seCTer News and Updates

6/14/2016

Brian Civitello of Mystic Cheese; Bob Mills and Ayanti Grant touring the Foundry construction site; and Hannah Gant working on the Interior of the Spark Makerspace.

 

Three major commercial properties in Willimantic have changed hands in the past year – representing a total investment of over $19M. The town also received a $120,000 Brownfields grant from DECD for assessment of an old gas and auto repair property on Main Street.

A very cool set of things are happening on Franklin Street in downtown Norwich, CT!

Epicure Brewing
Located at 40 Franklin Street in the 5,000’ former press room of a local newspaper, a partnership of beer enthusiasts are installing a new 15 barrel brewery that will turn the passion of 18 years of craft brewing into a business beginning later this year. The team members are epicure- “noun- a person who appreciates fine food and drink”.

Foundry 66
At 66 Franklin Street, the Norwich Community Development Corporation is developing FOUNDRY66, a CoWork space that allows small businesses to rent work space. We bring entrepreneurs and small business people together into a shared working environment and independent activity center. Our members are not usually employed by the same organization, but will benefit from shared services. It is also a place for social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently but who share the values and synergy that happens while working in a supportive environment alongside others.

These Guys Brewing
Just north of FOUNDRY66 and Epicure Brewing, at 76 Franklin Street, is the 1-year old These Guys Brewing Company, which stemmed from a passion and love of Great Beer. Rebecca and Ray Alberts combine a hunger for beer infused food with a foodie flare. Their mission is to create unique and delicious brews with an emphasis on complex malt flavors and balance that come together with an ever-evolving seasonal menu in order to make a dining experience that is greater than the sum of its parts. The Alberts along with their partners personally invested about $500,000 and transformed a historic building in Downtown Norwich into a completely renovated space while maintaining the historic character or the building. A five-star rated chef and one of the northeast’s only “Pink Boots” brewer have created a winning combination!

Ponemah Mills
The Ponemah Mill owned by OneKey LLC will be transformed into The Lofts at Ponemah Mill thanks to stick-to-it-tiveness on the part of the developer and the City of Norwich. OneKey has invested over $10MM of their own funding into the project with another $20MM financing stacked from City, State and Federal resources.

The estimated 18-month first phase, which will include 116 units of mixed income apartments, a large community room with a kitchen, theater seating and large screen TV and outdoor landscaping is expected to be completed in 2017.

 

Long awaited good news from Preston CT!
On May 19th the Town of Preston, via their Redevelopment Agency, and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority entered into a six month exclusivity period (MOU) to allow both parties to work together to develop a Purchase & Sale and Development Agreement at Preston Riverwalk (Preston’s portion of the former Norwich State Hospital). The Tribe proposes to build a taxable, non-gaming, $200m - $400m high quality, mixed-use development.

 

The Southeastern CT Enterprise Region assisted the owner of Mystic Cheese Company Brian Civitello with his successful application and award of a $50,000 Manufacturers Voucher Program Grant to enable the expansion of his cheese business currently located on Graywall Farms in Lebanon. His new expanded facility will be located in New London in the industrial area near the waterfront. His new facility will have a space where he can age cheese – thus greatly expanding his product.

All 1.1 miles of the Niantic Bay Boardwalk have been opened just in time for all the new residents expected to move into the 280 new units of housing at Gateway Commons which have received their CO. There are an additional 120 potential residential units authorized.

The Commons will be home to a 140,000-square foot Costco and gas station and the development involves relocation of exit 74 highway ramps and the widening of the I-95 bridge abutments over Flanders Road to accommodate an addition turning lane. Costco anticipates opening their doors in late Fall 2017. Upon Costco site plan approval, the town anticipates the imminent development of the next commercial phase which, is expected to consist of a number of known retailers and various commercial uses.

An additional mixed use building with 26 market rate units and 30,000-sq.ft of retail located on Main Street in the Niantic Village and a new 30,000 sq.ft. medical building also received their Cos. The Norwich Orthopedic is located on Industrial Park Road near Bob’s Discount Furniture.

East Lyme will also be home to 2 new Micro-Breweries: Noble Jay Brewing Co., Liberty Way and Public House Brewing Co., Niantic Village and a new Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria: Castillos.

On the Affordable Housing front, Park Place is under Construction which will add approximately 80 units of affordable housing and the last 6-7 units at Sea Side Village (of 100) are under construction.

Looking ahead, there is a potential for an additional 50,000 sq.ft. of retail, commercial and medical office on the Radar.

In New London, the community-run workshop and learning center - Spark Makerspace – is officially opening this month with 70 individual members and over 1000 followers on Face Book. Spark assumed occupancy of the well-known El n Gee music venue in October of 2015 at 86 Golden St. Doors away at 13 Golden St. is the site of shared office, meeting, classroom, and retail space. As a creative and collaborative community the first project of Spark has been to develop the shared spaces.

