Login to Portal

Forgot your password? Click here.

Don’t have an account? Click here.


CT Construction Digest Thursday September 1, 2022

Foxwoods to expand gaming space, add celebrity-chef restaurant with $85 million project

Brian Hallenbeck

Mashantucket ― Doubling down on its bread and butter ― slot machines and table games ― Foxwoods Resort Casino announced Wednesday it plans to open 50,000 square feet of new gaming space next year as well as a celebrity chef-owned restaurant.

Word of the $85 million in proposed improvements comes on the heels of the casino’s July opening of a $7 million high stakes bingo hall and the casino-owning Mashantucket Pequot Tribe’s announcement in February that Great Wolf Resorts will develop an indoor water park adjacent to Foxwoods.

Since February, when Foxwoods celebrated its 30th anniversary, the casino has been announcing projects of varying magnitude on a monthly basis.

“From our modest bingo beginnings in 1986 to the impressive, full sweep of gaming options now available at Foxwoods, we are excited to announce yet another amenity that will entice guests from near and far to visit,” Jason Guyot, Foxwoods’ president and chief executive officer, said in a statement released near the end of the business day. “Through our team’s shared commitment of evolving the Foxwoods experience, together we are continuing to redefine what it means to be a leader in hospitality, gaming and entertainment, and cannot wait to bring this vision to life.”

Guyot was not immediately available to comment further.

According to a press release, the new gaming space ― Foxwoods’ first significant gaming expansion since 2008, when The Fox Tower, originally MGM Grand at Foxwoods, opened ― will be located in the Grand Ballroom in the casino’s Grand Pequot area. The release did not specify the number of slots or the mix of table games that will be included in the new space.

Foxwoods’ latest quarterly report, for the period that ended June 30, indicated the casino operated about 300,000 square feet of gaming space that contained some 3,000 slots and 250 table games.

The new space will include a 13,000-square-foot restaurant branded with the name of an “iconic celebrity chef,” who will be revealed later this year; “a luxurious, high-limit slot area”; a 40-seat bar featuring more than 35 slots; and a 15-seat bar.

Construction is scheduled to begin in November.

Foxwoods this year also has announced plans to open Sushi by Bou, a sushi restaurant; a redesigned version of its Golden Dragon restaurant; and Wahlburgers, a chain burger restaurant. Other projects have included openings of the VIP Canopy Players’ Lounge and CardVault, a sports memorabilia store.

In November 2021, the casino opened DraftKings Sportsbook at Foxwoods, which occupies more than 12,000 square feet on two floors.

An announcement about the Great Wolf Lodge at Mashantucket, the proposed indoor water park resort, will be made in the fall, Guyot said last week. The $300 million project, which will include 550 hotel rooms, will be erected between Foxwoods’ Rainmaker entrance and the Pequot Outpost gas station/convenience store on Foxwoods Boulevard.

Foxwoods also has been announcing monthly donations to local organizations as part of its anniversary celebration. On Wednesday, it announced it partnered in August with Joshua’s Worldwide Transportation to donate a new scoreboard to the Ledyard Youth Football League. The scoreboard will be unveiled later this year.

Four-year, $800 million Yale New Haven Neurosciences Center project underway

Luther Turmelle

NEW HAVEN — Construction will get underway later this year on an $838 million, 505,000 square foot Neurosciences Center on Yale New Haven Hospital’s Saint Raphael campus, a project that city and state officials say will be transformative both in terms of the local economy and medical care.

The project was announced in April 2019, but the start of construction was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Neurosciences Center, which will be built at 659 George St., will create hundreds of construction and permanent jobs, according to Yale New Haven Health officials. The start of construction on the project was celebrated Wednesday with a ceremonial groundbreaking.

“This project is reflective of our commitment to the city of New Haven and the state of Connecticut,” said Christopher O’Connor, president and chief executive officer of Yale New Haven Health. “It will set a new standard in neurological care.”

Yale New Haven Health officials said the project is likely the largest hospital project in Connecticut history. And New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said the center is “one of the largest projects in the city’s modern history.”

