By Lucretia Cardenas
If economic development is truly the lifeblood of a community, then New Haven has a healthy stream of activity ahead to maintain it.
New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald announced three new developments during the state of the city address March 13.
“Last year was by far the busiest year for economic development here in New Haven and we are forecasting that 2017 will be no different,” McDonald said.
Recreational vehicle and residential housing supplier Lippert Components Inc., whose parent LCI Industries is based in Mishawaka, plans to build a 400,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on Ryan Road. The new facility would create 275 new jobs, while retaining all of the jobs the company currently has at its location on Nelson Road, McDonald said.
In addition, the Canadian automotive engineer and manufacturer Multimatic will be leasing the former Vera Bradley factory on Adams Center Road with the plan to create 175 new jobs this year and an additional 80 jobs in 2018. Vera Bradley closed its operation in the leased space, where it employed about 250 people, in the spring of 2015.
Also, the former Parker Hannifin plant on Rose Avenue is under negotiation for a 100-percent occupancy, long-term lease, McDonald said. The owners of the property have said that they will also need to build a new building on the property for its own use and two additional companies are interested in building two more facilities.
Parker Hannifin announced in July 2015 its closure of its New Haven plant that affected about 150 employees.
While McDonald said he’s not at liberty to announce the names of the companies interested in the Parker Hannifin property just yet, he emphasized that all four of the companies have “quiet, clean manufacturing.”
“We have potentially four more announcements this year…I hope you are as excited as I am,” McDonald said.
As of March 13, the city had not received any abatement requests for the planned developments, but McDonald expects the City Council to receive requests as the projects move forward, he said after his address.
The state of the city event, hosted by the New Haven Chamber of Commerce, featured local business community highlights from 2016 and headed into the future.
McDonald noted the success of New Haven’s growing downtown business scene. The downtown entrepreneurs are cross-selling to one another and creating a community, complete with events such as “Wednesday Nights on Broadway,” which features 30 pop-up vendors.
“Did you ever think you would see a yoga shop in downtown New Have?” McDonald said. “And, it’s expanding.”
To build on the momentum in the downtown area, McDonald and other city leaders are working to organize a formal Main Street committee that will allow business owners the ability to take advantage of grant money available, such as those geared toward façade improvement.
Also during the evening, Sue Platt, who chaired New Haven’s sesquicentennial celebration, received the 2017 Bill Fritcha Memorial Award for outstanding service to the community. She was nominated by her son.