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April 12, 2022

State Street project promises new ‘livability’ downtown

Photo | Liese Klein New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker speaks at a news conference announcing $5.4 million in new funding to revitalize Lower State Street on April 12, 2022.

“There’s going to be more feet on the street.”

That’s the vision of the future for New Haven’s Lower State Street celebrated Tuesday at a news conference marking $5.4 million in new development funding under Gov. Ned Lamont’s Connecticut Communities Challenge Grant Program. 

The money, aimed at revitalizing a downtown stretch of State from Audubon to George, will go to “unlock the redevelopment potential of several parking lots for transit-oriented development/mixed-use development,” according to Lamont’s announcement.

City and state lawmakers and economic development officials gathered at Metro North’s State Street Tuesday to outline a vision for using the funding to bring people to the area to live, shop and work. Planned are 652,000 square feet of newly developed space, including 447 new housing units and 80,000 square feet of retail.

“That’s the potential here and that’s what we’ll be working towards in this eight-block corridor,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said. “It will help jump-start new opportunities for inclusive growth.”

Alexandra Daum, deputy commissioner of the Department of Economic & Community Development  (DECD), said that New Haven’s bid for funding rose to the top of the pile due its focus on restoring the “livability” of the area.

“There’s going to be more feet on the street,” Daum said. “It means being able to walk to things, it means being able to take transit to work and it means being able to afford where you live. This project hits on all of those components.”

Existing State Street businesses including Cafe 9, Sharon Joy Salon and Elm City Market will work with the city on the project, said Deputy Economic Development Administrator Carlos Eyzaguirre.

“We know it's a challenging time for retail,” Eyzaguirre said, adding that strong interest by local businesses in new retail space at Union Station makes the city optimistic it can fill 80,000 square feet of new real estate. 

“The residential market is booming here,” Elicker said, referring to new apartment buildings planned for State and nearby Wooster Square. “There's going to be a lot more customers to support the expansion of the retail sector.”

Contact Liese Klein at

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