Board approves Science Park complex

A dilapidated former factory in New Haven’s Newhallville neighborhood, adjacent to Science Hill, is primed for a makeover.

In a meeting Tuesday night, the Board of Aldermen unanimously approved expanding Science Park to include the shuttered Winchester Repeating Arms factory on Winchester Avenue. The expansion will allow the Concord, Mass.-based developer Winstanley Enterprises to convert the building complex into mixed-use space for offices, apartments and retail, a project expected to cost more than $40 million.

Once renovated, the complex will include about 200 apartments and the headquarters of Higher One, a New Haven-based financial services company that is expected to hire hundreds of new employees as a result. At the meeting, aldermen said the new development will be a boon to the city’s economy.

“This shows that New Haven is on the rebound,” Ward 24 Alderman Marcus Paca said before the vote Tuesday.

The Winchester Avenue factory closed in March 2006, after the Belgian-owned U.S. Repeating Arms Co. decided to end its New Haven operations due to increasing foreign competition and declining sales.

Winstanley Enterprises is collaborating on the project with the national development company Forest City Enterprises and the Science Park Development Corporation, a nonprofit corporation of which Yale and the city are affiliates.

The developers’ attorney, Carolyn Kone, said in letters to the Board of Aldermen that the developers will publicize job openings at Higher One to the surrounding community and try to find permanent jobs for New Haven residents. In addition, she said, the developers will set aside 20 percent of the complex’s apartments for low-income housing.

Ward 20 Alderman Charles Blango, who represents Newhallville, said he has been pleased with the developers’ efforts to reach out to residents in the Newhallville and Dixwell neighborhoods.

“I thank [Winstanley Enterprises CEO Carter] Winstanley for taking the time to meet with our constituents,” Blango said. “We will have a better outcome from this [development] process.”

City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the redevelopment is “an incredible opportunity for job growth and neighborhood revitalization in New Haven.” Tony Bialecki, city deputy director of economic development, said the new development will bring new life to a factory that was once an important part of New Haven’s manufacturing economy.

“It means a lot to an area that has been struggling economically,” he said.

At a press conference Wednesday morning at the factory, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said the building’s transformation from a factory to a financial services center is representative of the city’s evolving economy.

The New Haven Independent reported after the vote that construction on the project is likely to begin in late December or early January, according to David Silverstone, head of the board at the Science Park Development Corporation.

Comments