affordable on one of those links I clicked, only a small pool of those apartments will go to a lucky few. The rest of the building had a 1br going for $2k a month

posted by: wesunidad on September 12, 2017  6:10pm

To address the elephant in the room - vulture capitalism/disaster capitalism as one other person noted, I do not believe that the politicians are getting fooled - not for a minute.  They know what capitalism is and that it is going down.  They (most capitalists) want to get all they can before it does, and before another capitalist gets there before they do and who then has all the marbles.  It’s not even greed because that’s a human trait.  It’s capitalism.  And, capitalism is a financial and cultural system based on exploitation.  Capitalism is not a human being with human characteristics like greed or mean or selfish.  However, some of the most well-known capitalists like the Koch brothers appear to be greedy human beings.  To me, I doubt they have any human characteristics at all including greed.  They are just doing what good capitalists do, make money and do whatever it takes to get the biggest pile of dough before the other capitalist gets it.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 12, 2017  7:34pm

posted by: Stylo on September 12, 2017 5:36pm

THREEFIFTH, those are not market rate apartments. Subsidized/affordable housing in New Haven is much, much less than even that.

Show me where in New haven.look at the rents in 360 State Street

Look at the rents at Residences at Ninth Square

posted by: TheMadcap on September 12, 2017 5:46pm

3/5, while the subsidized rate is quite affordable on one of those links I clicked, only a small pool of those apartments will go to a lucky few. The rest of the building had a 1br going for $2k a month

True.But there are more to chose from.Here is the list.and you can also find the same apartments in upstate New york

posted by: Peter99 on September 13, 2017  8:29am

Connecticut is simply spending more money in the budget than we bring in. Tax increases affect low and middle class workers way more than the wealthy. We talk of subsidized rates and free programs. There is no free anything, some entity is going to pay in the form of a tax. There is no free lunch. There have been too many deals brokered to special interest groups which are not affordable. They must be stopped and renegotiated. That is going to upset a lot of people. We either do that, or we go broke as a state. People who can are running, not walking, out of CT. Those folks still here are putting in their time waiting to leave when they can. CT is in a death spiral, and if we ignore the reasons shame on those of us choosing to stay. If you change nothing, why expect a different outcome?

posted by: 1644 on September 13, 2017  10:04am

Dwight:  Yes, Massachusetts was famous for high taxes.  Today, however, property tax increases are capped, and its sales tax is 6.25%, slightly lower than CT’s 6.35%, and a lot lower than some Democratic proposals, and its income tax rate is 5% compared with CT’s 7% (okay 6.99%). So, today, we compare unfavorably.
  As far as New Haven’s attractiveness, New Haven does very, very well.  No, we don’t have major league sports teams, and we don’t have an Austin or Athens (Georgia) lie music scene, but we do have great arts and other music. After paying $25 for entry to MOMA a few years back, I thought, gee, YUAG has stuff this good for free! The Festival of Arts & Ideas is great, as is other free music on the Green. Plus, if one wants to avail oneself of the city’s attractions, the ride by train to mid-town takes little more time then a subway from Brooklyn or getting to Boston proper from Quincy. 
Robn/Wes:  Yale’s tax-exempt status is in its charter, which cannot be changed without Yale’s consent.  That is how its been since the US Supreme Court’s Dartmouth College opinion.
JC: Yale and engineering are like Burton and Taylor.  Engineering was not fully integrated into Yale College until 1959, lest the liberal arts College be polluted with something practical.  I don’t think Salovey has any desire to build a broad engineering curriculum, just selected sectors.  Meanwhile, Yale is very strong in life-sciences.
Robot: I pit any girlfriend of yours.
Transplant:  Yes, New Haven could be more bike friendly, but as for public transport, its too small to matter. Most of the economically viable areas are walkable, and certainly bike-able.  The sole exception would be the East Shore.

posted by: robn on September 13, 2017  11:05am


Great boosterism; I appreciate it and agree with a lot of it.
Regarding Non-profit tax exemption: I’m not, like 99% of the NHI commentariat, suggesting non profit taxation. I’ve been suggesting for years that the State Legislature recognize the anachronism….that much of the “public benefit” of YaleU and YaleHospital goes way beyond NHV’s borders. The legislature should fund the exemption, not the city.

posted by: JCFremont on September 13, 2017  11:58am

@1644 Thank you. Your comment, “Engineering was not fully integrated into Yale College until 1959, lest the liberal arts College be polluted with something practical.” Might be said about the entire state in our so-called Trinity-Wesleyan-Yale “Brain Corridor.” Could you help me with the Burton-Taylor reference? Yes New Haven is strong on the Life Science, it shows, what other than The University is the strongest employer in town? The Hospital of course, what is New Haven’s other big industry? Lawyers of course.

