Tag Archive: Economic Development

  1. Valet parking hits Union Station

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    While commuters in the past have been forced to frantically search for last-minute parking when traveling through Union Station, they will now have the option of valet parking, thanks to a new joint effort between the New Haven Parking Authority and Conn. Department of Transportation that was unveiled Tuesday.

    “We are trying to put customer convenience and service first, and this is the kind of innovation that our customers are increasingly looking to us for,” said Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker in a statement.

    In addition, customers seeking to use the valet system will be able to text ahead during their return trip and have their car waiting for them when they arrive.

    The move is expected to alleviate travel concerns for Elm City residents willing to pay a little extra to avoid parking in the city. It is also expected to increase the amount of available parking spaces for those who do not wish to make use of the valet parking.

    Only five percent of Yale students have cars on campus, according to the U.S. News and World Report.

    The service will be operational Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. at a cost of $20 per day.

  2. Higher One’s new headquarters open for business

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    For its first 100 years, the Winchester Repeating Arms factory was known for producing an assortment of deadly firearms. Gov. Dannel Malloy, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and other city and University officials were on hand Tuesday as Higher One started a new chapter in the factory’s life — as the headquarters for New Haven-based financial services company Higher One.

    Founded in 2000 by Mark Volchek ’00 GRD ’00 and Miles Laster ’02 while they were undergraduates, Higher One has grown in the past decade to include 240 employees providing financial services to students at 770 colleges across the country. The company spent about $45 million to turn the factory into a new headquarters, the New Haven Independent reported.

    At its height, the factory employed 18,000 people before it closed in the 1960s. Higher One hopes to have 368 employees working at the new headquarters by 2018, according to the Independent.

  3. Grand List shows growth in taxable property

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    New numbers out from City Hall show a growth of $860 million in the total assessed value of all taxable property in the city.

    The city’s most recent grand list, released in a Tuesday press release from the mayor’s office, shows a 16.7 percent increase in total property value over last year. The majority of the change in total property value is due to property revaluation. Approximately one-sixth of the change, or $139 million, is attributable to net new growth, which Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said indicates improved economic conditions in the Elm City.

    “Last year, New Haven experienced the strongest Grand List growth in the state. New Haven continued to experience strong growth again this year, yet another indicator that the City’s economic development initiatives are succeeding,” DeStefano said in a press release.

    Of the 20,855 residential properties in New Haven, 46 percent increased in value in the latest revaluation, while 54 percent decreased. Using 2010 rates, the growth would generate over $6 million in new tax revenue using 2010 rates, DeStefano said.

  4. Street car might actually come to New Haven

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    Forget Yale Transit — New Haven officials are looking at getting a street car once again.

    Last October, the Board of Alderman struck down a proposal to apply for an $800,000 grant from the federal government to build a streetcar because they would have to pay $200,000 in matching funds if they won it. But in November, Kelly Murphy, the city’s economic development chief, submitted a new request that asks for the $200,000 through state or regional transportation funds.

    Now, community leaders are trying to gain approval from the Board of Aldermen to accept federal funding for studying the feasibility of bringing a streetcar system back to New Haven, the New Haven Independent reported Tuesday. The New Haven Urban Design League held a meeting last Thursday at the New Haven Free Public Library that drew 50 people, including Ward 6 Alderwoman Dolores Colon, to discuss the proposed street car.

    The proposed street car’s three-mile route would begin at Union Station, continue along Church Street and Whitney Avenue to Grove or Edwards Street, and then turn down Temple Street back towards Union Station. There would be 12 stops along the route, and officials estimate the project will cost between $20 and $30 million.

  5. City Hall releases its performance evals

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    Mayor John DeStefano Jr. just relased his annual evaluations of seven highly-ranking city officials for 2011, describing the strengths and weaknesses he saw in each of his employees. These seven officials submitted evaluations of the employees working under them, as well.

    In one evaluation, released to the New Haven Independent on Friday, DeStefano told social services czar Chisara Asomugha that her performance over the past year had been “mixed.”

