In September of 2008, a new project was announced for Stamford's South End. Norwalk's (BLT) announced a , and jumped into what would become one of Stamford's premeire destinations.
John Freeman, Vice President and general counsel for Harbor Point, sat down to discuss where the project stood after five years, and where he'd like to see the project go in the next five.
"In the last five years, we've redeveloped one million square feet of industrial space," Freeman said. "We created a five-acre park, a million square feet of retail and office space and 1,800 residential units with 2,200 more to go. And that's just on the development side."
On the economy front, Freeman laid claim to 2,000 permanent jobs created with companies opening in and around the point, companies he said "weren't going anywhere."
The project has faced its own hurdles. Freeman said the most recent success of Harbor Point were the hotel being built that just broke ground and the , the first of two marine projects the Harbor Point revitalization will tackle. The second, the Yacht Haven boat yard, stll has 14 acres of contaminated land that needs to be remediated.
"It's always seemed like a lot," Freeman said. "Redeveloping 80 acres anywhere is challenging. This was that needed to be completely redesigned and recreated."
Despite all of the work Harbor Point has presented, Freeman couldn't be happier with what they've accomplished so far—and the speed with which it's been accomplished.
"The location is the best you'll find anywhere in the region," Freeman said, "And we're ahead of where we thought we'd be. When the economy took a hit, a lot of development slowed down. Stamford and Harbor Point in particular decided it was full steam ahead, and it's worked."
Freeman said the neighborhood has seen rougher times lately, but those who've cared about this section of the city have stuck through the most recent hard times to see the rise of success again.
"This neighborhood, like many others, has seen good times and bad," he said. "When the industrial companies that were here, left, they left a lot of vacant areas—blighted areas. I think our most satisfying accomplishment is the building of the and the number of jobs we've created, the way we've restored this neighborhood."
He said he was happy so many good people stayed and he hoped to see the neighborhood through the "next reneissance of South End." Harbor Point, aside from , offers events like .
with the efforts at Harbor Point. However, Freeman isn't swayed form insisting the project is all about the community that surrounds it.
He personally enjoys the workforce housing Harbor Point is creating. Once all residential units are done, 10-percent of them, about 400 apartments, will be designated at 50-percent of actual market cost. This gives those who typically wouldn't be able to afford the lifestyle the opportunity to live affordably in Harbor Point.
When asked if he anticipated the be finished far ahead of the original completion date, he wouldn't cross that land.
"Our original deadline is 2018 and we'll meet or beat that," Freeman laughed. "I won't tempt fate any further."