The old traffic light in front of 25 Science Park was replaced by city workers last month, nearby food shop owner Vinny Yik, 48, said.
“They were preparing for Yale to move in,” he said.
Indeed, Yale began moving employees into the 165,000 square feet it is leasing at 25 Science Park, a formerly empty lot, yesterday. The moving process will last until the first week of December, Associate Vice President for Administration Janet Lindner said Wednesday. About 650 staff from Yale’s information technology services, finance, budget, business services and other departments will ultimately vacate their offices in 155 and 175 Whitney Ave. and move to the rented space at Science Park, where they will remain for a “long time,” as Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93, associate vice president of the Yale’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs, put it.
The four-acre plot of land between 155 and 175 Whitney Ave. has been slated since 2005 to become the new campus of the Yale School of Management.
But why move to Science Park?
The building is surrounded by desolate factories and biotechnology companies. Although Yale was a tenant under the building’s previous owner, Lyme Properties, this is the first large-scale University move to occur in Science Park in years. Few students interviewed said they have been to the place, although it is only a few blocks away from the recently closed Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.
It is also near the site of the two upcoming residential colleges.
Although University administrators said they just want to be good neighbors to the area, some neighboring residents said Yale is making a notably vested effort to transform the industrial locale into a safer and more hip neighborhood for the 850 students who will come to the area in 2013.
“They are not improving the community for those who are left,” resident Cynthia Harrison, 49, said. “Anytime Yale comes around, the rents go up. Yale protects its own.”
In response to these concerns, Morand told the News that there is no connection between the move and the residential colleges.
“Occupancy of vacant space,” he added, “is better for the … city.”
And, administrators say, the neighborhood will receive a large benefit from the University presence there. A new Science Park Yale Police Department beat, more walking patrols and added security near parking areas will cover the neighborhood surrounding 25 Science Park, Lindner said. The Yale Shuttle will now stop at the six-floor office building, administrators said, and because Yale rents, it must also pay taxes for the lease.
Lindner said that Yale has been working to better integrate the area and its residents. The University hosted neighborhood tours for employees recently, she said.
In past community meetings, residents of Ward 19 — which includes 25 Science Park — praised one inclusion to the neighborhood: colleges 13 and 14.
Clive Lawrence, a security guard hired by Yale, works near the new University offices Mondays and Wednesdays. From 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., Lawrence escorts employees from the building to the parking lot half a block away.
“There must be some kind of slight danger around this neighborhood,” he said. “A driver told me I should carry a gun.”
On Wednesday, a team of about 20 Yale ITS workers came in to set up phones and computers. Next Monday, 150 more employees will arrive.
The entrance of 25 Science Park leads into a lobby, where Anna Chen Belcher ’89 from Orange Street’s locally famous caterer Anna’s will set up her spinoff store. A sign lay overhead: “WELCOME YALE.”
Two blocks away, a temporary parking lot for the building has been established at the site of old Winchester Repeating Arms Company, once a bustling industrial force. The lot is empty; the factory, still intact, is desolate.