    “I think areas in which you feel comfortable such as public health and homelessness advance more aggressively,” he wrote. “Other areas—violence and BOOST seem more uneven.”

    Destefano and his deputies are bound by a 2004 court decision, filed by the Freedom of Information Commission, that requires them to release all evaluations upon request. Many of the mayor’s deputies forego any personalized comments, preferring to rate their employees as either “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

    New Haven’s chief administrator Rob Smuts ’01, for instance, gives all his employees “satisfactory” ratings, and has the employees initial their forms to indicate that they have discussed performance in private.

    “I believe in transparency in government,” Smuts told the Independent after 2010 evaluations were released. But when the evaluations are published on a news site, “that doesn’t exactly lend itself to a useful tool.”

    Check out the evaluations here.

  6. Bespoke is closing this weekend

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    In some sad news certain to rock campus, Bespoke, the College Street staple famous for its drinks, friendly bartenders and expensive food, will be closing on Feb. 4 after six years of business, according to an announcement posted to its website.

    Like a phoenix, a Moroccan steakhouse called “Gilt” will rise from its ashes, in time for Valentine’s Day. Gilt’s website includes a menu, which features courses like Spiced Saffron Couscous, Fish Tagine and French Fries. The cocktail menu has not yet been released, so keep checking the website like it’s SIS. We’ll be checking, anyway.

  7. For Connecticut, predicted surplus turns into deficit

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    Connecticut is currently looking at a budget deficit of $144.5 million, a far cry from the $100 million surplus it predicted two months ago, the Hartford Courant reported Thursday.

    The state’s ties to Wall Street are part of the problem — as a result of a downturn in holiday bonuses, wealthy bankers living in Fairfield County did not produce as much tax revenue. Real estate tax revenue has also fallen, while a consistently low unemployment rate means less income tax being paid. To balance the budget, the state is proposing a system of budgeted lapses for state agencies, with organizations spending less money than they were originally allotted.

    Some on the right have argued that Malloy’s tax increases have proven ineffective and indicate poor planning. Malloy has committed to ending this fiscal year with a surplus, the Courant reported.

  8. Yale still faces budget shortfall

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    More than three years after the onset of the recession, administrators say Yale’s budget has still not fully recovered.

    In a letter to faculty today, University President Richard Levin and Provost Peter Salovey said that although the University endowment rose by 21.9 percent in the fiscal year that ended June 30, a rise in spending is expected to outpace an increase in revenue for the 2012-’13 academic year. This anticipated gap will require administrators to make budget cuts — but not the “across-the-board cost reductions” experienced in recent years.

    “This year’s budget process will close the Fiscal Year 2013 gap, and give us time to reflect on the future priorities for the University and the best approach for funding them,” Levin and Salovey said. “Over the coming months, and extending into next fall, we will be working with deans, directors, faculty, and staff to identify the most important priorities for the future and how we might find the resources to advance them.”

    Salovey and Levin said budget cuts have reduced the $350 million budget gap that followed the roughly 25 percent investment loss in fiscal year 2009. But revenue is only expected to increase by 2.6 percent next year because of the endowment’s spending rule while expenses are anticipated to grow by 6 percent.

  9. Connecticut dumps $22 mil into re-branding

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    Last week, the state of Connecticut launched a two-year, and $22 million marketing campaign in order to “aggressively” promote the state as a go-to destination for tourism, enterprise and family fun. (This is incidentally also the plot of a “30 Rock” episode.)

    Apparently, cohesive state marketing can foster economic growth and improve the general welfare of the Nutmeg State. But the plan is also necessary for competitive purposes.

    “For the last two years, Connecticut has been the only state in the region to have allocated no marketing money for stimulating business development and tourism,” Malloy said in a press release. This new marketing strategy seems like a thinly veiled act of war targeting our New England brethren, especially—though this is really just a guess—New Hampshire.

    Connecticut needs a brand-new identity, but what should it be? Most campus favorites—Wenzels, bulldogs and the like—are indigenous to New Haven, not Connecticut, and far be it from us to monopolize such an important initiative. Here are a few fun, little-known facts about the Constitution State — kudos to you if you can work any of them into a pitch.

    1) Connecticut’s motto is qui transtulit sustine, which translates roughly to “he who transplanted, sustains.” These words of wisdom make slightly more sense when juxtaposed with Connecticut’s agrarian coat of arms and Colonial roots. It’s no “Live Free or Die,” but, hey, we’ll take it.

    2) In a similar vein, Connecticut’s state song is “Yankee Doodle.” Other notable state songs include “Do You Realize??” (Oklahoma) and “Rocky Mountain High” (Colorado), so this is a battle we are objectively losing.

    3) Connecticut neglected to ratify the 18th Amendment. Much to the glee of early 20th century college kids, the 18th Amendment happened to be Prohibition.

    4) The can opener, the submarine and the Frisbee all got their start in Connecticut.

    5) Connecticut’s state animal is the sperm whale.

    Listen, there are some great things about Connecticut. Our convenient East Coast location, Le Petit Café, the Merritt Parkway and delightfully sporadic weather patterns (re: who doesn’t love snow in October?) all converge to make Connecticut a state arguably worthy of the Constitution’s name. Surely Governor Malloy and his Don Drapers can think of something. Maybe less like this:

    or this:

    and maybe more like this:

  10. Gov. Malloy wants Sunday beer and liquor sales

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    In a move that seems destined for celebration here at Yale, Gov. Dannel Malloy hopes to give you more time to buy your beer.

    Malloy is expected to propose changes to state liquor laws that would allow supermarkets and package stores to sell alcohol on Sundays, the Hartford Courant reported on Friday. Malloy also wants to extend the hour until which liquor can be sold until 10 p.m., and allow bars to stay open until 2 a.m. every night, not just Fridays and Saturdays. He is expected to announce these proposals in a Sunday press conference.

    While these changes have been proposed in the past, they have never received the governor’s support and have failed to pass the state legislature.

    Malloy hopes the proposed changes will boost revenue, but critics say that won’t happen. Instead, they argue that Sunday alcohol sales will only decrease customer traffic the rest of the week while forcing businesses to pay to remain open another day.

    Proponents of the changes, meanwhile, argue that the state must allow liquor sales on Sunday to stay competitive with Massachusetts and New York, which allow alcohol to be sold every day of the week. They have also said that increased alcohol sales could bring in as much as $5 million per year to state coffers.

  11. Tee hee hee the News gets pranked

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    In an email to the campus community Saturday afternoon, a mysterious sender named “Yale Daily News” claimed that the News would begin charging for its content. The emailer also claimed that, starting Jan. 16, online readers would only have access to 10 articles per month until they needed to purchase a subscription, and that papers would no longer be stocked in Linsly-Chittenden and Commons.

    The email was false. While we are flattered by the attention and were briefly excited at the prospect of being paid for our work, our content is and always will be yours to enjoy, free of charge. Papers will be in Commons and Linsly-Chittenden Hall on Tuesday and there will be no digital paywall. Keep on reading, Yale. It’s on us.

  12. New Haven has nation’s lowest apartment vacancy

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    New Haven has the lowest apartment vacancy rate in the nation, according to a a ranking released last week by Reis Inc., an organization that conducts studies on real estate markets. Clocking in at 2.1 percent, New Haven beat even notoriously saturated New York City, at 2.4 percent.

    New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. told the New Haven Independent that the ranking bodes well for the city.

    “Low apartment vacancies translate to a strong property tax base to pay for important city services, and population growth that helps support business growth and job creation,” he said. “It also challenges us to develop more housing, especially worker housing to keep rents from rising disproportionately.”

    This ranking includes data from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011. New Haven also had the lowest vacancy for the third quarter of 2011, at 1.9 percent.