On Public Transportation, “Most of the economically viable areas are walkable, and certainly bike-able.  The sole exception would be the East Shore.” We will know if East Rock becomes too expensive and some pioneers venture across the water public transportation won’t improve but a new Yale Shuttle route will appear, lest the liberal arts mind be polluted by East Haven.

posted by: 1644 on September 13, 2017  1:15pm

A good article on bio-tech in CT, and how the state has undercut New Haven by pushing bio-tech to Farmington.

posted by: 1644 on September 13, 2017  2:36pm

JC:  The reference is to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.  Every so often, Yale says it is really, really, really going to invest in engineering, and this time it really, really means it.  But in the end, engineering gets kicked to the curb.
Sorry, I like to make obscure references, thinking I am proving how knowledgeable I am, when I am really just proving how old I am.
Regarding the Yale shuttle, the silliest suggestion I have seen here is that Yale allow non-Yalies to ride its shuttle, or eliminate the shuttle in favor of buying Yalies passes for CT Transit buses.  The entire reason for the shuttle is to keep Yalies safe from Townies, eliminating a need for co-eds to call YPD for late night rides lest they be assaulted.  As far as East Haven goes, while lots of 34 & 35 members may live there, I doubt any faculty or grad students, post docs, residents, etc. live in East Haven.  Branford and towns east have lots of faculty, and Branford has some grad students, post-docs, residents, etc.  I think the faculty would rather live on Bassett Street than East Haven.

posted by: HewNaven on September 13, 2017  5:14pm

Hey! If you like 1950s movie stars and if you think YUAG and MoMA are basically the same thing, and you assume most townies scare Yale “coeds” then you must be a hip New Haven fella!

posted by: 1644 on September 13, 2017  5:53pm

Robn:  PILOT recognizes the state’s obligation, although, as I have stated before, the public benefits of many non-profits extend far beyond the state’s population, and even the nation’s.  This is true not just with Yale, but with Choate,  Hotchkiss, and perhaps a few other schools that attract people from around the globe.  I suppose we could say that these institutions are located in wealthy places, and it all comes out in the wash, what with Massachusetts having Harvard & MIT, Calif. having Cal and Stanford, the UK having Oxbridge, etc. On a local level, obviously not all Hopkins students are from New Haven, but some New Haven students may attend Notre Dame in West Haven, Hamden Hall, etc., so the public benefit may equalize between towns.  M The ost thinking suburbanites recognize the regional benefits of Yale, SCSU, and YNHH, so don’t mind some PILOT payments to their hosts.  The question remains, how much should be transferred from the suburbs to New Haven?  Branford host Hospice on the waterfront former headquarters of Echlin.  It’s pretty easy to calculate the market vale of the property.  Yet, what is Harkness Tower’s market value?  If Yale did not exist, what would be the value of anything in New Haven? I mean, absent Hospice, that waterfront land would have the same value, but absent Yale, the entirety of its campus would be worth much less.  Further, if costs are shared regional. should political power be shared as well?  New Haven often strikes me as less frugal because most of the money it is spending it not coming from locals.  New Haven’s often say they want more regionalization, but regionalization would mean sharing power and control with a suburban population of which over 40% voted for Trump.

posted by: LookOut on September 13, 2017  8:41pm

“U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro of New Haven called Alexion’s decision “shocking and shameful.””

What is shocking and shameful is that in the 26 years that Rosa has been in office, Connecticut has gone from a vibrant and thriving state to one that is circling the toilet….and leftists like her continue to support the same ridiculous policies that created the problem.

