Stamford Residents Challenge Bridgewater Plan

Aug 21 2013 | 9:29am ET

Bridgewater Associates' plan to build a new headquarters in Stamford, Conn., got another rough going-over at a public planning board meeting last night.

The world's largest hedge fund has announced plans to move into a new $750 million campus on the Stamford waterfront, agreeing to create some 750 new jobs in exchange for more than $100 million in tax benefits. But it isn't the tax breaks that have people up in arms: It's the site chosen to house the hedge fund.

Bridgewater and the site's developers, Building and Land Technology, hope to build on the site of a former boatyard—one that BLT illegally demolished two years ago. Before they can do so, they have to build a new boatyard, and would like to do so on a much smaller piece of city-owned land.

Once again, however, proponents of the old boatyard have made very clear that they're not happy with those plans, and that they don't trust BLT after the 2011 demolition.

"If BLT gets planning approval, they'll be able to say they have proposed a boatyard that is equal or better to Yacht Haven," the demolish yard, Save Our Boatyard member Carolyn Goldenberg told the City Planning Board. She argued that the board's approval would legitimize the plan.

Another demanded that BLT rebuild a working boatyard at the proposed Bridgewater site.

"Yacht Haven is absolutely a premium property and other uses of it should come at a premium price," resident Ron Williams said. "Nobody doubts that BLT has made a lot of significant improvements to Stamford, but what works best for BLT is not always what is best for Stamford."

Others objected to the price the city hoped to get for the 2.4 acres—$5 million in public improvements.

"This is simply a very expensive gift from the city to BLT and Bridgewater," Stamford lawyer Bob Bayes said.


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