Beer and Duke It Out Movies on River Street
Two visions to revive long-abandoned industrial expanses of Fair Haven clashed, as a potential new brewer and a potential new film production company sought support from their neighbors.
A Vision: A new media “creators district” where locals can walk to high-paying media jobs and internships at a flagship film production studio that could train and employ hundreds of people.
A Second Vision: A craft brewery district attracting beer lovers and other New Haven tourists to party and celebration.
Are these two visions of economic development and job creation for the long-awaited renewal of River Street finally compatible? Can they work together? And what is the role of the city in navigation on this question?
These issues were addressed Thursday evening in front of a full house, 50 attendees at its peak, during the regular meeting broadcast by Zoom of the Fair Haven Community Management Team (FHCMT). (Watch the full meeting here.)
The visions include two shots of River Street that have already sparked excitement among neighbors during the preview presentation of the June FHCMT meeting.
The first vision involves the creation of a film production complex called Jaigantic Studios. Jackie Buster has asked management for a letter of general support for the plan.
The second vision, that of the craft brewery, has two components. The management team had heard of and supported the New England Brewery Company. It had planned an 80,000 square foot brewery, a tap room and an event space for a vacant former industrial land. At Thursday night’s meeting, they heard about a second planned move by a small company called Armada Brewing from East Haven to 190 River St. The company signed a lease with the city for the move, but has need zoning permission.
At Thursday night’s meeting, the city’s economic development officials Steve Fontana and Helen Rosenberg found themselves answering skeptical questions from attendees about the compatibility of the two visions.
After much debate, the management team ended up being divided on how to proceed and ended up delaying votes on whether to support one or both visions.
Armada founder John Kraszweki presented a letter of support for the Amanda Brewing relocation on Thursday evening.
Rosenberg said that after years of working to keep the bricks and mortar from the Bigelow Anchor Building Complex at 190 River St. and to attract tenants, the city finally signed a lease with Armada for a restored building in 190 River St., in Lloyd, behind the pile of bricks.
Kraszewski is about to go before the City Planning Commission and the Zoning Appeal Board to request a special exception to allow beer brewing on the property. Kraszewski was asking for a letter of community support to bolster BZA’s upcoming appearance to approve the 3,000-square-foot building to contain a brewery and a faucet room that will employ 15 people.
Compared to the New England Brewery’s 8.5-acre proposal, Armada is tiny.
Yet it was enough to set off the bomb of incompatibility.
This happened during Jaigantic’s presentation, when Buster called both the larger New England brewery plan, which is underway, and the smaller Armada Brewing a “potential mine”.
She cited her company’s vision for 46/56 River St.t and the site of 112 Chapel St. – a “designer quarter” – with, possibly, an outdoor movie theater, a backyard where the filming (requiring silence) takes place, a top notch cinema and ample parking as one that could not comfortably live with the brewery businesses.
“We need a contiguous space, a secure space to create this destination,” she said.
She also said they had heard anecdotally that local churches had serious qualms about establishing breweries in the heart of the River Street neighborhood.
“There is an undercurrent of schools and churches,” she reported, “with issues of not one brewery but two and placed right in the middle of our studios, that means we probably can’t not work at all. “
Dave Cruz-Bustamante raised a first objection regarding the potential increase in rents following the arrival of these jazzy businesses, driving out local residents through the increase in electronic rents.
FHCMT co-chair Lee Cruz also asked Kraszweki if his brewery would provide jobs with a living wage. Kraszweki replied that the lowest paid of the 15 employees would earn $ 35,000.
Longtime resident Mark Firla explained that Jaigantic threw in the gauntlet saying they wouldn’t be living with a brewery.
