Dale Kroop, Director
call (203) 287-7030
Report Card Update for Economic Development
Report Card: Evaluation of Previous Plan Results:
Through June of 2018
The Town’s current Economic Development Plan (expiring 12/31/18) includes goals for business incentives, physical improvements to neighborhoods, and growth in commercial districts. These incentives and improvements have resulted in increases in the commercial tax base, and the creation of jobs will generate important infrastructure improvements adding to the general appearance of commercial and residential areas.
Below is an overall summary of some of our accomplishments through the years and over the last three years. Although it doesn’t cover all of what we do, it provides some data related to our incentives and redevelopment initiatives.
1. Incentives to Attract New Businesses and Encourage Expansion
To maintain its competitive edge in the region, the Town of Hamden offered incentives to businesses considering locating to Town or expanding at their current Hamden location.
● STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 1:
Tax Deferrals, Grants, and Permit Waivers. Since 1998, the Town has approved 144 (15 since July 2015) applications including 95 projects that have been completed, 6 are currently under construction or are awaiting approval at zoning, etc., and approximately 43 projects never went forward or were not completed.
From a sample of 50 projects completed, the type of projects completed under the incentive program included manufacturing (19), investment properties (8), retail/restaurant (5), construction (7), service (8) and misc. (5).
Total Impact on Grand List From Businesses Taking Advantage of Incentives
As a result of the Town Economic Development Plan, since 1998 the commercial grand list (assessed value) will have increased by a estimated value of $20,000,000 from projects/businesses that were directly or indirectly assisted through the program. This increase does not include personal property or other new tax revenue generated by other business locations and expansions leveraged by the success of these projects such as Home Depot, Highwood Square, State Street redevelopment, etc.
Because of the general state of the economy and because of automation through the years, it is hard to pinpoint how many jobs were created by companies assisted by our program. Based on data accumulated, we estimated that over 500 jobs were created and another 300-400 were retained in Hamden by companies who participated in our incentive program from 2008-2018. That number fluctuates somewhat, based on seasonal and contractual work.
The success of the incentive program isn’t only being measured by new taxes collected and jobs created but also by other impact-type development in which staff plays a direct role.
For example, as the Town has completed infrastructure improvements and promoted its Business Incentive program, many new stores have opened, such as Burlington Store, Aldi, Price Rite, Walgreens and several restaurants.
The purchase and rehabilitation of blighted or run-down buildings improves the quality of neighborhoods, improves the confidence (and bottom line) of local businesses, and encourages additional investment. Examples of this kind of investment include:
● The Highwood Square development at the site of the former Johnson Perfume Company and the adjacent Nabisco Bakery ($12 million total investment). This investment resulted in a tax-generating development of 27 artist housing units and 14,000 S.F. of commercial space.
● Canal Crossing and Mather Street Apartments – Canal Crossing will ultimately include 393 apartments while the Mather Street Apartments will include 77 rental units. This nearly 500 of new units has generated significant development interest in the surrounding area of Dixwell Avenue
2. Infrastructure and Redevelopment
The Town of Hamden has little developable land (5.7% commercial) of any substantial size for commercial and manufacturing development. In fact, the Town has the lowest vacancy rate in the region. The total commercial vacancy rate in Hamden is 7.5% and in the region it is 13.6% (source C.B. Richard Ellis 12/31/17). More recently, as of March 31, 2018, Hamden’s industrial vacancy rate was 6.7% as compared to its region (12.7%)
● Strategic Initiative 2.1: Utilize the Hamden Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) for the development of difficult or brownfield properties, putting them back on the tax roles.
The Hamden Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) achieved IRS non-profit status (501c4) in 2016. HEDC has created administrative capacity by opening several bank accounts, a post office box, etc. The HEDC has established a strong track record through its role as a developer and project manager for the Town of Hamden.
Projects Completed: Examples
● 400 Goodrich Street: Remediation and Sale of a 16,000 S.F. industrial building
● Newhall Structural Repair Program: Renovation of 102 units of housing
● Newhall Deconstruction Program
● Rochford Field/Villano Park Redevelopment
● Zero Energy House
ü Hamden Business Incubator: 40,000+ S.F.
