Tag Archive: Economic Development

  1. 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.

  2. Insomnia Cookies opens on Chapel Street

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    Night owls, rejoice — Insomnia Cookies is ready to fill your every gluttonous late-night desire.

    The delivery chain started at the University of Pennsylvania opened its Chapel Street store last Wednesday. It sells a variety of desserts — nine types of cookies, three jumbo deluxe cookies, cookie cakes, brownies, chocolate milk (yum), ice cream and ice cream cookie sandwiches — and is open until 3 a.m. If winter ever comes and makes the walk to Chapel Street way too hard, Insomnia can deliver within a three mile radius through 2 a.m. Store manager Cedric Emery said they’ll provide discounts if you order online.

    Emery said Insomnia is already baking between 300 and 400 cookies during the day. It will hold a grand opening celebration this Tuesday, at which customers will receive a free cookie.

  3. Ay! Salsa empties out High Street location

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    Has a food cart won Battle Arepa?

    ¡Ay! Salsa, a beloved Latin restaurant at 25 High St., appears to have closed its doors. The restaurant’s space was emptied of all equipment, furniture and decoration as of Sunday afternoon, and a phone call to ¡Ay! Salsa’s number went unanswered.

    A construction worker inside ¡Ay! Salsa’s former space said that the restaurant had left and that another business would be taking its place, but he said he was uncertain if ¡Ay! Salsa had moved elsewhere, or what might replace it.

    Brothers Ernesto Garcia and Franco Gonzales, along with Gonzales’ wife Yani Acosta, opened the High Street location of ¡Ay! Salsa in June 2009. A month later, Gonzales returned home to Oaxaca, Mexico, leaving Acosta and Garcia in charge of ¡Ay! Salsa. Shortly after Gonzales’ return to Mexico, he and his wife divorced. Garcia opened Ay! Arepa on his own in the fall of 2010, and Acosta replaced him with a new head chef, Jason Thorp.

    Check back for more updates.

  4. Richter’s will reopen “before the snow melts”

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    Six months after turning off its tap, historic Chapel Street pub Richter’s is slated to re-open under new management in early 2012, the New Haven Independent reported Wednesday.

    John Ginetti, co-owner of 116 Crown, took over Richter’s last summer with hopes of revitalizing the bar, famous for its 150-year history in downtown New Haven and for serving half yards of beer. Ginetti said in August he hoped to reopen Richter’s sometime in the fall, but found it in worse condition than he anticipated. The barroom tiles were “caked black” and the old kitchen could not accommodate crowds, he said. Now Ginetti’s working to fix this lack of “infrastructure,” replacing the kitchen equipment and much of the venue’s flooring, he told the Independent.

    As he rebuilds Richter’s, Ginetti is also working to preserve its history. Opened in 1858, the bar was renamed the Taft Tap Room when it became a part of the Hotel Taft in 1910. It survived Prohibition as a speakeasy, but closed its doors in 1970. The bar was reopened by undergrad H. Richter Elser ’81 in 1983 and became a popular campus hangout. Ginetti told the Independent that many of the pub’s historic decorations will stay, including a moose shot by Elser’s maternal grandfather in 1908 and a collection of crew paraphernalia from Elser’s days on the Yale men’s crew team.

    “The bones of the place are really quite fantastic,” Yale spokesman Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93 said in August. “It’s not as if you can really go in and do a radical makeover.”

    Ginetti told the Independent the new Richter’s will be open “before the snow melts.” We’re hoping that means it will be open in time for Feb Club.

  5. New Haven adds 36 retail stores in 2011

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    As the city’s economy continues to recover from the recession, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said last week that New Haven’s retail market had one of the strongest years “in recent memory.”

    Thirty-six new retail businesses opened in New Haven in the last year, DeStefano announced in a Wednesday press release. New additions to the city range from multi-billion-dollar national chains, such as the Apple Store at 65 Broadway and the Verizon Wireless store at 72 Church St., to local startups, including Arpaia Lang Jewelry at 806 Chapel St. and the Cave A’ Vin bar at 975 State St.

    Anne Haynes, head of the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven, said that large-scale institutions and developments — 300 George Street, Higher One, Science Park — are acting as “magnets” for the city, spawning tertiary business developments in their wake.

    These new businesses did little to help New Haven’s unemployment rate, though, which stayed at 9 percent throughout the year, City Hall spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton ’04 said.

  6. Hardware store may take over old Staples location

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    Yale’s hardware buffs may soon be able to satisfy all their torque wrench and screwdriver needs with just a short walk from campus.

    Harbor Freight Tools, a national chain of hardware stores, is seeking to open a new storefront at 84 Whalley Avenue, the now-vacant property that formerly housed a Staples office supply store. At a Board of Zoning Appeals meeting last week, attorney Anthony Avallone requested a variance on behalf of the storefront’s owner that would allow the proposed hardware store to set up shop, the New Haven Independent reported. The board did not vote on Avallone’s application for a variance, but instead referred the request to the City Plan Commission due to a technicality over parking space requirements.

    The site of the proposed Harbor Freight Tools store has been vacant for two years since Staples closed its doors in 2009. Avallone tried to help the property owner establish a Save-A-Lot grocery store at the location a year earlier, but zoners denied the plan due to neighborhood concerns that the project would threaten the then-nearby Shaw’s grocery store. Shaw’s shut down several months later.

    At the meeting, Whalley residents declared their support for Harbor Freight Tools as a potential neighbor. Sheila Masterson, head of the Whalley Avenue Special Services District, said at the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting that it “makes [her] crazy” every time New Haven residents must leave the city to purchase hardware tools in North Haven instead.

    Harbor Freight Tools has 370 stores across the country. The proposed Whalley Avenue store would be open seven days a week and employ 18 part-time workers and 12 full-time workers, according to an advisory report to the board.