Patriot Marine, a dredging and marine construction company currently located in Massachusetts, plans to move its base to New Haven.

On Wednesday night, the Community Development Committee of the Board of Alders unanimously approved a proposal from Patriot Marine to move forward with its purchase of city-owned waterfront property on 90 River St., as long as certain language in the proposal is adjusted before the next meeting.

Patriot Marine signed an agreement with Maverick Partners to privately buy the former Suraci Metals property, but, in order to obtain the waterfront access necessary for the company’s business, it must also acquire a city-owned strip of land along the Quinnipiac River. This strip is currently reserved for public access along the waterfront and was allocated as a pedestrian walkway in the 2002 River St. Municipal Development Project Plan. However, because of a lack of funds, the walkway has not yet been built.

“I feel very strongly about our citizens having access to the riverfront,” said Dolores Colón ’91, the Ward 6 alder and co-chair of the Community Development Committee, during the meeting.

Patriot Marine hopes to buy the 50-foot-wide strip of land from the city for $80,000 — a value determined by the city’s economic development office based on an existing appraisal for a similar property nearby, according to a staff memo to the Community Development Committee.

Patriot Marine has agreed to keep the waterfront land open to New Haven residents at all times, except when barges are being loaded. In addition, the company has agreed to grant the city easement, or permanent access, to the property once the city receives the necessary funding to build the pedestrian walkway for which the land was initially allocated.

At the meeting, led by Ward 2 Alder Frank Douglass Jr., co-chair of the committee, participants also discussed the job opportunities that Patriot Marine would bring to New Haven residents.

“We try to get local people jobs,” Ward 29 Alder Brian Wingate said. “That’s what this board is all about.”

Robert Lockyer, a representative for Patriot Marine, said the company has not yet partnered with New Haven Works — an organization created to connect New Haven residents with good jobs. However, he assured the committee that the company wishes to hire local people.

Lockyer said the company would not hire out of state when it has the opportunity to bring in local residents and train them in-house.

“To establish a base where we can have full time employment is what we need,” Lockyer said.

After the meeting, Wingate told the News that anytime the board has the opportunity to expand job opportunities for New Haven residents, it is a good idea to do so.

In addition, during the meeting, he said he wants the committee to track the employment opportunities the company provides to ensure that New Haven residents “will be a part of that process.”

Patriot Marine hopes to close the deal by the end of next month.

Ashna Gupta |