East Haven Economic Development Update

We sat down with East Haven Economic Development Coordinator Art DeSorbo who passed along an overview of the latest activities in town.

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.

Frontage Road

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.

Calabro Cheese

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.

Route 80

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.

Patrick Madley March 16, 2012 at 08:22 PM
My question is, how could it now be binding? Was there some rule that wasn't followed? I hope it is binding because that is what the majority of citizens in this town wanted. I also think Mr. Desorbo is moving in the right direction for this town, I certainly hope that continues.
James March 16, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Julie Thanks What we rely need is an answer Just because the Town voted does that mean the elected officials have to follow the out come? The Maturo gang must have a sweet deal for one of the good ole boys lined up But time will tell I hate to see this building sold to a privet investor then in just a few years the town needing more building space. But then this administration has been known to rent space in a run down building before.
Rosie March 16, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Patrick, that is my question as well. How could they just disregard what the people voted for and move in another direction. Really, do we honestly need MORE senior housing in East Haven??? Personally, I don't think so. As a matter of fact, I think we have more than enough already. Mayor Maturo has to realize that there are other residents in this town besides seniors.
Matt Lyons March 16, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Yeah but the other residents don't let him take pictures with him or feed him cake!
Peter T. Cianelli March 16, 2012 at 09:11 PM
good grief.... I have copies of the three letters that were sent to the DOJ from the a former member of our Police Commission !!!! Not one request !!! Not 2 requests.... but yes, 3 requests !!!!( that were begging them to come in to the EHPD) to get Gallo !!! all because you hated the man..... Maybe you can come over and I'll make copies for you !!!
good grief March 16, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Silly man you are Peter the point is there was already an open investigation into the ehpd by the DOJ. I believe the manship case started it. I think the commision requested info that the chief of police wasn't supplying which by command he needed to supply. Gallo and his actions and at the same time lack of actions brought these agencies into the town. If you keep misinterpreting reality and even worse spreading the lies you are inhibiting the town from moving forward. Knock it off! The chief knew when to give it up and you should too. I hope you don't really believe the BS you are spewing any one with common sense knows what really happened.
ASmith March 16, 2012 at 11:07 PM
If they are over estimatin revenues in this new budget then they got to sell something to make up for it. That's how they work it. From this article Desorbo told us nothing we didnt already know. Didnt answer any of the hard questions. Took the easy road. I agree with Miss Becki. Still wonder how that check fell behind the file cabinet for a whole year.
Michele Antisdel March 16, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Rosie, I totally agree with you, I think we have enough Senior housing. Don't get me wrong,I love Seniors, but we are one of the few towns that don't have a community center and our children have no where to go and nothing to do, especially since it looks like the Teen Center will be out of commission for awhile. But its not only that, the whole town needs a community center. Somewhere where the Rec Dept can run activities, the Scouts can have their meetings, maybe adult ed can be in the same building, Town board can meet there, we just don't have one common place for people to meet. I think that's more important than yet another Senior housing complex because I believe that it is those extra perks that will bring families into town. Family who work and pay taxes and spend money locally.
Robin Carlson March 17, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Previous discussion here back in October pretty much mirrored what is being said with respect to senior housing, keeping ownership of property, and providing opportunities for all residents.
Becki Pastor March 17, 2012 at 04:47 AM
Well, by DeSorbo & Maturo's logic, if the referendum wasn't binding, then I assert that the election of Mr. Maturo isn't binding. And btw, most of the retail on Route 80 left right at the end of Maturo's last term and during April's term.....so how are my politics showing?? Both administrations have some culpability. And I might ask, why would Mr. DeSorbo care about filling Millbrook Plaza when it's already full of retail endeavors? Aren't there other retail spaces sitting empty?? And it is highly unlikely that another grocery store will come to Route 80 since Big Y bought out the A&P and is holding the lease....but look at all he has "done" in 4 months.....just like all that was done to Route 80 in the last 8 years....it's disgraceful all the way around. Families in Foxon should not have to leave town or go all the way across town to grocery shop, etc. And if he does bring "big box" stores to East Haven great. All we in Foxon ask is that he make Route 80 and it's revitalization a priority.
Julie Weisberg (Editor) March 17, 2012 at 09:59 AM
Everyone: Good morning! I just wanted to post a quick update on the follow up piece: I'm going to need more time to properly do some more research and speak to additional sources. So, I most likely won't have that posted until later on Monday or Tuesday. However, I'll just report again that, Mr DeSorbo told me yesterday no "definitive decision" has been handed down by the town attorney in regards to whether or not the referendum is binding on the town — but that he is "he's leaning toward it's not binding." This is the latest on this issue from the administration. As soon as I post the piece, I'll let you all know... in the meantime: Have a great weekend!
Sam Giglio March 17, 2012 at 01:05 PM
So what are we to believe that the referendum was not binding, how would the average person in Town know this? To me its away of telling the Residents in Town We do not want a Community Center on that site,We do not want to waste are time looking into how we would get that done,Were the money will come from, or everything else involved with a large project like this.Its sad In the last Election we had the chance to vote on this and most of us did. I think that vote is the word of the People, and if the project can not take place then we should know why before talk about turning it into Senior Housing takes place. If the Town was to sell this property I say they will get no more then between $400 to $500 Thousand Dollers for it all .The land alone with no building on it it worth more then that to the Town All of us need to keep our eyes on this and make sure that we are not sold a bill of goods
Gene Ruocco March 17, 2012 at 01:26 PM
The Chairman of the School Building Committee, a man who was on that Board for the last 27 years, was removed because he over saw so many successful projects during the Capone years. Too bad, for if he was keep out of the political sweep, he and his old committee could of over seen a renovation of the 200 Tyler Street building that would have benefited this town for the next 50 years. In order to do that one has to have vision and ambition to take on a difficult job and carry it to the end. It can still happen if the people of this town truly want it to be. Every ones voices will be heard on this issue.
