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PHOTO — Mayor Edward M. O’Brien, back right, looks on as Matt Armstrong, executive vice president of The Haven Group LLC, updates city officials on the status of The Haven proposed luxury fashion outlet mall at O’Brien’s biweekly department head meeting Friday morning, April 7, in the third-floor conference room of City Hall. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)
**UPDATED** WEST HAVEN, April 11, 2017 — Matt Armstrong, executive vice president of The Haven Group LLC, updated city officials on the status of The Haven proposed luxury fashion outlet mall at Mayor Edward M. O’Brien’s biweekly department head meeting Friday morning, April 7, in the third-floor conference room of City Hall.
During the hourlong meeting, Armstrong displayed the latest renderings of the development and fielded questions from various officials about the Dallas development company’s plans for the $200 million project, which includes no housing, he pointed out.
Developers Sheldon M. Gordon and Ty Miller are preparing to build dozens of upscale retail shops, a 200-seat amphitheater, seven restaurants and a waterfront promenade in the 24-acre Water Street project area, which comprises 55 properties bordered by Main Street, First Avenue and Elm Street.
Negotiations are moving forward between The Haven Group and the owners of the three remaining properties.
Armstrong said the demolition phase will begin once the properties are acquired.
According to Armstrong, The Haven Group has spent $25 million so far on the privately financed development, which he compared to the top 20 percent of the retail stores that constitute Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, New York, which is about 50 miles north of New York City.
“We are committed to the city of West Haven,” Armstrong told the group of 25 city leaders, which included police and fire officials. “We don’t want to walk away from a $25 million investment.”
Armstrong cited the development site’s proximity to the crossroads of interstates 95 and 91 and the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways and the West Haven train station, along with its visibility from I-95, as the driving factors why the developers selected West Haven for the project.
Phase one of the two-phase, 347,826-square-foot development, known as The Haven South, is expected to feature 60 upscale outlet stores and encompass 250,000 square feet.
Armstrong said the project is poised to create 600-800 full- and part-time jobs, as well as hundreds of construction jobs, and generate $2 million in annual property tax revenue for the city.
“This will be a luxury waterfront shopping destination, which makes it unique,” he said.
The Haven is expected to make West Haven a major destination in the Northeast, much like in its heyday of Savin Rock Park. The former amusement hub was the city’s main shoreline attraction and economic resource for decades until its demise in 1966.
In other news related to The Haven, the Redevelopment Agency adopted a resolution Monday night, April 10, approving the sale of 0 Center St., .09 acre, and 395 First Ave., .13 acre, to The Haven Group.
The agency acquired the properties on behalf of the city Thursday, Dec. 22.
The parcels’ sale to the development company was previously adopted by the Planning and Zoning Commission at a special meeting Wednesday night, March 22, and now only requires City Council approval.
On Monday night, April 24, the council is expected to consider the land disposition agreements conveying 0 Center St. and 395 First Ave. to The Haven Group for $23,750 and $198,125, respectively, to help clear the way for the development.
Joseph A. Riccio Jr., the city’s commissioner of planning and development, said the Center Street property was the subject of a tax foreclosure years ago, and the First Avenue parcel was a single-family house.
— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator