River Street Municipal Development Plan

The City of New Haven is implementing a $20+ million redevelopment of the historic River Street section of Fair Haven.  The project includes acquisition of brownfields; restoration / adaptive reuse of historic buildings; development of a new waterfront park; reconstruction of the public infrastructure; and establishment of new design standards to create an appealing and sustainable environment along the Quinnipiac River. The City has identified 25 acres for acquisition, remediation and sale to eligible businesses.  Upon full plan implementation, 300 new jobs are projected.  To date, the City of New Haven, the State of Connecticut, the US Economic Development Administration, the US Environmental Protection Agency and private concerns have invested in this project

River Street MDP
River Street MDP, with (A) adaptive reuse of the mill spaces; (B) new infill construction, and (C) the waterfront park

Project Summary.   
In 2002, the Economic Development and City Plan Departments prepared, and the New Haven Development Commission approved, the River Street Municipal Development Plan (MDP)  Click here for a copy of the full planThe plan’s objectives include:  the redevelopment of vacant land and buildings; the restoration / adaptive reuse of historic buildings; the development of a waterfront park; the improvement of the public infrastructure; and the implementation of standards to create an appealing and sustainable environment.  The project area, historically used for commercial and industrial purposes, is set between two major parks and contains an industrial historic district consisting of late 19th and early 20th century buildings. Within this area, the plan identifies 25 acres consisting of 11 properties, which the city will acquire, remediate if needed, and dispose of to eligible businesses and developers.  The plan sets strict standards that will assure tasteful and responsible development of designated sites, and provides for assistance to existing commercial and industrial property owners in improving their buildings.  Renovation and adaptive reuse of the historic buildings, including the Bigelow Boiler manufacturing complex, is a key goal of the plan.  Artist live/work spaces and professional offices are well suited to this site. 

The plan also calls for extensive public improvements in the project area, including the reconstruction of River Street and the installation of sidewalks, signage and street trees along it, similar renovation of side streets, repair and replacement of bulkheads, the creation of a 50-foot, landscaped pedestrian walkway along the Quinnipiac River linking Front Street Park and Criscuolo Park and construction of a fishing dock.
Status. The city has invested over $10.0 million in this project and has made consistent progress in achieving the goals laid out in the River Street Municipal Development Project Plan.  The following accomplishments have been made over the past six years:

  • Infrastructure:  The City of New Haven reconstructed River Street with new paving, sidewalks, granite curbs and street trees.
  • Property Acquisition:  The city has acquired six of the 11 properties designated for redevelopment, comprising about 14 acres.
  • Property Disposition:  Suraci Metal Finishing, a manufacturer involved in the coating of metals for a variety of uses, acquired 90 River Street from the city in 2005 and has since renovated the 80,000 square foot facility and has moved its operation there.  The company currently employs about 50 people and expects to grow to about 100 employees over the next three years.   
  • Property Disposition:  Capasso Restoration signed a lease with an option to buy for 34 Lloyd Street in 2007 and expects to complete renovation of the 14,000 square foot building and move its 25 person operation there in the fall of 2008.
  • Pending Acquisitions: Agreement has been reached to purchase the Hess Oil Terminal and the Dupont transport facility.
  • Environmental:  The City of New Haven has completed environmental assessments throughout the project area. 
  • Design of side street improvements should be completed by September, 2008
  • Design of waterfront stabilization measures should be completed by October, 2


A Vision for River Street

A vision for River Street.  The image on the upper left, which includes Hess and the Bigelow sites, was the existing condition as seen from the Quinnipiac River.   The scrap yard and oil tanks were recently cleared from the site.  The image on the lower right is a conceptual rendering of a mixed use future, as offered by Rutgers University professor Anton Neleeson.


MarketingPlease share your ideas and proposals for River Street with Helen Rosenberg of the City’s Economic Development Office at (203) 946-5889..  Click here for a copy of the City’s current marketing brochure.