ü Soil Management Fund
ü Abatement & Demolition of a portion of (Former Middle School)
ü Remediation and Rehabilitation of 2259 State Street
● Strategic Initiative 2.2: Continue a Predevelopment Cost Fund
This “seed” fund was available for legal costs, appraisals, environmental assessments, etc., to secure parcels for site assemblage and redevelopment. Costs will be reimbursed to the fund where possible. Projects that benefited from this Initiative include:
ü Route 15/Operating Engineers land purchase
ü Westwoods Road Land Swap for the redevelopment of a major traffic intersection
ü Daddio Farm subdivision plan
ü Canal Line Disposition
ü Appraisals of several properties being negotiated
3. Small Business and Entrepreneur Assistance
The Town offers technical assistance to people opening or running small, town-based, and start-up businesses. The assistance will be one on one and in a classroom format.
● Strategic Initiative 3.1: Continue the Business Assistance Center (BAC) to Help Small Businesses with Business Planning, Raising Capital, and other Technical Needs.
The BAC began in 2005 for small businesses (in particular start-ups) needing technical help and guidance in developing business plans and handling accounting, marketing, and development issues. Since that time, the BAC has worked with over 284 distinct clients, offering a variety of services. There have been many success stories from the BAC including a variety of pedestrian-type businesses (i.e. copy center, bakery, coffee shop). Out of 284 businesses assisted, 35 opened, 210 continue to work at it, and 39 decided not to proceed.
● Strategic Initiative 3.2: Continue the Business Education Series and individual seminars using technology and hands on sessions.
Topics to include business formation, cost flow analysis, and preparing a business plan.
4. Planning, Marketing and Communication
Hamden must market its unique strengths and positive climate for business development and investment. To do so, the Town has identified key target industries and companies, trade associations, realtors, and other organizations.
● Strategic Initiative 4.1: Continue to make the Economic and Community Development Web Site more useful as a business recruitment tool for the Town-wide business community.
The Town continues to make numerous upgrades to the Economic Development web site. This page provides more frequently updated announcements, information on available development sites for major employers and outside users such as our realtor community, and other State and Federal links.
● Strategic Initiative 4.2: Continue Recruitment of New Developers, Investors, and Businesses
As part of the Town’s marketing efforts, the Town networks in regional, Statewide and national organizations (both public and private) to bring investments throughout the Town. This effort includes attending trade shows, conferences and continuing education opportunities. The Director is now part of several collaborations and serves in the following capacity:
a. Connecticut Economic Development Association
b. Hamden Chamber of Commerce
c. Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
d. International Business Innovation Association
e. International Council of Shopping Centers
f. National Brownfield Association
g. CT Community Development Association
h. Northeast Economic Development Association
i. International Business Innovation Association
● Strategic Initiative 4.3: Continue a Town Database of Available Properties and Financial Resources
Such an updated and accurate database continues to include:
a. Available locations of technology infrastructure resources.
b. List of available Hamden properties by category (e.g. size, locations), etc.
c. List of Brownfield properties, including opportunities for finance.
● Strategic Initiative 4.4: Continue Planning Collaboration to Study The Viability of Commercial Districts
Such collaborations include:
a. Downtown “Hamden Place”
b. Northern Hamden Economic District
c. “Magic Mile” and/or Retail Committee
d. Study of Entertainment and Cultural Enhancement Districts
e. Quality Development along the Farmington Canal Line
f. Study & Planning for the State Street and Highwood Commercial Corridor
g. Business/Industry Clusters
The Department has been an integral part of committees that study these important areas. Additionally, the Department has formed several Industry Clusters that are the largest collecting group of taxpayers and employers. They are:
● Healthcare ● Workforce Development
● Manufacturing ● Financial Services/Insurance
● Retail ● Creative Industries
● Real Estate ● Green /Energy Industries
● Solopreneur (Home-Based Businesses)
Neighborhood Leadership Program
Hamden Business Incubator Progress Update
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