Spark also makes it easy for people to collaborate on work that directly contributes to the revitalization of New London, southeastern CT, and beyond by increasing access to tools and equipment that are too big or expensive to have at home; providing low-cost & no-cost learning opportunities and by building resourcefulness and confidence. Spark serves as a supportive hub for entrepreneurial and cooperative business development providing supporting infrastructure to lower the cost of new business startup and ongoing operations. Spark has recently started to work with nearby FRESH and Fiddleheads food co-op in creating a new compost system for them and is allowing them to use the commercial kitchen at Spark to prepare foods for sale to determine if this is a good market expansion for them.

John Beauregard and his staff at the Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board have been working tirelessly on the Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative which involves over 20 regional, state and federal organizations dedicated to workforce development in Eastern Connecticut.

Thanks also in part to their efforts, the state and region was awarded IMCP designation in the Summer of 2015 in recognition of the importance of this initiative to the region’s jobseekers and employers. The IMCP designation gives priority to CT in future federal grant awards.

One of only six communities in the country, EWIB was also awarded a $6M Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant in the Fall of 2015 by the US Department of Labor to implement customized training programs to support the manufacturing industry. The grant is targeted to the unemployed and underemployed and they hope to enroll approximately 450 jobseekers in the customized training programs over the next three years. To assist with the registration of potential applicants for the WIF program, they have instituted an innovative portal on EWIB website, and in just five months, 1,100 applicants have expressed interest.

30 training classes will be organized over the next three years. The first 2 training classes began in April and 26 of 29 program graduates have received job offers with local manufacturers. Upcoming classes will focus on the machinist trade and a welding class is planned in the Fall at the new state-of-the-art facility at Grasso Tech in Groton. This program has been recognized by federal dignitaries as an important initiative that has potential to be replicated nationally as a best practice.

EWIB has now expanded its focus to include the healthcare industry and recently received a $7.5M ($1.5m for 5 years) Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) from the Department of Health & Human Services. Though Eastern WIB is Administrative Lead, the program is also delivered in South Central (New Haven) and Northwestern (Waterbury) CT. The funds will provide temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) with a mission is to provide opportunities for TANF recipients to enter and advance along various healthcare career pathways. Approximately 750 individuals are expected to enroll in the HPOG program over the next five years. Participants will benefit from a work readiness and basic skills boot camp; occupational training resulting in a community college certificate or industry license; case management and other support services; work-based learning opportunities; and job placement into a career pathway within Healthcare.

The Connecticut Airport Authority Groton – New London Airport is home to the 1109th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group (TASMG) Army National Guard facility which began training for aircraft mechanics and electronics mechanics to work on the UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters (LUH). The UH-72A is a commercial aircraft designed to conduct light general support tasks in permissive, non-combat environments. Those tasks include civil search and rescue, personnel recovery, evacuation, counter-drug and limited civil command and control operations in the conduct of Homeland Security. The 1109th TASMG, whose support area covers the entire eastern United States from Louisiana to Maine, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, has established a full time UH-72A aircraft repair section at the Groton facility. In addition to maintenance repair activities, this new maintenance section has worked on the transfer and transport of UH-72A aircraft throughout the ARNG, increasing the number of states and territories flying the light utility helicopter.

The Town of Groton has received the final draft of a comprehensive Market Analysis and Zoning Audit conducted by the consulting firms of VHB and Camoin Associates. A digital copy of the document can be found on the town’s website at http://www.groton-ct.gov/depts/plandev/MarketAnalysis.asp

As part of the Electric Plug in Vehicle Program, the Town of Groton Planning Department was awarded a grant to fund the purchase of a Nissan Leaf and the installation of charging stations at Groton Town Hall, the Town Hall Annex and Groton Public Library & Senior Center. These charging stations are up-and-running and free to the public.

The year-long celebration of CT Sub Century is in full swing as summer arrives, beginning with the commemoration of the official 100th Anniversary of the Submarine Base with a Birthday Bash on June 21 to be held in the City of Groton. Upcoming events include a series of concerts performed by the U.S. Coast Guard Band on the shoreline campus of UCONN Avery Point in Groton and US Naval Submarine traveling art exhibit. Details of all activities can be found at http://ctsubmarinecentury.com/.

Groton and New London: Thames River Heritage Park
After many years of false starts, this park has finally come to fruition thanks to the tireless efforts of the Thames Maritime Heritage Park Steering Committee and the Thames River Heritage Park Transition Team. It is not a conventional park with fixed borders. Instead, it’s a framework that draws together heritage and contemporary sites, neighborhoods, commercial districts and institutions on both sides of the river. It does this by coordinating signs, graphics, information, kiosks, website and mobile apps, programming, and ultimately, by having the heritage sites all open at the same time. The Thames River Heritage Park is a thoroughly modern concept for a park. There is none other like it in Connecticut. We will be the first.

