Boathouse’s Final Building Phase Begins

Gregg Wies & GardnerHenry and Shawn Carey Monday morning slowly lowered a two-ton purple double-epoxy coated rebar form over one of 50 20-foot-tall columns that will support the second floor of Long Wharf’s newest/old attraction, the Canal Dock Boathouse.

The festive Rebar “planting” took place by the harbor as 75 folks — officials, architects, and engineers — celebrated the inauguration of the second and final phase of the boathouse’s construction.

The boathouse is replacing Yale’s historic Adee Boathouser, which was demolished as part of the $2 billion Harbor Crossing expanding I-95. The state and federal governments are paying the tab to build the new boathouse. Due to delays and attendant cost and design increases since then, it’s ending up costing $40 million. The project is expected to be completed in about a year.

The city itself still needs about $1 million to add floating docks and ramps, reported NewHaven City Plan Director Karyn Gilvarg, who, along with City Plan staffer Donna Hall, was celebrated for shepherding the complex multi-agency effort.

High school kids, students from the University of New Haven environmental sciences classes,  and veterans groups will bring their boats from storage on the boathouse’s first floor down to the water via those floating docks and ramps.

That activity along with historical interpretive displays (including preserved facades and other elements of the 1911 boathouse) will all be manged by Canal Dock Boathouse Inc, a not-for-profit organization operating under the leadership of former Yale rower and later Olympian John Pescatore.

Pescatore, who this spring introduced dragon boat racing to New Haven harbor, said as the new group gets its sea legs, more dragon racing, canoeing, kayaking, and sailing will likely take place out of the boathouse. He said the activity will fall under the rubric of “affordable access to non-motorized boating and education” that celebrates the river and the Sound.

Allan Appel PhotoGilvarg reported that when the complex project required another $10 million for for materials, design, and permitting fees, the state capped its contribution. The Federal Highway Administration came through to fill the gap.

The point person who secured that “mitigation funding” was New Haven U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. Monday she hailed not only the jobs the project has and would create, but its contribution to “historical elements within a new modern design.”

Along with the city’s growing food truck festivals at Long Wharf, the project, she said, “will change the under-utilization of the waterfront.”

Gilvarg said that visitors will be able to follow the historic Farmington Canal Greenway Trail to the boathouse. Bicyclists will be able to use that, too, including a section of projected dedicated cycle track along Water Street. If all goes well, drivers will find 50 dedicated parking spaces beneath the highway and across from the boathouse, along with a lot on the other side of the highway, a lot that should hold 250 cars, said city Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson.

All those spaces would be leased from the state. New sidewalks, already in the process of being graded, will lead parkers to the boathouse, Gilvarg added.

That Rebar is double-epoxyed for preservation purposes in the tough marine environment, said Andrew Carey, whose company, Universal Foundations, has put in tons of the stuff in other parts of the Harbor Crossing enterprise.

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posted by: indabridge on September 26, 2016  4:01pm

Does anyone know what they did with the elegant red stone boathouse that was under the Q bridge? I thought they were rebuilding with that, just moving it!!
It was so beautiful. This is just modern and ugly.

posted by: Bradley on September 26, 2016  5:24pm

@ indabridge “The boathouse is replacing Yale’s historic Adee Boathouse, which was demolished as part of the $2billion Harbor Crossing expanding I-95.”

While I think that the new Q Bridge is oversized, essential improvements to the bridge such as adding shoulders would have, by themselves, doomed the old boathouse. I am amazed that the feds were persuaded to pay for the new boathouse. Relocating the old boathouse was considered, but was far more expensive. Moreover, the new boathouse serves different functions than the old boathouse. And the new boathouse is designed to be hurricane- and storm surge-resistant.

posted by: Esbey on September 26, 2016  5:51pm

When they starting talking about this boathouse, I swear was still a young person.  Will I live to see the Coliseum site redeveloped?

@indabridge, I believe some of the facade of the old brick (Yale Adee) boathouse will be preserved inside of this structure.  Kinda odd.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on September 27, 2016  7:47am

“The point person who secured that ‘mitigation funding’ was New Haven U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro.”
ACTUALLY NOT: it was DeLauro’s STAFF that did all the work associated with such funding. Rosa DeLauro is legendary for, among other things, having THE largest staff on Capitol Hill, with an annual payroll exceeding $1Million. THESE staff members are the folks who do grant writing, file for overdue military medals, etc., etc. 
If such “constituent services” were removed from the duties of members of Congress and transferred to non-partisan, local Federal offices, then voters finally would realize that, despite all the blathering self-adulation, there’s no reason to keep voting for these same photo-op-seeking, perpetually-campaigning, careerist politicians over and over again.
And these elected officials could focus on the only thing they actually are SUPPOSED to be doing (with expert assistance): legislative agenda-setting and related research and studying/voting on bills that finally reach the floor for a vote.
Of course, such a radical change also would mean that Congress only would need to be in session for about 2 weeks each year. Hard to justify a $170,000/year salary for 2 weeks of work, so such change never will happen.
Well, I can dream, can’t I?...

posted by: Renewhavener on September 27, 2016  9:04am

“Due to delays and attendant cost and design increases since then, it’s ending up costing $40 million. The project is expected to be completed in about a year.”

There is more to the story.

Sadly why it is costing more and taking longer it is not really being reported.

For anyone interested, Phase I was the concrete platform in the harbor.  That’s been done for a while.  Phase II is the building, the start of which is the occasion marked by the article above.  Am very critical of the article, not because the occasion is uninteresting, but because it stops short of exploring where the project details start to get grey.

Phase II bid almost a year ago.  A. Prete was the low bidder at $17,448,000.  So why, might we ask, was the second bidder, Nosal, awarded the project?  Nosal’s bid was $19,150,062.  Moreover, if A. Prete made a mistake and could not go to contract, was their bid bond pulled?  That would have at least covered the gap between the two bids so that the federal and state tax payers among us would not have to foot the bill for their error. 

Also, it is kind of a head scratching disappointment that it has taken this long to get going.  Meanwhile Phase I’s platform has sat barren taking weather for close to two years with the only purpose seemingly to be an anvil for seagulls to drop shellfish on… Was all this bid switching in the background the real reason for no progress?

Please investigate NHI. 

At a minimum please call Mike Fumiatti in Purchasing at (203) 946-8201 and ask for an explanation as to where the $1.7 Million disappeared to…  If someone took this out of an armored car, it would be big news.  But instead if a bureaucratic apparatus bungles it away, we just shrug and celebrate setting rebar?

posted by: indabridge on September 27, 2016  5:53pm

Thank you Esby for the information
Still is extremely disappointing for the millions of dollars spent that they refused to protect the historic value of the stunning building. Today’s architects only focus on function not form. It’s very sad anothe New Haven icon gone.