Governor Dannel Malloy is going forward with plans to move Bridgewater Associates to Stamford. But some local residents have been working hard to delay that project. They expressed their opposition in a public hearing in Stamford this week.
Governor Malloy’s plan is to give the hedge fund Bridgewater more than $100 million in tax breaks to move from its current location in Westport to Stamford.
About 70 people showed up to a public hearing, and many of them were there to protest the idea. At issue is the waterfront location of the new office building, which is in a floodplain. Developers had previously said that the area would be a full-service boatyard. Cynthia Reeder, a Stamford resident, says they are now going back on their promise.
“Quite simply, our government officials and the public were duped. We were deceived," she told the audience.
State money is usually not allowed to go toward constructing an office building in a floodplain, so Bridgewater had to apply for an exemption from that rule. Resident Kevin Dailey told state officials at the hearing that they should not accept the application.
“This is a gross overdevelopment on a piece of property that was stripped of all development rights other than a boatyard," Dailey said.
A few spoke up in favor of the project, saying it will accelerate development in Stamford. But Carolyn Goldenberg said that may not be good for the city, and that the financial industry is unstable.
“We should not lose sight that all this development is not just about bringing new residents to our city in high-rise buildings, and making developers richer, bringing in corporations with tax incentives, only to have them leave," Goldenberg said.
Malloy says Bridgewater will create up to a thousand new jobs in its new location. The hedge fund was considering leaving the state of Connecticut for New York.
City boards and commissions have not yet approved the plan, but developers say they are still on track for a move-in date of 2016.