$1B COMPLEX IN BRIDGEPORT GETS APPROVAL
Byline: Sharon Edelson
NEW YORK — A $1 billion complex of stores, restaurants and entertainment features will be developed on the Bridgeport, Conn., waterfront by The Conroy Development Co. of Greenwich, Conn.
Construction is slated to begin next fall and be completed by 2002.
Last week, Conroy was given the green light by the city and state to develop Bridgeport Harbour Place, with a combination of public and private funds.
The complex, which has been six years in the planning stages, will include a 1 million-square-foot super regional value mall built on a site occupied by the former Steel Point Power Plant and adjacent parcels along the waterfront.
Conroy has plans for a total of 52 waterfront acres. The project is part of an overall revitalization of the Bridgeport harbor, which will include a rebuilt marina, cruise ship facility, docks, water taxies and a ferry terminal.
A centerpiece of Bridgeport Harbour Place will be an ocean liner converted into a hotel, restaurant and nightclub, permanently docked at the western edge of the harbor.
“We’re going to open up the waterfront,” Alexius C. Conroy, founder and president of Conroy Development, said Monday. “Most of this property has been privately held. We will develop an esplanade similar to the one at Battery Park City,” in lower Manhattan.
The retail component follows the formula of Mills Corp. properties, which mix value-oriented retailers with entertainment and themed restaurants.
Conroy said he plans to build a dozen anchor stores. He said he hopes to secure tenants such as Nordstrom Rack, Off Fifth-Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus Last Call, but has just begun talking with retailers and no leases have been signed.
In addition to the anchor stores, there will be hundreds of smaller manufacturer outlet stores, Conroy said. Entertainment, such as a multiplex cinema, will be integrated into the mall.
In addition to the mall, there will be another shopping area, modeled after a New England fishing village, with 200,000 square feet of smaller retail space and restaurants.
Stamford Town Center, the area’s largest regional mall, is about 20 miles away from the Bridgeport Harbour site, and two smaller regional centers in Trumbull and Milford, Conn., are about five miles away, Conroy said.
But Conroy doesn’t see Bridgeport Harbour Place as a threat to the other centers. “We’ll be bringing more shoppers to this area,” he said, noting that Bridgeport Harbour is expected to draw consumers from as far as Rhode Island, Massachusetts and parts of New York and New Jersey.
“People see this as an alternative shopping environment,” he said, referring to the Bridgeport Harbour experience. “It’s not something they do every day.