The park will have four anchor sites connected by water taxi:

  • Fort Trumbull
  • Fort Griswold
  • The Submarine Force Museum
  • Coast Guard Museum, scheduled to open in 2018

This is a very exciting project for the communities and attractions in the lower Thames River basin. The water taxi will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day with stops at Thames Street Landing at the bottom of Fort Street, and Fort Trumbull and the City Pier in New London. Learn more at http://www.trwtllc.com/.

CURE Innovation Commons at 93 Shennecossett Road in the City of Groton is a new space in Southeastern Connecticut now open for entrepreneurs, scientists and companies to develop their ideas and build their businesses in a vibrant and collaborative community! Occupying approximately 22,000 sq ft, The Commons is leasing independent and shared laboratories, offices, co-working spaces, conference rooms and a large meeting and event area. To see the space and join our community please visit curecommons.org or contact Kim Kelly at 203-913-8008.

 

In North Stonington, construction of a 30,000sf warehouse is well underway near the Rotary and will be the new home of Jovial Foods – an Italian company that in addition to organic tomato sauces, produces organic pasta and flour made from a nearly extinct ancient grain called einkorn - nature’s original wheat.

There is currently $93.5 million worth of construction occurring right now in Stonington, not including three new restaurants (Dog Watch BBQ, MBAR, and Jealous Monk). Activity in Stonington Borough includes a new cheese maker, restaurant, and Beer’d brewery expansion all currently housed in the Velvet Mill – and about a dozen other projects in the pipeline that could total nearly $150 Million in value.

Other large projects slated for completion in 2016 include:

  • Threadmill apartments: $26 million historic mill conversion (129,00 sq ft) to 58 apartments including 30% affordable and 9,000 sq ft retail
  • Spruce Meadows apartments: $10 million new construction apartment building adds 43 units to rental stock, half of which will be affordable. A second $10 million phase, Spruce Ridge, will add an additional 43 units (half affordable).
  • Masonicare: $31 million complex with 179 rental units—81 independent living, 50 assisted living, and 48 dedicated to memory support.

Expansion of housing stock, especially affordable units, is seen as a necessary economic development catalyst to attract businesses to locate in Stonington. The Town also recognizes Senior Care as a growing need. Additionally, construction of the $10.5 million, 14,000 sq ft Thompson Exhibition Building is well underway at the Mystic Seaport Museum and the Architectural Design Review Board of Review gave its approval to a planned $7M, 12,500-square-foot addition, interior renovations and rear parking lot expansion at the Mystic YMCA property on Harry Austin Drive in Mystic.(http://www.thewesterlysun.com/news/latestnews/8297942-129/mystic-ymca-expansion-project-is-a-step-closer.html)

The Southeastern CT Enterprise Region or seCTer has begun work on the 2016 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. CEDAS Board member Juliet Hodge, together with members of the CEDS Strategy Committee, has hosted Several Sub-regional SWOT events and targeted focus group discussions to gather public input on the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities within Southeastern CT. To date, over 200 residents and stakeholders have participated in the public input events. Ms. Hodge hopes to complete the end of the year.

And last, but certainly not least, we are pleased to announce the creation of a regional calendar for Eastern CT. The Regional Calendar Project, or C.O.R.E., is the result of many months of collaboration between the participating agencies, and represents a shared agency goal of strengthening and uniting Southeastern CT. This initiative connects business, economic and creative efforts for a collaborative approach to efficiently serve our region. By leveraging the combined resources of these forces, we will increase our region’s ability to serve residents, businesses and visitors.

Participating Agencies:

  • Chamber of Commerce Eastern CT
  • Southeastern CT Cultural Coalition
  • Southeastern CT Enterprise Region (seCTer)
  • Norwich Creates
  • The Day Publishing Company

Supporting Partners:

  • Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce
  • New London Main Street Greater
  • Norwich Chamber of Commerce

A shared regional calendar of events serves the existing business community, arts and cultural sector, community organizations and those who we all serve. For event and activity providers located in southeastern CT, the use of a shared regional calendar tool will minimize time spent on marketing and maximize audience reach. The shared regional calendar will provide a valuable resource for event planning and assist organizations in minimizing scheduling conflicts throughout the region.

For consumers, this initiative will provide one-stop shopping with search and mobile device capability for event, activity and meeting information across the region. By utilizing a shared regional calendar operating system, which will be universally accessed, utilized and promoted, we establish a unified voice and resource that will align, coordinate and magnify our region’s assets. Along with the State’s newly enhanced CTvisit.com for tourists and visitors, the abundant and diverse events and activities taking place in Southeastern CT are efficiently streamlined.

To publish an event, please visit any of the participating agencies’ website or visit www.CORE-ECT.com.


6/14/2016
Southeastern Connecticut Announces CORE Calendar
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Introduction to the CT Supplier Connection
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