The Rusty Scupper, a culinary landmark on New Haven’s Long Wharf, is set to close at the end of October, and the owner of the building wants to replace it with luxury condominiums.
The restaurant will shut its doors due to disagreements between Ohio-based Select Restaurants, which operates the Scupper, and New Haven-based Fusco Management Company, the landlord. To replace the waterfront restaurant, Fusco has said it would like to build a mixed-use site, with high-end condominiums filling the bulk of the space and retail making up the rest, the New Haven Register reported last week.
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The departure of the Rusty Scupper, a seafood restaurant, will leave 12,000 vacant square feet for developers. It will also put about 70 people who work there out of a job, said Michael Copeland, the restaurant’s general manager. Copeland said employees had been told in early August that the Scupper would close. The move was particularly galling because business has been booming, he said.
“The closing hurts everyone,” he said. “And the business has been fantastic. It’s hard to take when you see how well the business has been doing.”
Karyn Gilvarg ARC ’75, executive director of the City Plan Department, said the condominium project is still in its preliminary stages.
“It’s conversation,” she said. “The developer said, ‘I think we might do that.’ It’s really hypothetical.”
But Gilvarg said she approves of the general idea.
“The city supports mixed-use neighborhoods,” she said. “We want to see Long Wharf filled in and redeveloped because it’s fairly lightly developed.”
Deputy Director of Economic Development Tony Bialecki said that the area’s redevelopment is already going strong, with another condominium development and a boathouse soon to sprout up.
Bialecki said the new emphasis on mixed-use development is in contrast to decades of urban-renewal policies that shunned the idea.
“Mixed-use is actually an old model downtown, but when urban redevelopment happened, the city just built big boxes and started knocking down lots of the mixed-use sites,” he said.
A number of other mixed-use projects have made news in the city lately. In the past two weeks, the downtown Shartenberg Project — which will turn a downtown parking lot into, among other things, a luxury apartment tower — was given the green light by the city, and the Science Park Development Corporation began accepting bids to turn the old Winchester gun factory into a mixed-use complex.
There is another Rusty Scupper restaurant operated by Select Restaurants in Baltimore.