March 16, 2015

“Let’s get these properties back on the tax rolls.”

The March program for Connecticut Building Congress asked the question, “What lurks below the surface?” and provided a lot of information from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s brownfield development program. This state-run program is designed to assist development on sites that are underutilized due to the presence of pollutants. On hand was DECD’s Deputy Commissioner Tim Sullivan, along with two developers who have utilized the program.

Nate Whetten, Freeman Companies and a Connecticut Building Congress Program Committee Co-Chair, kicked off the discussion with an introduction of the panel members. He invited the audience to see what Connecticut is doing to “get these properties back on the tax rolls.”

Mr. Sullivan opened the discussion with an overview of the need for brownfield development in order to better utilize one of the state’s most precious commodities – land.  “Brownfield is the fundamental backdrop against which almost all development in Connecticut takes place.” He went on to describe how essential it is given Connecticut’s rich history of manufacturing within its borders, and the need to reduce the potential for sprawl. Over $85 million has been spent since 2012 in brownfield development, with another $30 million in the pipeline. Aid comes in the form of grants for municipalities, loans for developers and agencies, liability relief and tax increment financing (TIF).

The discussion turned to John D. Freeman, Vice President and General Counsel, Harbor Point Development, whose company used the DECD program for their brownfield development in Stamford. When completed, this project will represent $3.5 billion worth of residential, retail and office development. “The big hurdles we faced when looking at the old Pitney Bowes property were contamination and a decayed and neglected infrastructure.” The Connecticut DECD stepped in to help identify and quantify the environmental issues and address those issues so that development could begin.

The program attendees also heard from Jeffrey Guimond, Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Ball & Socket Arts Inc., another developer in need of assistance from the DECD program. The Cheshire factory was opened in the 1850’s and supplied buttons to the armed forces, public safety uniforms and fashion until it closed in 1992. Among other environmental issues surrounding the factory, a broken pipe was discovered underneath the floor.  “Without the assistance of the DECD, we would have had to completely demolish this historic building, and preservation was a big part of the site’s upgrade,” explained Mr Guimond. “The DECD has allowed Ball & Socket Arts to raise funds without potential donors worrying that money will go towards site cleanup rather than developments and arts programs.”

The CBC will hold its next program on Tuesday, April 14th at the Cascade in Hamden, CT. At the “Intelligent Expansion to Expand Intelligence” program, guests will learn about the emerging trend of institutions expanding their reach by opening satellite branches in Connecticut cities, purchasing and renovation non-education buildings and evaluating options for non-traditional building delivery methods. Our panel of thought leaders in higher education will discuss where university planning is headed and the strategies being used to guide the decision making.
News media are invited to attend as our guest.

Visit for registration and sponsorship opportunities.


Theresa Casey, FSMPS, CPSM
Executive Director
Connecticut Building Congress

Rich Bergan
Marketing Co-Chair
Connecticut Building Congress

Dave Walsh
Marketing Co-Chair
Connecticut Building Congress


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Connecticut Building Congress, Inc. P. O. Box 107 | Rocky Hill, CT 06067-0107

Michelle Hopson, CBC Executive Director, (203) 340-0092 or
Grace DelStritto, CBC Administrative Assistant, (203) 934-4831 or 
Jennifer Gordon, CBC Operations Coordinator Intern,

Emily Yih, CBC Systems and Data Intern,  

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