Science Park is making large strides to move from red to black as officials are projecting a budget surplus of roughly $1 million for 2001. This would be the first profitable year for the biotechnology and Internet start-up complex since its establishment nearly 20 years ago.
The historically blighted Science Park witnessed a turnaround after its board of directors signed a $200 million, 65-year ground lease with Cambridge-based Lyme Properties, who agreed last fall to manage about half of the park’s properties and to construct new facilities.
Dick Grossi, president of the Science Park board of directors, attributed a large part of the success to Lyme’s intervention.
“They’ve taken over certain properties and we’re getting income from those properties,” Grossi said.
The Science Park complex, established in 1982 to fill the economic void left in the Newhallville neighborhood by the departure of the Olin Corporation’s manufacturing plant, has reported heavy financial losses in previous years.
Although Science Park may no longer be losing money, Grossi said the new income will be used to pay back taxes and debts created from a recent renovation project. Grossi, however, said he felt the renovations were well worth the cost.
“The building that we renovated is fully occupied and is earning rent,” Grossi said. “The occupation of that building was the second major factor in Science Park’s projected profit this year.”
As biotechnology plays an increasingly important role in the New Haven economy, city and community leaders have said the biotech boom represents a way to bring new career and educational opportunities to New Haven’s traditionally underprivileged neighborhoods.
New Haven includes more than 17 biotech firms, most located in Science Park. With $500 million to spend now that the proposed Long Wharf mall has been shelved, city leaders have considered using the money to lure more biotech firms, which have already brought an estimated $1.1 billion to the New Haven economy.
Originally, Science Park was marketed as a source of employment for New Haven residents. Despite this, in its 19-year history few of its employees have come from the area.
Grossi said he felt a successful Science Park could be a major source of jobs and income for New Haven in the future.
“The whole purpose has been to create jobs for the neighborhood,” Grossi said. “The money Science Park makes could do this as well as bring additional tax revenue into the city.”
For Yale, perhaps the most relevant aspect of the park’s promising future is its newfound independence. A consistent revenue will allow Science Park to be self-sustaining.
“In the past, we had to ask for help from the state, the city, or Yale. Now we’ll have the income to act like a business,” Grossi said.