The Neurosciences Center will cover over half a city block and take over four years to complete, creating about 400 construction jobs during peak work periods, according to Stephen Carbery, Yale New Haven Health’s vice president of facilities.

Once the final phase of construction is complete at the end of 2026, about 200 new health care and support jobs will be created, Carbery said.

Part of the project will require the demolition of four buildings on the Saint Raphael campus, he said, including a multi-story office building and the former convent of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, who founded what was then The Hospital of Saint Raphael in 1907. Yale New Haven acquired The Hospital of Saint Raphael in 2012.

Carbery said Yale New Haven officials “have been at work on this for quite a while, moving around our operations so that this could happen.”

The lead donors on the project are Stephen and Denise Adams. The Connecticut couple are making a multi-year donation that Stephen Jakab, Yale New Haven Health’s vice president of development, called “a significant lift.”

“They are well regarded in the philanthropic community,” Jakab said. “So their leadership on this project is like a stamp of approval in the philanthropic community.”

Adams, who is a 1959 Yale University graduate, is an entrepreneur and co-owner of Camping World Holdings, which sells recreational vehicles and camping supplies.

The project will include two new patient facilities and provide enhanced access to state-of-the-art care for patients. The center will feature 201 inpatient beds for treatment of patients seeking care from multiple sclerosis and epilepsy as well as movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

The new center will consist of two towers with inpatient beds: The eight-story Sherman Tower adjacent to Sherman Avenue and the seven-story McGivney Tower.

Both towers will share a common podium that will house a new entrance and the main lobby on the first floor, as well as neurosurgery, radiology spaces on the second floor. Care giver spaces and mechanical equipment room will be on the third floor.

Dr. Nancy Brown, dean of the Yale School of Medicine, said the new facility “will enable us to make cutting edge treatments available to Yale New Haven patients.”

“Yale is a world leader in neuroscience research, and discovery can happen at the bedside,” Brown said. “The center will bring the ability to learn from our patients.”

Amazon deepens commitment to massive Waterbury/Naugatuck distribution center with $4.8M land purchase

Michael Puffer

An Amazon-affiliated limited liability company paid $4.8 million in late August for an 8.5-acre property in Naugatuck, deepening the e-commerce giant’s commitment to plans for a massive distribution warehouse on the Waterbury-Naugatuck line.

The property at 191 Sheridan Drive will help Amazon access a massive distribution center planned on roughly 160 acres of currently undeveloped land straddling the city line.

For Waterbury and Naugatuck officials, the purchase – logged Aug. 22 – is a major reinforcement of Amazon’s commitment. Officials have touted the project as a jobs and tax revenue generator.

“This $4.8 million purchase is a very positive sign and strong commitment that this project is going in the right direction for the people of Waterbury and Naugatuck,” Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary said Wednesday.

Waterbury owns the roughly 160-acre property that is the focus of Amazon’s aspirations for a 130-foot-tall, “robotic-sort, multi-level fulfillment and distribution center.”

City officials have tried to develop the land for decades. Proposals for a mall, dog track and casino fell through due to resident opposition and steep topography that made it difficult to access the area without infringing on roads in residential neighborhoods.

 A major turning point came several years ago when O’Leary and Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess agreed to work together to solve the challenge of property access. Both communities later agreed to evenly split tax revenue.

Waterbury will get the $2.5 million Bluewater Property Group – Amazon’s developer – will pay under a purchase-and-sale agreement approved in May.

That agreement gives Bluewater 18 months to inspect the 160-acre property, study construction feasibility, finalize land-use approvals and reach a tax agreement with Waterbury and Naugatuck before closing. After closing, Bluewater Property Group would have another year to begin construction.  

While those deadlines are a long way off, Amazon’s $4.8 million purchase of the abutting property has further cemented commitment to the project.

“I look at it as a good strong sign,” Hess said Wednesday. He has another reason to celebrate as Amazon paid off $375,000 in back taxes owed on 191 Sheridan Drive.

Amazon.com Services LLC, which lists an address at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, purchased the Sheridan Drive property from Westport-based Bluewater Hill South LLC, according to land records. Bluewater Hill South acquired the property for $2 million in 2007, according to assessing records.

