Miami, FL Carter N. McDowell and Suzanne Amaducci, partners at Miami-based Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod, represented Bridgeport Landing LLC and RCI Marine as it received final City Council approval for the SteelPointe Harbor redevelopment project in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The approval was for an Amended and Restated Development and Acquisition Agreement with the City of Bridgeport, which owns the land. The $1.2 billion project is to be situated on the 52-acre Steel Pointe peninsula and is expected to take approximately 15 years to complete.
This is one of the few development projects of this magnitude to be moving forward in these economic conditions and is incredibly exciting, said Amaducci. The amendment to the existing agreement was necessary in order for the project to move forward. The lack of availability of bond and other financing, and the collapse of the housing market, made the developer and the city refocus. The marina and retail portion of the project will come first, while the housing will be delayed until the market comes back. A combination of private financing, sales tax increment bond financing, real estate tax increment financing and other available government financing opportunities will be used to move the project forward. In times like these, you must get creative and be flexible.
The developer, Bridgeport Landing, first plans to start construction of this urban mixed-use development along the waterfront with the creation of a restaurant and marina capable of accommodating pleasure craft and mega-yachts. Included in the waterfront plans are a boardwalk promenade and iconic lighthouse, designed to embody the most desirable characteristics of a New England harbor-side neighborhood.
Ultimately, SteelPointe Harbor will include a 2.8 million square-feet project incorporating 1,200 apartments, including 10 percent designated for workforce housing; 250,000 square-feet of office space; 650,000 to 800,000 square-feet of retail and entertainment; 4,000 parking spaces; a hotel; and possibly a heliport. The first two phases of the project include a waterfront parcel with approximately 7,000 square feet of restaurant and related facilities together with no less than $3.8 million of public improvements such as docks and a bay walk. Phase I will include at least 135,000 square feet of vertical improvements featuring nationally recognized retail tenants.
This is not the first time RCI Marine has developed a waterfront project of this magnitude. RCI Marine and its affiliates currently operate Miami Beach Marina and Bayshore Landing in Coconut Grove, and developed the Conch Harbor Marina in Key West, Florida. Miami Beach Marina has almost 400 slips, two restaurants and several retail tenants including a yacht brokerage, marine supplies store, a salon and a convenience store. There are also five major high-rise residential buildings along the more than half mile waterfront facing the marina. It also includes a public bay walk. Bayshore Landing has over 100 slips, a Monty's restaurant and several marina related tenants. RCI Marine also developed and then sold the Conch Harbor Marina in Key West, which also included a marina, fueling facility, casual restaurant, retail and office space.
A delegation of Bridgeport City Council members toured the Bayshore Landing and Miami Beach facilities on October 10, 2009 and were most impressed with the facilities. Bridgeport Landing will be a larger version of the Miami Beach Marina with more retail and office space.
The Bridgeport location is unparalleled, said McDowell. Its the first deep-water port north of New York City. Theres easy access to I-95, ferries and commuter trains to New York, and a close proximity to New York and Boston. This is a project that will not only serve the local community, but also serve as a destination attracting visitors from throughout the Northeast Coast.
Amaducci and McDowell also credit the development for bringing the city of Bridgeport nearly $850 million in private investment as well as for creating 20,000 construction jobs, 10,000 permanent jobs and $30 million in annual tax revenue.
Bridgeport Landing anticipates groundbreaking in the last quarter of 2010 or the first quarter of 2011.
About Bilzin Sumberg
Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP is a full-service, commercial law firm based in Florida. The firm has extensive experience in the areas of corporate and securities; finance; mergers and acquisitions; joint ventures; commercial real estate; litigation; restructuring and bankruptcy; land use and government relations; environmental; commercial finance; technology and telecommunications; trusts, estate and wealth transfer; and tax. For more information, please visit our website at www.bilzin.com.