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October 7, 2021

Fusco unveils ambitious revamp of key Long Wharf parcel

PHOTOS | CONTRIBUTED A view from New Haven Harbor of a new development proposed by Fusco Corp. on Long Wharf.

Leslie Radcliffe loves the idea of a new park that she and her neighbors in New Haven’s Hill district can easily access to enjoy a view of New Haven Harbor. 

“To have a peaceful calming place to go, to be able to walk to,” Radcliffe said. “We like the way that it looks,” she said of a proposal before the City Plan Commission.

Radcliffe is not just another Hill resident — she’s chair of the planning commission. And the park is not just another patch of green space —  it’s the centerpiece of a proposed residential development that could transform Long Wharf, the gateway to the city.

Long Wharf-based Fusco Corp. debuted its plans before the commission Wednesday night in a two-hour presentation detailing the radical revamp of two parcels it owns. The properties are now home to the defunct Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale restaurant and the Sportech gambling center and its vast, decaying parking lot. The residential complex is planned for the Lenny & Joe’s lot.

Due to further feedback needed from coastal officials, the public hearing on the plan was held open until Oct. 20. At that time, the planning commission is expected to vote on a zoning change that, if approved, would allow for housing in a district once envisioned as a hub for commercial and industrial uses.

If the project gets all required city and environmental approvals, the residential towers could break ground early next year, with people moving in by spring of 2024.

“The land that we own has lain fallow, moribund really for many years,” Fusco President Lynn Fusco said. “New Haven is experiencing a real excitement in residential development.”

The new apartment towers would be built on land that now houses the defunct Lenny & Joe's restaurant.

Fusco and the project designers described an upscale two-building complex on the water that allows for public access to a ground-floor market, smaller retail spaces and a landscaped park with a sculpture garden.

The buildings would be aligned somewhat perpendicular to Long Wharf Drive to preserve public views of the harbor. 

“The goal here is to create an engaging public destination that really puts this site on the map,” said Brian O’Conner of Boston-based Cube 3 architects, designer of the project. 

Fusco’s project could anchor further development of New Haven’s long-neglected waterfront areas, said Matthew Ranelli, an attorney from Shipman & Goodwin LLP who represents the developer. Properties like the tank farm next to the Maritime Center and other industrial lots will likely draw new uses. 

“These will fall like dominos as the ball gets rolling and be redeveloped,” Ranelli said. 

“It is in many ways the front door to New Haven,” Ranelli said of the Long Wharf area. “A very important, highly visible area. It is a massive transformation.”

City officials seemed enthusiastic about the project, praising Fusco’s collaboration with officials and neighborhood groups. 

Hill Alder Carmen Rodriguez said, “It’s time that this waterfront area gets attention. We need this to be a walkable, a clean, a beautiful area.” 

Residents of the Hill, the neighborhood closest to the project, have been engaged from the beginning by the developers, she said, adding, “This is going to liven up the area that we call home.”

Contact Liese Klein at

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