Stamford Is Booming

James Bond's arch-enemy, Spector Group plans this exciting building for downtown Stamford.

James Bond’s arch-enemy, Spector (SpectorGroup.com)  plans this exciting building for downtown Stamford.

I was at a “business breakfast” Wednesday at Riverside Yacht Club and listened to Thomas Madden, Director of Economic Development for the City of Stamford talk about how well Stamford is doing. Could he be accused of having a bias? Sure, that’s his %#@&-ing job, after all, but still, he makes a convincing case.

Among other startling facts, I learned that within the next year, Stamford developers (like FD Rich) will have added over 8,000 apartments and hotel rooms. The town is positively packed with high-earning young people (average income $108,000) and loads of companies are moving here from all over the globe.

You’d never know any of this from reading the dear old Stamford Advocate because, like our own Greenwich Time, the Advocate views its home town as the enemy. So there’s no one place to turn to get the full picture, but hell, drive around Stamford’s waterfront districts and look for yourself, it’s amazing.

How can this be happening in a state with such a virulently anti-business environment? Because for years now, even when now-governor Malloy was mayor,  Stamford was pro-business, actively encouraging downtown development. More recently, under it’s current mayor, David Martin, the city’s taken steps to make it easier and easier to open a business here (goodness, what a radical concept, someone run and tell Professor Obama!)

Mayor David Martin * appears to be truly exceptional. For those of you impressed by college degrees, how’s this: He’s an MIT grad, where he earned degrees in biology and economics. He then went and got an M.B.A at Stanford.

All of that counts for exactly nothing in my book, but there’s something else. He has, I am told, a “private sector mentality”, or at least, he actually understands the private sector. Imagine if we had a guy like this as President of the United States! (but no, we’ll settle for Hillary)

 

  • are you sitting down? he’s a Democrat!

 

7 thoughts on “Stamford Is Booming

  1. I agree the downtown residential scene in Stamford is exciting.

    Did Madden provide a start date on three long proposed projects that have not budged in 8 years: i) Capelli’s Post Office towers project, ii) Harbor Pointe’s Gateway office tower at the Train Station (why build another office tower when UBS has vacated?) and iii) FR Rich’s Urban Ready Living project with 650 units in the infamous hole in the ground site next too the mall?

    • Coe’s Cob:
      As a matter of fact, he did address those three stalled projects, and the answer is, all three will start work in 2016, including the infamous “hole in the ground”, across from the Stamford Mall. FD Rich is handling that one. Also, the hedge fund called Bridgewater Associates will apparently be setting up “temporary” headquarters on a waterfront site. Bridgewater had no interest in moving into the vacated UBS building, but lots of other companies are moving in there.

      • Gids, I would be thrilled to see someone take the UBS space – but I really have my doubts a substantive lease will take place in that enormous building anytime soon. I really hope I am wrong – though. With the UBS building in limbo, I also really have my doubts anyone will fund BLT’s speculative Gateway office building anytime soon either. The vacancy rate for Stamford Comm space is over 20% and been that way since 2007.

        Bridgewater is taking BLT’s empty space down on the Harbor Sq waterfront site. BLT built it on spec and it has sat 60% empty for over three years.

  2. Wow, you’re pretty easy to fool. Vacancy rates in Stamford for residential and businesses are crazy. The 8,000 apartments/hotel rooms will sit empty like so many of the Harbor Point apartments. $108,000 average income is made up. It’s a dead zone, except for the strip of bars. An utter money pit that has been subsidized by the state heavily for way too long.

  3. I’m sorry, but I’m very down on Stamford and for that matter fairfield county. In the 80’s downturn of the defense industry and then the subsequent rise of internet companies and financials (Greenwich Capital, GE Capital, Cendent, Priceline,etc.) I felt optimistic that Connecticut was a dynamic place and could recover from these downturns. This last downturn feels very different. RBS, UBS, GE Capital are all leaving and I don’t see any major employers taking their place. Combine this with the trend to live in major cities (not stamford) and I’m pessimistic. Fairfield county is now firmly a suburb of New York.

    What companies of any substance are moving to Stamford, excluding Bridgewater which I suspect might not happen?

    • Anonsie:
      I agree that the economic illiterates in Hartford (much like Professor Obama and his cohorts in D.C.) have so little understanding of businesses and the people who create them, that every year, they make it worse and worse here in the Nutmeg State. But it is undeniable that a large and diverse group of builders is choosing to start major projects in Stamford. These people aren’t fools, and they’re spending their own money, not tax-payers’ funds. FD Rich, for instance, is going “all in” with multiple building projects all over the downtown area. That is is significant because, after going through a very hard time in the 1990’s, FD Rich is exceedingly cautious.
      So here are all these builders, putting up huge rental, business, and retail buildings. Are they all wrong, or do they perhaps have a clearer picture of the Stamford economy?

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