Stamford Seeks Future For Boatyard To Be Evicted By Bridgewater

Sep 12 2012 | 11:26am ET

If Bridgewater Associates is to build its planned $750 million headquarters in Stamford, Conn., city officials are likely to have to find a solution for the boatyard the hedge fund hopes to displace. It began that process this week.

Stamford will hire a consultant to help it relocate the boatyard in the city's South End, on a 14-acre parcel on Bateman Avenue that Bridgewater and the state hope will soon house the currently Westport-based hedge fund giant.

The consultant will be charged with determining the feasibility of moving the boatyard to a 3.5-acre city-owned site, a mile as the crow flies from the current boatyard, across the east branch of Stamford Harbor. Stamford land-use chief Norman Cole said the search for a consultant could take several weeks.

The Bridgewater deal, which includes $115 million in incentives for the hedge fund, was struck last month by Gov. Dannel Malloy, a former Stamford mayor, without consulting the city. It has been criticized for that lack of consultation, for the incentives and for the potential loss of the boatyard.

Indeed, Maureen Boylan, who heads the Save Our Boatyard group, poured scorn on the plan to move the boatyard to Magee Avenue.

"You cannot get a sufficient amount of boats in the channel with tugboats pushing barges up," she told the Stamford Advocate. What's more, "there won't be enough depth in the water for boats with large rudders to get through."

Angry city officials also do not appear mollified by the new approach. At the Monday meeting, when Cole announced plans to hire the consultant, members of the zoning board continued to complain that they weren't consulted.

"We had no indication of what was going on behind the scenes," one member, Audry Consentini, said. "Now we are being asked to alter our modus operandi."

The boatyard's owner, Building and Land Technology, protested that it was not allowed to reveal the negotiations between Bridgewater and the state.

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