In its state business filing, Amazon.com Services LLC lists Michael D. Deal as its president, secretary and treasurer. That filing also lists Deal’s address as Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. A 2017 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lists a Michael D. Deal as vice president, associate general counsel and assistant secretary for Amazon.

Attempts to reach an Amazon spokesperson were not immediately successful.

Hess said the Sheridan Drive property is needed for access roads to the planned distribution center.

The 8.5-acre property currently hosts a 55,349-square-foot industrial building that was completed in 1980. A conceptual site plan Bluewater Property Group shared with residents at a June information session shows two driveways moving through that property – absent any building – and connecting with the major artery of South Main Street in Waterbury.

The June information session by Bluewater Property Group came as the developer sought to change height restrictions in zoning. That effort was successful, clearing the way for Bluewater to submit detailed plans.

At the June forum, Alex Escamilla, head of development for Bluewater Property Group, said the 130-foot height allowance would allow a “robotic-sort, multi-level fulfillment and distribution center” in a more efficient and feasible layout. If it were a single story, such a facility would spread out over 2 million to 3 million square feet, she said.

In exchange for the increased height, Bluewater proposed increasing setbacks to a 150-foot minimum and requiring a 75-acre minimum lot size to access the taller height limits.

This planned facility would store goods delivered from manufacturers, which would be sorted and then sent to delivery stations, Escamilla said. Sorting on the upper levels will be largely performed by robotics using a “massive conveyor system,” with most employees working on the ground level, she said.

Goods will leave the Waterbury-Naugatuck facility in pallets on trucks, no sprinter vans, Escamilla said.

“This is not a last-mile,” Escamilla said. “This is more of a first-touch in the e-commerce network.”

The investment on the site would result in a project that typically assesses around $150 million, according to a slide Bluewater shared during its presentation.

“Because of its access to the roadway network, because of the demographic workforce here, it’s a great site for this burgeoning e-commerce demand,” Escamilla said. 

Mayor Jeff Caggiano announces start of roadwork on Riverside Avenue, Memorial Boulevard


BRISTOL – Mayor Jeff Caggiano has announced the start of roadwork on Riverside Avenue and Memorial Boulevard which is designed to improve safety and traffic flow in the area and create bike lanes in both directions.

Caggiano said in an update on the Mayor’s Office Facebook page that city and state roadways projects will be coinciding on Memorial Boulevard and Riverside Avenue next week, coming out of the Labor Day weekend. The affected area will be Riverside Avenue and Memorial Boulevard to where the temporary city hall is located on Main Street.

“There will be some traffic delays through the area,” said Caggiano. “The state will primarily be working at night and the city crews will be working during the day. They will be doing one lane at a time, so none of these roads will be completely closed to traffic.”

Milling, paving and lining work will take place from Aug. 31 through Sept. 21. on Memorial Boulevard and Riverside Avenue. The project, in partnership with the Department of Public Works, will be included in the fall work schedule. The area will be considered a “work zone” and drivers are advised to use caution.

For the past 10 years, Caggiano said, there has been a plan to create a bicycle lane, accessible to pedestrians, each way on Memorial Boulevard. The construction of the bridge over the Pequabuck River will also be finalized.

“This project was delayed due to a lack of granite,” Caggiano said.

Caggiano said that these projects, along with the recently completed BAIMS (Bristol Arts & Innovation Magnet School), will leave the area much better off than it was.

“We’re trying to get all of the work done prior to the start of the Mum Festival later this September,” he said.

According to a graphic about the project shared by the Mayor’s Office page, the paving project will result in new traffic patterns. Drivers can expect to see new directional signals, road markings and traffic signs.

The graphic states that benefits to the new roadway configuration will include connectivity of local bike infrastructure, traffic calming, increased safety, making the area more walk-able for pedestrians and an “overall healthier community environment.”

The city encourages residents to “stay tuned” for more information about the bike lane and “shared roadway etiquette.”

According to a 2020 community survey, 27% of Bristol households ranked having bike trails as one of the most important facilities to them.