“It’s kind of a weird setup, a multi-million dollar setup wants to come in and a small one, Armada, and can’t we find a way to fix this,” Firla said. “It is not fair to judge one organization against another. I was disturbed to hear in Jaigantic’s presentation a certain opposition to the arrival of other groups, in particular the breweries. “
“We are not opposed to other companies,” Buster replied. “If there was a way for Armada and us to work together so that we didn’t have a problem with noise and traffic … Could we make the Armada an official studio beer?” Or place it in the studio? We would love to talk to John. We don’t want anyone to think it’s Armada or us. Rather how we can make it work so that we and them can coexist. “
The role of the city
After sympathetic but serious support and feedback, FHCMT co-chair Diane Ecton asked Fontana and Rosenberg for the city’s perspective.
“Helen has worked for years cleaning industrial properties,” Fontana replied. “We are doing our best to attract Jaigantic, New England Brewing, Armada, to formulate their proposals to reflect the values of the community and we are delighted to present them to you. There are communities that would kill to have a Jaigantic Studios or a new New England Brewing.
“The are a lot of issues, design, environment, and we are dealing with them all in a dynamic situation. We are trying to reconcile and resolve all these opportunities, ”he said, stressing that a key driver, if not the main one, of the city’s role is job creation, although other concerns raised, such as affordable housing, must also be balanced, he said.
“We need the city,” said Sarah Miller, Ward 14 alder candidate, after Fontana’s remarks, “to be an active partner in how they can be successful together. One can be incompatible. with the other.
The question posed to the FHCMT was: Should letters of support be provided tonight as requested, given the outstanding issues raised?
Co-chair Ecton said she sees no problem expressing her support now, leaving the details to be worked out in further appearances of the parties before the municipal planning commission and the zoning appeal board.
Miller disagreed: “We are being asked to write a letter to the BZA in support of Armada. This may mean Jaigantic can’t move in, so it looks like there’s work to be done on the plane before we can back either one.
“I don’t understand how voting for one cancels the other,” said FHCMT Treasurer Darlene Casella.
Ecton: “The bottom line is that the city is going to go ahead and do it, and our letters of support don’t carry that much weight.
Miller: “My understanding is about zoning. it’s pretty big.
Firla: “Support votes are ‘used’. They seem to carry a lot of weight, and I would hesitate to put us in the position of picking a winner or at least giving the impression of that.
“You can move a motion to postpone the vote,” said FHCMT registration secretary Dave Weinreb.
“I know Armada is ready to go,” said Co-Chair Cruz, “but a letter is a strong signal. Jaigantic asks for a letter of general support. Armada specifically asks for his approach to BZA, and this is taken very seriously. .
He therefore called the two requests for letters of support very different, “apples and oranges”.
“We can get greater clarity from [the city] economic development at another meeting.
A show of hands was held via Zoom, and the majority voted to delay the vote.
posted by: THREE-FIFTH August 6, 2021 at 1:51 p.m.
Like I said before.
Posted By: THREEFFTHS July 12, 2021 5:17 PM
Next, Newhallville resident Shirley Lawrence spoke. “These are people’s lives that we are talking about,” she said. “Don’t bring people to the table and throw them on the sidewalk. This is the story of what is happening in our community.
And they’ll kick them to the sidewalk. They do the same to people who live near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. You see. A Man By The Name In 2003, David S. Steiner and his son Douglas C. Steiner began development of what later became New York City’s largest television and film production facility, on 20 acres in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Steiner Studios opened in November 2004. Actually. Steiner Studios is the largest film and television production studio complex in the United States. Here is a list of the films that were shot there.
Now down the street is DUMBO AKA Down Under the Manhattan Bridge. Down the street is also Farragut Houses, a development of the New York City Housing Authority.
Farragut Houses is located in a strategic area crossed by approaches to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway as well as the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. To add to other congestion and security concerns, a major development is underway in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which literally sits across from Farragut. High-rise buildings and projects such as the Barclay Center and a series of hotels in downtown Brooklyn have made Farragut and other public housing projects close to prime real estate areas. While developers and real estate moguls would like to privatize or even convert neighborhoods like Farragut into unaffordable housing, resistance is mounting.
They are trying to kick out the poor and the working poor. The same will happen to people here as she grows up. Jobs ? At what wages will these jobs be. Continue to sleep.