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May 28, 2020

101 College Street project clears hurdle 

Screenshots showing the proposed project from a presentation Wednesday night.

Plans for a new 10-story, 500,000-square-foot bioscience building in downtown New Haven to feature lab, research and incubator space garnered a key approval Wednesday night.

The Board of Alders’ Community Development Committee unanimously approved a new Development and Land Disposition Agreement for the project, which is planned for 101 College St.

The meeting, conducted via Zoom, included a public hearing and was part of the overall legislative review required for Aldermanic approval of the development.

City Economic Development Administrator Michael Piscitelli outlined the terms of the agreement, which is between the city of New Haven, New Haven Parking Authority, and developer WE 101 College St. LLC.

“We need to plan now for what the future will look like,” Piscitelli said.  

According to Piscitelli, this project adds to the efforts to reconnect the sections of the city which had been divided years ago by the Route 34 connector.

The project is expected to bring construction jobs, plus 700 to 1,000 permanent jobs in the bioscience industry, Piscitelli said.

“We need to grow our workforce and create homegrown talent,” Piscitelli said. 

The plan is for parking not to exceed 175 spaces, with a shared parking agreement for up to 550 spaces at the Temple Medical and Temple Street Garage. There would be up to four pedestrian bridges to connect the building to parking areas.

The project will add to the city’s grand list, according to Piscitelli, as the agreement calls for a 30-year taxable period even if 101 College St. is ever sold to a non-profit, tax-exempt entity.

Project developer Carter Winstanley of Winstanley Enterprises described the project as a life science and laboratory building with the lower floors to include lab incubator space.

“There is a shortage of this type of space in the state,” Winstanley said. 

Additionally, the building would house companies that need room to grow, and presents an opportunity for larger tenants which may have left the state to come back, according to Winstanley. 

“People have asked, ‘why now?’ given the uncertainty” [surrounding the pandemic’s impact on the economy],” Winstanley said. “We felt this was one of the best ways to help.”

The project is expected to take about two years to build, and Winstanley would like construction to begin in August, with the building to be completed around November 2022.

He anticipates needing about 1,000 construction workers for the project. There will be efforts to hire city workers, both for construction and bioscience, including by fostering life-sciences and technology career pathways at area schools. 

The project footprint will include a large plaza space of about a half-acre which will feature benches, trees and a café, and this area will be open to the public.

“This plaza will be a privately-owned, public plaza and is considered a public improvement,” Piscitelli said. “They will be creating a beautiful streetscape.”

The building will have a sustainable focus, including space for electric vehicles and bicycle racks to promote commuting by bicycle.

During the public hearing and question and answer portion of the meeting, Alder Kim Edwards asked whether the building might ever be sold to Yale University, which could impact the city’s tax rolls. 

Winstanley said the building will remain taxable for at least 30 years, and he “would be hesitant” to give the building up. While Yale is a likely tenant, Winstanley said he doesn’t have any specifics about how much square footage it may use.

Edwards also wondered if the building will have enough tenants to be economically viable at a time of uncertainty about the future of traditional office configurations in the post-pandemic era.

Dawn Hocevar, president and CEO of BioCT, a New Haven-based nonprofit working to grow the state’s bioscience industry, said New Haven has everything a bioscience company could want: skilled workers, academic centers, entrepreneurs and investors. 

What it doesn’t currently have is enough infrastructure, or space, she said.

“I have been getting calls from companies in New York City and Boston who want out of the big cities because of COVID-19,” Hocevar said. “Connecticut is at the epicenter of business growth. If we don’t build it, the talent and companies will go elsewhere.”

Alder Ron Hurt said he believes the project will deliver opportunities to the city.

“I believe it is a great project,” Hurt said. “Given COVID-19, communities have been impacted hard. This project sheds some hope and light. I appreciate how the developer is committed to hiring city residents.”

David Salinas, co-founder and CEO of District New Haven, spoke in favor of the project and said the demand for early stage life-science space is “huge.” 

“We can truly make something special,” Salinas said. “New Haven has a real chance to be a mecca for [bioscience].”

Vin Petrini, senior vice president of public affairs for Yale New Haven Health, also spoke in favor of the project.

“As we scramble to find new vaccines, it becomes critical to have the lab space this project envisions,” Petrini said. 

Mayor Justin Elicker said planning for the city’s future amid the COVID-19 crisis is “difficult, but necessary” for the city’s future.

“Our foremost priority continues to be managing and mitigating the devastating effects of this pandemic,” Elicker said. “We must continue moving forward to maintain the health of our local economy.”

The 101 College St. project is proposed to be built on top of the Route 34 connector.  

“We are grateful for the thoughtful and diligent work of the Board of Alders’ Community Development Committee in the midst of these unprecedented times and in particular the Board’s efforts to connect New Haven residents to jobs in science and technology,” Piscitelli said, following the committee’s decision.

The community can learn more about the project, provide input and follow the approval process through the city’s economic development and Downtown Crossing websites.

Downtown Crossing is a long-term, multi-phase public/private redevelopment project aimed at reconnecting the medical district and Hill neighborhood with the downtown area. It includes converting a portion of the Route 34 connector into urban boulevards and new city streets. 

The project is currently in Phase 2, which includes new intersections at Orange Street and MLK Boulevard as well as Orange Street at South Frontage Road. This phase is being funded by a $21.5 million state Department of Economic & Community Development grant and $7 million from a $20 million TIGER 8 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Contact Michelle Tuccitto Sullo at

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