Term limits or smarter CT voters.  We need one or the other

posted by: robn on September 13, 2017  9:34pm


For every 20 high modern paintings held by MOMA, the single best work of that artist is held by YAG. This is no exaggeration.

posted by: Badger21 on September 14, 2017  8:02am

I mean really, this wasn’t a surprise. You could see this coming since they day they moved in.

NewHavenTransplant has a point that we need airport access, but taking a train to get there isn’t the answer, especially in New Haven. The whole “train” idea for Bradley never got off the ground back in the 80s when they tossed around the prospect of building a tram to get people to and from parking. It was shot down at the time as being too costly, and an eyesore.

So what if you can take a commuter train to Hartford or Windsor Locks? You still need to either build the rail connection from the main line to the airport (good luck getting that done anytime this century, let alone with public support) or you’ll be forced to wait for/grab shuttles and taxis.

It’s curious that our government officials love to ignore the corporations in favor of doing what THEY think is nice. Corporations and smarter government officials in years past saw the need for a better Tweed airport. 3 times specifically in relation to Alexion has Tweed been lambasted as needing more service and better facilities:

#1 - June 2013 (

#2 - Feb 2016 (

#3 - May 2017 (

Now I know there are many individuals locally who love to hate Tweed. And I say to you that you need to get this whole NIMBY idea out of your heads. You complain about the state losing money, losing corporations, losing tax base. And when there’s a concrete proposal that has thousands of times over been proven to work all around the country, any improvements to Tweed’s facilities and service has been decried as if it’s some infectious disease.

Really wish people bothered to do research and learn about how safe, reliable, QUIETER, aviation has become. It’ll surprise you.

posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017  8:14am

HN:  YAUG is an encyclopedic collection, while MoMA is focused on modern art. MoMA has some iconic pieces YUAG doesn’t have, buy YUAG has iconic pieces of its own, including modern ones.  Moreover, YUAG (and the BAC) is FREE, and doesn’t have the crowds of MoMA.  On a Sunday, I can park for free and walk right in!
As for the Yale Shuttle, I was extant in New Haven at its inception, and remember the fear the rape of a woman undergrad had caused on campus, and the sense of fear that Yalies had of the New Haven beyond the gates. Another “innovation”:then was the blue lights indicating YPD emergency lines, spread throughout the campus because New Haven’s streets were perceived as danger zones where one could be attacked at any time.  In the 1980’s, Yale, at DeStefano’s urging, started buying and upscaling at lot of commercial real estate adjacent to the campus, in large part to make those areas safe.  New Haven is better today, but robberies such as that of the elderly Yale prof walking home from work still occur on its streets.

posted by: HewNaven on September 14, 2017  10:06am


Yes, YUAG and MoMA are totally different things. That was exactly my point.

But more importantly, are you suggesting that Yale “solved” “the fear the rape of a woman undergrad had caused on campus, and the sense of fear that Yalies had of the New Haven beyond the gates” by providing them with an exclusive shuttle system? And this was meant to help bridge the town/gown divide, or widen it? Why not let them take city buses? Or, at this point, since we’re such a walker’s paradise, why not just let them walk home like the good ole days?

posted by: JCFremont on September 14, 2017  11:24am

Thank you 1644 for the clarification. However I was not expecting the Yalies to move to East Haven, I was suggesting New Haven’ s East Shore neighborhood. I understand the confusion, many New Haven residents know that the city extends across the water. For those unaware, East Shore is the area between The Annex and Morris Cove. As I mentioned in a prior comment, the East Shore offers many suburban amenities. Yard Space, Garden Space, Driveways, maybe even a garage and sidewalks to walk parks etc. It is everything the suburbs offer but your guilt of “abandoning the cities” will be eased by the tax bill you receive from the City of New Haven and you’ll be on the same side of the city as Fair Haven so crime is close but fairly well isolated. Oh and you’ll have a bigger say on Tweed Airport, by the way, that’s where it’s located. My reference to the Town of East Haven is that Yale’s fear is that these New pioneers will find after time your allegiance to downtown will wane and the’ll find it’s easier to turn right for shopping and even dinning.

posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017  1:01pm

JC: Yes, East Shore has a low-class suburban feel to it.  Westville and East Rock/Prospect Hill, have the same “suburban” amenities, trees, garages, large(er) lots, etc., without the low-class vibe.  That’s why so many faculty and administrators live in those neighborhoods.  Prospect Hill is actually a pleasant walk to campus and downtown, so long as one is not robbed.  Westville is more bicycling distance.  Edgewood and Dwight also have houses with yards and driveways.  I would expect those neighborhoods to be re-gentrified before the East Shore, although I suppose there are some nice places by Harry Townshend’s old place. Personally, I would rather live on McKinley or Edgehill than Townsend.  Although all of these, of course, come with the honor of New Haven taxes.

posted by: steve on September 15, 2017  12:22am

To NewHavenTransplant; To say that CT should have rail service to outlying areas because they exist in MA and NY is apples and oranges. CT has nowhere near the population saturation of the two other states. Its not possible from a financial standpoint and a practical one. The new line from New Haven to Springfield is already projected to lose money, but the narrow minded bunch in Hartford plow ahead with no real time studies that would show no support for such a foolish plan. Its been said by Alexion that part of the reason for the move is the lack of flights and options at Tweed airport. The state is fighting Tweeds plans to upgrade the runway which will allow more airlines and more service and whats the states motivation?  Build a wall around Bradley and crush any other airport in the state that offers commercial airline service. Draw a 10 mile circle around Tweed and Bradley and look at the population numbers, Tweed is right in the middle of a much larger population base and the state knows it. They hawk Bradley airport even in Fairfield county with ads saying “come home to Bradley”. Fairfield has airports in White Plains and New York that are much closer. The state is hung up on Hartford and ignores the rest of the state. The Tweed law suit will be decided soon as to if the airport can upgrade its runway and hopefully Tweed will win the decision and local businesses and the flying public can enjoy using a nearby airport and not trekking almost up to Massachusetts to Bradley field. The state has shown its ineptitude in running a business friendly environment and doing whats best for all its citizens, even the ones in the metro New Haven area.

posted by: HewNaven on September 15, 2017  10:06am

New Haven has had the same problem for a long time: imagining that 1,000,000 people live here.

Be YOURSELF, New Haven.

posted by: robn on September 15, 2017  11:10am


856,875 pop in New Haven County….close enough?

posted by: HewNaven on September 15, 2017  12:17pm


Obviously those 800,000+ are too spread out, and MOST IMPORTANTLY they are politically divided with ancient borders. Fix that somehow and we can talk.

posted by: 1644 on September 15, 2017  12:42pm

HewHaven: “Why not let them take city buses?”  Because it subverts the entire purpose of the Yale shuttle, to separate Yalies from townies.  I thought I was obvious:  the while point of the shuttle is to widen the town/gown divide, protecting shielding Yalies from contact with the great unwashed who may prey upon them.  The unwashed do ride buses.

posted by: 1644 on September 15, 2017  12:53pm

Rob & Hew: Yes, Greater New Haven has close to a million, but Connecticut towns don’t market themselves as a region.  Sure Matt N. may, sotto voce, tell a prospect that there are great homes and school in Woodbridge, but it won’t be in any brochure. Meanwhile, we pay to move companies and baseball teams from town to town within the state. Nemerson is correct that New Haven offers CT’s best competition for modern business, but too many in the state are tethered to Hartford to let it whither as Windham, at alia have been allowed to.  Maybe Ohio has the same Cleveland/Cincinnati problem.  BTW, Amtrak to Newark is a good an air connection for long-haul flights as any around here.

posted by: JCFremont on September 16, 2017  9:21am

@1644 Love it! How’s this, we can market East Shore/Morris Cove as the Staten Island area of New Haven? Must be the reason when I’ve heard the comments “oh, that’s the Italian area of New Haven?” Am I wrong that they’re thinking mechanics, small contractors and other strong armed professions, they’re not thinking The Renaissance are they? Many others would just call it White.  Speaking of Harry Townsend’s old place, what is it’s statues? Will the family plan to own it or are we looking in the near future it becoming a New Haven Breakers or Biltmore?  As far as the transit situation maybe there could be a G Bus Express (fare a bit more) that would go down Townsend turn and speed over the Q-Bridge directly into downtown by-passing and buffering passengers from some less desirables.

posted by: Mary S on September 16, 2017  1:24pm

Just wondering how many jobs actually lost here. Anybody know?