The economy may still be struggling, but there's been a lot to celebrate here this year as businesses continue to chose to call Hamden home.
To show its support for the work the town's Economic Development Department has been doing, the Legislative Council recently extended director Dale Kroop's contract for another two years, citing his work as the impetus for the successes accomplished during his tenure.
And the Hamden Economic Development Corporation, a non-profit corporation that works in partnership with the town, recently launched its own Facebook page.
This year alone, a number of businesses have opened, including FroyoWorld, , The Edge Fitness Club, and
FroyoWorld participated in the town of Hamden's Economic Development Business Incentive Program and received a grant and permit fee waiver to open their business. It officially opened July 9.
The Business Incentive Program since 1998 has helped more than 100 businesses, resulting in more than $27 million dollars in investment in commercial property improvements by providing tax abatements, grants, waivers of building permit fees and low interest loans for renovations and the purchase of equipment and machinery.
On Monday, the Legislative Council is expected to approve two more businesses to take advantage of the program: Taylor Freezer and Moe's South West Grill.
Taylor Freezer sells and services soft serve ice cream and yogurt machines. With the aid of the Business Incentive Program, they plan to rehabilitate the building located at 130-150 Welton St, which was vacated approximately four years ago by HAVCO Comfort Fittings.
The cost of this project is approximately $300,000. The business has been approved for a tax abatement of 50 percent for three years on the increased assessment of the property based on the improvements/expansion, a property improvement grant of $8,000 and certain building permit waivers.
Tayler Freezer will be a good fit for the Welton Street neighborhood, town officials say, which is a mix of both commercial and residential properties.
Moe's Southwest Grill will occupy a space at 2100 Dixwell Ave. in the Hamden Plaza next to Froyo World. Moe's Southwest Grill plans to spend $400,000 to rehabilitate the building and have been approved for a Property Improvement Grant of $2,000 and a 50 percent waiver off certain building permits.
“I'm pleased that we are able to offer these incentives with an eye toward economic growth and small business development," Mayor Scott Jackson said. "Filling vacant business locations increases our tax base and improves the overall condition of our neighborhoods and business centers.”
The Economic Development Department reports other 2012 projects include:
-- New England Reconstruction Services (NERS), 301 Welton St., a Hamden based general contracting business that has specialized in insurance restoration since 1999, has expanded its services to include property clean-up and mitigation. The new entity; ARCHON Clean.Build.Restore, has an experienced disaster management team that provides unparalleled contracting services that meets or exceeds customer’s expectations every time.
-- The story is finally coming to a close on one of the Town's most hazardous and complicated cleanups Hamden has ever seen: the final phase of remediation has been completed on 400 Goodrich St., as has the deal for New Haven Company South Hamden Development, LLC (Tri-Con Construction Managers, LLC) to take ownership of it.
This story, nearly 16 years in the making, started after the owner of the former Globe Metal Finishing Co. died leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes to both the town of Hamden and the city of New Haven. The 16,000 square-foot property is located right on the Hamden and New Haven line, next to the Farmington Canal Greenway in the Enterprise Zone of Hamden.
With the estate bankrupt and no one to take care of the property, it not only became an eye sore but also a concern to the neighborhood. The property had started harboring the homeless, as well as illicit activity within, worrying residents about their safety.
Illicit activities were not the only problems going on inside the former manufacturing company. The company, which plated small metals for the automotive industry and lamp and drapery hardware, also contained significant contamination problems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had to get involved with the clean-up in 1997, removing169 drums and 49 boxes of hazardous waste, including cyanide and chromium. Since that time, 45 tons of debris, 30 tons of scrap metal, 95,000 gallons of water and about 150 light fixtures containing mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls have also been removed from the site.
The Hamden Economic Development Corporation had been involved with the remediation and sale of the property since 2005. The town of Hamden sold the tax liens over to HEDC, which alleviated the financial liability of the taxpayers, as well as allowed the corporation to negotiate between both Hamden and New Haven for the foreclosing on old mortgages.
After many years and many complications, HEDC's was able to raise nearly $2 million for the clean of pollution on the site while finding a new owner for the newly remediated brownstone. HEDC successfully closed the deal to Tri-Con Construction Managers, LLC on June 15.