“Man, New Haven needs a face-lift,” Rick, a construction worker, said yesterday afternoon. “I am really looking forward to the new complex.”
That new complex — dubbed the 10th Square — will be multi-purpose, to say the least. Five-hundred fifty residential units, 80,000 gross square feet of office space, 978 feet of retail storefront, the Long Wharf Theatre and, of course, 1,000 parking spaces will replace what used to be the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which met an explosive fate in January 2007, when the city demolished the 35-year-old structure in 19 seconds.
Locals around the future 10th square were unaware of most of the details of the new structure when interviewed Tuesday. Still, despite some concerns, the majority said they were eagerly anticipating the project’s completion.
Heith Cole, the manager of the Rite-Aid on Church and Crown streets, who has lived in or around New Haven for nearly 15 years, said he looks forward to the new development. Why? Because it will help business.
“I think it’s great,” Cole said. “The new complex is definitely going to increase foot traffic here. I think our food-and-beverage sales will get a boost, especially.”
Cole said he does not expect that he will have to change his sales emphasis to suit the changes brought by the development. He said he thinks his store sells goods in suitable proportions and that the changes brought by the development will not be big enough to affect the proportions.
Cole said he does worry, though, that some city services could suffer as a result of the development.
“Services such as police, fire, waste management might be of concern,” he said. “But when the city gets its tax dollars, it can employ more policemen, firefighters and street cleaners. So I’m not too concerned.”
Tom McDaniels, the general manager of The Lansdowne, an Irish-style bar and grill on Crown Street next to Rite-Aid, said he was especially excited to hear that the new complex will have such a grand scale.
“We’ve opened for only three weeks, and the business has been fantastic,” he said. “Having a complex like this will only bring much more business.”
Joe Masher, the manager of Criterion Cinemas, also expressed great enthusiasm toward the project, even with the installation of Long Wharf Theatre.
“I’m not worried at all,” Masher said. “I don’t think theater productions compete for customers with movies. Usually, sporting events and concerts do, but not theater productions.”
Rick, the construction worker, said the new complex should also create jobs, including some for construction workers.
A pedestrian waiting to catch a bus near the site pointed out that while new apartments are a sign of local prosperity, it is also important the apartments be affordable.
Ward 7 Alderwoman Frances “Bitsy” Clark said the city plans to host a meeting with local business owners and residents to solicit their input.
The Newton, Mass.-based Northland Investment Corps., which was contracted by the New Haven Board of Aldermen to develop the 4.5-acre lot, will pair up with Yale School of Architecture Dean Robert A.M. Stern ARC ’65.