Bass Pro delayed until spring 2015
Posted in the Trumbull Forum
#1 Jul 27, 2013
BRIDGEPORT -- The state will spend at least $22 million to build Bass Pro Shops a mega-store on the city's waterfront, a giant step forward for that project.
"There aren't really any more hurdles," said David Kooris, Bridgeport's planning and economic development chief.
The bad news for outdoor enthusiasts is the recreational retail giant may now not open its doors until spring 2015 -- over a year later than the original estimate of this Christmas.
But, considering it's taken decades to break ground on the entire Steel Point redevelopment, of which Bass Pro is the first tenant, another few months isn't a disaster.
And there will still be plenty of time for Mayor Bill Finch to trumpet Bass Pro if he seeks re-election in 2015.
One year ago, state and federal officials announced with great fanfare that Missouri-based Bass Pro had agreed to be the anchor company at Steel Point, the long-fallow land along Bridgeport Harbor visible from Interstate 95.
The company was lured to Connecticut with a package of unspecified financial incentives that were still being negotiated. Usually such details are available at the time of an announcement.
Now a portion of those subsidies are known. Connecticut Innovations -- an arm of the state's economic development agencies -- just voted on a deal to borrow $22 million for building Bass Pro's $150,000-square-foot store.
The debt will be paid off by a portion of the annual $2.25 million in sales tax the retailer is expected to generate from all of those out-of-state visitors who will flock to Bridgeport to buy fishing and camping equipment, boats, hunting gear and other recreational goods.
Among those in economic development circles, the $22 million arrangement is known as tax incremental financing.
"They are basically `lock boxing' a portion of that future sales tax that they know is a net increase from sales tax currently generated in the state, and using that to pay off up front bonds," said Kooris.
The $22 million will be paid down over 20 years.
"Bass Pro is a destination retail operation.... They're usually `mega' in size, and people have a tendency to drive a long way to get to them," said Antonio Roberto, managing director of strategic investments at Connecticut Innovations. "Obviously, the facility will be there for 20 years. It's a big capital venture."
And that will not be the only subsidy Connecticut offers Bass Pro. James Watson with the state Department of Economic and Community Development said that agency continues to negotiate an unspecified assistance package.
Kooris and Finch expect all of the state's offerings to Bass Pro will be up for a vote by the state bond commission in September.
The commission -- a mix of legislators and state constitutional officers -- is chaired by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who attended the July 2012 Bass Pro-hosted fish fry in Bridgeport celebrating the store's arrival.
Malloy, who faces re-election in 2014, is as eager as Finch to share in the credit for finally breaking ground at Steel Point.
It could be argued Bass Pro does not need taxpayer money. In June, Bloomberg reported the company is worth at least $2.6 billion.
Since: Mar 11
#2 Jul 27, 2013
Not the best use of a harbor- a harbor is almost a unique feature, and REAL INDUSTRY could be located there. And seizing private land and businesses so a retail store can go in is just ridiculous. This ain't my country any more.....
Since: Aug 10
#3 Jul 27, 2013
Many fine people lost their homes, which is wrong. More delays are coming and nothing may be build there except weeds.
#4 Jul 28, 2013
What a load of sh!t. It doesn't matter HOW long bridgeport has been playing with itself and wasting time on pipe dreams - the project was advertised as "it's here, it's gonna open on time, and the past is the past - this is now and for the future".
And, sadly, The Great Unwashed in bridgeport will vote the (expletive) back in again based upon this ONE instance which will always teeter on the edge of expensive failure.
translation: they'll diddle each other.
The "facility" will be there in 20 years - IF the locals don't burn it down first. As for the renter: I think it'll be a miracle if they're still there in five years after (whenever) it opens.
People - you're watching history happen: the creation of the largest empty storefront in the history of Bridgeport and maybe the state. The area's homeless - growing by the day - will have 150,000 square feet all to themselves until the pyros fire it up. As it has been, so it shall ever be.
#5 Jul 28, 2013
Sounds like the bonds will be secured by pro-bass. That should be a lot more secure than Ct. State Bonds at this and future time. Does anyone know where and when such bonds will be offered for sale or will it be another private event so crooked insiders can get more guaranteed return on a secure investment? The People of Connecticut and those who run Ct. are two decidedly different classes.
Since: Aug 10
#6 Jul 28, 2013
Very true, CTM.
#7 Jul 29, 2013
like no one could see this coming............
#8 Jul 29, 2013
The bass can breathe a little easier for a while.
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