AP NEWS

Jayson-Newfield project still on track despite DOL snag

March 6, 2019

Developers of the Jayson-Newfield buildings in Bridgeport’s downtown north section say hundreds of new apartments and retail space will open this spring despite stop-work orders issued by the state Department of Labor.

The recent snag in reopening the once blighted buildings is just the latest of a saga years’ old that has slowed but not stopped the work.

“It’s not an issue for the project,” said principal Mark Reed. “We got the stop work order on a Tuesday and on Thursday we had filed all the correct paperwork.”

Three Connecticut-based contractors were issued a stop work order for misrepresenting employees as independent contractors and failure to get worker’s compensation coverage.

RCN Home Improvement in Danbury, Jorge Drywall and Wood Pro and Development in Bridgeport received citations and were fined for the violations.

When a stop work order is issued, the company cannot continue work until proof is provided that all deficiencies have been corrected. Under state law, companies are fined $300 per worker per day for any day it has operated in violation of the law.

Fernando Reissinger, owner of Wood Pro and Development, said his business paid the fine and brought necessary paperwork to the DOL.

“Everything was resolved right away,” he said. “It only took me two days to resolve everything.”

KCT General Contractors from Staten Island, N.Y., was also issued a stop work order for not having a Connecticut registration and not having Connecticut worker’s compensation. That also, was resolved.

History of setbacks

The project has had several setbacks since it was first announced in 2015 during the Bill Finch administration. Construction lagged through a series of mishaps and lost financing while the buildings continued to deteriorate.

Reed and his partner, Patrick Normoyle, took over development in 2016 from the project’s former developer, Eric Anderson of Urban Green. They got caught up in a merger between First Niagara Bank and Keybank soon after. First Niagra was supposed to provide construction financing for the project. Following the merger, First Niagara pulled out of the project, leaving it in a standstill.

The duo caught a break last year when they secured $29 million in financing to redevelop the sites.

A large portion of the funding had already come from a mix of state and city investment, but a key component was filled by private investment. Roughly $12.2 million in funding was acquired from a partnership of the nonprofits Boston Community Capital and Low Income Investment Fund in San Francisco.

Construction of the mixed-used development is expected to bring 104 apartment units and 8,000 square feet of retail space to what had been crumbling buildings.

“It’s been moving ahead nice and quickly,” Reed said, adding that they still expect to have the first batch of apartments ready by June along Middle Street across from the bus station.

The second building facing Main Street, which will also feature ground-floor retail, is supposed to be done by December, he added.

Contributions from Tara O’Neill

Jordan.grice@hearstmediact.com