Downtown Crossing wins state funds

New Haven will receive $2.2 million from the Connecticut Department of Transportation for the Downtown Crossing project.

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro announced on Thursday that they had secured funding from the state for the city’s largest development project, which will replace portions of Route 34 with urban boulevards and erect a medical office tower in the cleared space. The project, expected to total $135 million in public and private funding, aims to reconnect the Hill neighborhood of New Haven with the downtown area.

“I am thrilled that the state was able to award Downtown Crossing these funds and do so in a fiscally responsible manner, using dollars that otherwise would have gone unused,” DeLauro said in a Thursday press release. “Finding the resources to allow this project to move forward in a timely manner is incredibly important to economic growth and job creation. The eventual connection of Temple and Congress and Orange and South Orange will help revitalize the area, help our innovative local business to grow and give a sizable boost to our local economy.”

After more than a year of deliberation, the Board of Aldermen approved the Downtown Crossing project at its Aug. 6 meeting, paving the way for the city to repurpose 11 acres of land from Route 34 into an expanded downtown business district. Under the plan, the city, state and federal government will contribute a combined $35 million to clear the cite of 100 College St. — the project’s signature first phase — for real estate development.

Winstanley Enterprises was awarded ownership of the land at 100 College St., last year and the business plans to spend $100 million building a parking garage and 10-story office building targeting biomedical companies as residents.

Urban design consultants envisioned other possibilities for the rest of the repurposed land — including another medical building, a housing tower, a third building for Gateway Community College and a park — at a November meeting in the New Haven Public Library.

City officials have said the plan will not only generate new jobs and tax revenue but also reunify the downtown area and medical district now bifurcated by Route 34.

“This project is transformational — we are talking about taking out a highway,” City Hall spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton told the News in April. “It will be a game changer in terms of the character and experience of the downtown area.”

Construction on the project will likely begin in January, according to the New Haven Register.

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