ASmith March 17, 2012 at 01:59 PM
If town folk really worried bout this they should start a new referendum right now. Town charter allows for it. Sure they would gets enough folks to sign. That would be bindin and they cant do nothin bout it. Wordin gots to be right, gots to follow all the provisions in the charter. Heck if they do it quick and it goes to the town clerk, the process has started and they are in limbo. Then it goes to the town council, if they dont accept it, it goes out to town wide vote again. There's no way they could overturn that there vote for sure. It's the only way to keep the property from bein sold. I am sure there is pressure behind the scenes on this. what will lill zullo do? course dont know if it would work but some townspeople could try to sue the town and get an injunction, but that cost money for legal. This other way may not cost money at all, only time. That is iffin the town council accepts it. If they dont then the town has to pay for a revote. But if this is important to ya. I'd do somethin asap. Cause this here group knows they only gots 19 months to make their wheels and deals. then they is out.
cheryl March 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM
when i voted about the what to do with the old high school i was told it was not binding that it was to see what the majority would like it to be and then a decision would be made,,i was told that by the then mayor capone ..so why has all of a sudden it been changed to that it was a binding vote, im confused
Richard Poulton March 17, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Cheryl, think about your last question - and you can answer that yourself.
Richard Poulton March 17, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Before all you anti Maturo folks start jumping on the bank wagon over the "high school" vote, I suggest you read how a referendum is defined. Look at what Wikipedia has to say. There are two types of "referendums"; one is classified a a "mandatory" type, normall used in impeachment votes or a change to a law or constitutional issue, while the other is called "Facultathe", which is where a general issue of public concern is voted on and is neither binding or non-binding.
Beth March 17, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I voted for it to be a community center, but realistically where would the money come from? If it was to stay town owned, where we would get ANY money to renovate...it would be in the $20-$30M range.....even with grants, the state and federal economy, it's not realistic. At least get it sold to an outsider where we could generate some income and also generate jobs!
Sam Giglio March 17, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Right away Richard calls anyone with a guestion about the Old High School Anti Maturo, It is Mr Disorbo who said that the referendum may not be legal, and in turn we may sell the Building long before any other plans can be worked out. Yes I agree it may never be what the people want. But we do not need to be fooled into thinking that what we want or voted for can never happen. Step by step my Friends lets take it step by step
Ginger DeMatteo March 17, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I certainly hope the sarcasm wasn't directed towards my comment. I am a life long East Haven resident, not just a passerby, who grew up in Foxon, and raised my children here as well. I could really care less who does what, as long as it gets done. I am not involved in politics and have no interst in kissing anyones behind. I don't play these games. I am just thankful that something is being done, because Foxon was obviously forgotten in the last 4 years. At least it is being thought of now. Period.
Richard Poulton March 17, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Sam I am sorry if you felt I put you into that "pool" of commentators. But I hope you understand the general meaning of what I was referring too. My message was that just because something shows up for a vote of this types doesn't mean it is written in stone as they say. Its all in how something is worded and presented. At least that is what I get from the definition of the word in question. We, the voters, may have just been fooled by this. But you can just bet that if ruled by a court of law as non-binding, for that is just where it may end up, there are those who will accuse the administration of fraud, bribery, kick-backs, all that kind of stuff. Enjoy the wonderfull weather Sam.
Michele Antisdel March 17, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Its not a matter of accusing the administration of fraud, bribery, and kick-backs, its a matter of whether the vote is binding or not, the vote represents the will of the people. Any politician who ignores that is looking at political death.
Becki Pastor March 18, 2012 at 01:29 AM
There was no sarcasm in my comment nor any politics other than the games each party seems to play against the other. Route 80 is a ghost town and DeSorbo focuses on Frontage Road and a shopping center on Route 80 that is full?? How is that accomplishing anything? He hasn't done anything yet.....promises are just that....actions speak louder. And I am heartbroken at the state of what has become of Foxon.
Norman Brody March 18, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Julie, would it be possible for your IT folks to add a spell-check feature to the comment box?
Becki Pastor March 18, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Norman, if folks use "Google Chrome" as their browser, it spell checks as you type. Fabulous feature and there is no phishing or adware..... I urge many to use Chrome it's a great browser. And now back to the Econ Dev thread.
linda March 19, 2012 at 07:56 PM
"Former A&P, likely to be filled by another major food store" Was I the only person to read this? Can we TRY some positives? Let's try to forget all the businesses we lost in the last 4 years and move forward.
Rosie March 19, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I read it as well, Linda. But there are people who will NEVER let go, and be positive. It is not going to matter to some what gets done by this administration, they will only hold on to the negative. Like soooo much got done over the last 4 years, right? I am thinking on the positive side, and holding out hope that we will finally get some good stores. My glass is always half full, not empty.
linda March 20, 2012 at 12:39 AM
THANK YOU ROSIE. At least we are on the same page. Cheers.
Julie Weisberg (Editor) July 16, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Everyone: I just posted the latest economic development update overview after meeting with Mr DeSorbo on Friday. Here is the link: http://patch.com/A-wfy7. Just an FYI.
Nick Palladino July 26, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Gene, I just heard that the BOE signed another one year lease on Dodge Ave. for Adult Ed. A real waste of money. Adult Education should be after school hours at the new EHHS. All of the other Towns our size have it that way. After we found out that we were paying for a person to clean there when it was part of the contract to include it, how can we trust that group to do the right things. The old saying goes fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. That money could be put to much better use.


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