Wondering what's the latest developments in East Haven economic development?
East Haven Patch sat down with Art DeSorbo, the town's economic development coordinator to get the latest scoop. And there is lots going on.
DeSorbo said over the next two years, the top priority of his office will be improving the town's economic development climate.
"My goal is to make a major impact in certain locations in town," he said.
Those locations: Frontage Road, the town's industrial park and Route 80 corridor.
And so, here's an overview of the update DeSorbo passed along of the latest activities in town.
When the news came down several weeks ago that was location in for a new spot in Milford, residents raised their concern about what kind of ripple effect that could have on the entire area.
But there is good news.
DeSorbo reports that C.A.White, the company that owns and manages the property shopping mall where HomeGoods currently is located, has already lined up another business for that space.
"They have a tenant in line," DeSorbo said.
Although he was not yet ready to publicly name the company, he added that it is a "big box retailer."
"And it's a good quality store," DeSorbo said.
In addition to moving into the current HomeGoods storefront, the new store also is looking to rent the additional 25,000 square foot space now occupied by the .
"So, they are going to be even bigger than HomeGoods," DeSorbo said.
This also means, however, that the teen center will have to relocate to another spot in town.
DeSorbo told East Haven Patch he met with center officials Tuesday morning to discuss the news of their pending relocation, and the meeting went well.
He added that the center, which has been renting the space it now occupies across from the , on a month to month basis, will remain in its current spot until the end of the school year.
"In the meantime we're actively looking for a new location for the teen center," he said.
DeSorbo said he thought it was unlikely the town would find space in one of its properties. And so, most likely the teen facility would be moved to a privately owned building.
There are other developments along Frontage Road.
will soon be moving to a smaller location within the the same shopping plaza it now occupies. And DeSorbo said the real estate company that manages the property has already lined up another "big box user" for their space.
In addition, DeSorbo said he has already reached out to the company that owns the shopping center adjacent to along Frontage Road in an effort work on a plan to get those empty store fronts filled as well.
DeSorbo noted that most of the highway construction in East Haven related to the Q Bridge approach along Frontage has now been completed and Home Depot itself already generating "a lot of traffic,"
"So, I think we can really work on development," he said of the shopping center.
Town Fair Tire
DeSorbo reports that he is now working with on a plan that would expand the business' current Coe Avenue facility.
The coordinator said the company, one of the largest in town, had been considering a move to neighboring Branford because they just simply needed more space. Town Fair has been leasing space in West Haven because it has run out of space at its East Haven location.
In the past, DeSorbo said, the state Department of Environmental Protection was very hesitant about allowing properties in that area to fill in the soil allowing for new construction.
But DeSorbo said it appears that some of those more strict regulations have been eased somewhat by the state. And he say he is confident he can work on an expansion plan that will allow the tire company to increase the size of its Coe Avenue warehouse.
"And that means additional tax (revenue) and jobs for our town," he said.
is also looking to expand its East Haven site.
DeSorbo said like Town Fair Tire and other larger businesses in town, he contacted the 's officials within the first couple of weeks he returned to his post within Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr's administration.
"And they told me that they are not only interested in expanding — they are anxious to do so," he said.
He added he was happy to see two important businesses in town not only stay in town, but looking to expand their current facilities.
"That's pluses all round," he said.
The coordinator said one of his top priorities over the next two years is to work on ensuring there are no vacant spaces in the town's industrial park.
Activity is also happening in the north end of town.
DeSorbo said the to move into the now vacant space of the former A & P Supermarket along Foxon Road "has been taken off the table."
Instead, the coordinator said the space "is likely" to be filled by "another major food store." And that he expects to make an official announcement of who will be filling the vacancy early this summer.
Additionally, DeSorbo said he has also been attempting to "sit down with the current owners" of the Millbrook Plaza — which sits across the street from the old A&P storefront at the the corner of Route 80 and Mill Street — in order to speak with them about filling empty space there.
He added that the Foxon area in general is an important part of the town's overall economic development plans.
200 Tyler Street
And it appears that the administration in regards to the old East Haven High School at 200 Tyler Street.
"Most likely, it will be senior housing," DeSorbo said. "That's what we're working on now."
The coordinator said this will allow the property to be put to "a productive tax-paying use," while also ensuring it does not become the site for some sort of major, commercial operation.