Harp: Developers “Sniffing Around” Route 34

City of New HavenMayor Toni Harp is confident that once the city reconnects Temple Street to the Hill, someone will construct a new building there and create new jobs.

Harp expressed that confidence during her latest “Mayor Monday” appearance on WNHH radio. (She appeared on a Wednesday, not Monday, because Monday was a religious holiday.)

She was referring to a competitive $20 million federal “TIGER” grant the city has won to extend Temple Street — which now ends at North Frontage/MLK Boulevard — across Route 34. It’s the latest installment of “Downtown Crossing,” a multi-stage elimination of the Route 34 Connector mini-highway that is reconnecting downtown and the Hill neighborhood.

The city had sought $40 million, the estimated full cost for not just filling in the road and creating, say, bicycle and pedestrian access, but to make way for cars, too.

The idea is that that work will open up two new building lots (bisected by the new cut-through) across from the new 13-story Alexion office building at 100 College St.

When the city first learned about winning the $20 million, officials said they were looking at whether to redesign the plan to keep the cost at $20 million. That would probably mean not including a full-fledged street for car traffic.

Harp said Wednesday that the plan now is to seek the rest of the money to make it a full-fledged street.

“There are developers who are sniffing around” the area looking for a place to build, she said. She noted that developer Carter Winstanley, who owns the 300 George biomedical research building, showed up at a recent public event about the $20 million grant.

“There’s also the possibility of an extension of Gateway” Community College there, she said.

Also on “Mayor Monday,” Harp said she expects that next police chief will be either a current or a former New Haven cop. In New Haven, “people understand the importance of community policing.” Outsiders who come in to take over a department often “have different ideas about how to run a police force,” she said. “I don’t think you can bring someone from the outside who understands how we do it.”

Harp said she doesn’t expect the department to fill its currently vacant fourth assistant police chief position until a permanent new chief is hired. That’s because the current interim chief, Anthony Campbell, may want to return to the post of assistant chief if he doesn’t end up becoming the permanent new chief, she said. But it’s also because she’s not sold on the idea of needing four assistant chiefs; New Haven created four such positions based on an consultant’s recommendation following a 2007 federal corruption investigation. Harp said she wants to see the issue studied, and then leave it up to the next police chief to decide whether he or she needs all four positions.

On an previous “Mayor Monday” episode, Harp criticized remarks by New Haven’s new state’s attorney, Patrick Griffin, equating black-on-black crime with fatal police shootings of unarmed civilians. She said Griffin has since come to meet with her. They had a productive chat, she said. They discussed having his office and her Community Services Administration work together on a diversion program for arrested drug users, to steer them to treatment rather than a court case. “I’m looking forward to having a good relationship with him,” Harp said.

Click on or download the above audio to hear the full episode of “Mayor Monday,” which also touched on the final Clinton-Trump debate and housing for millennials in New Haven.

Today’s episode was made possible with the support of Gateway Community College and Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C.


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posted by: Renewhavener on October 19, 2016  5:32pm

Sniffing around ‘eh?  Before one wonders what substance is headed up their nasal cavity, consider that the only contiguous Class A leasable floor plate in town over 20,000 rsf is in 157 Church St per Loopnet: http://www.loopnet.com/for-lease/new-haven-ct/office/?e=u , and other large commercial buildings are selling for what is starting to look like a premium and almost at a replacement cost.

If the pace of multi-residential renews post-election / post-PMC-law-suit-stupidity, AND interest rates stay low, we might just see a mid-to-mid-high rise play somewhere in town.  Maybe not here at downtown crossing temple st. block due to the highway and other technical complications, and certainly not to the scale shown in the rendering of this article, but perhaps close both in location and size.

By the way, with all this merger momentum coming out of YNHH…:
...when is Harp going to ask Marna to tear down and replace East Pavilion?  Would rather see the $300MM committed to L+M get used here. 

A job of that magnitude might also boost faith in the Nemerson team’s ability to get a BIG job out of the ground while simultaneously providing more catalyst for LWLP to get their job on its feet.

Think about it.