NEW LONDON, Conn. — New London County has the jobs. But what about housing? In a ramp-up to build nuclear submarines, General Dynamics Electric Boat seeking to hire 5,700 workers in southeastern Connecticut this year. But does the Whaling City have the housing stock? It’s going into construction season with cranes already in the sky.
Amid record-breaking heat Friday, Mayor Mike Passero showed Gov. Ned Lamont several of New London’s latest developments.
“People are really looking for quality housing,” Felix Reyes, the city’s economic development director told Lamont.
Affordable housing is a hot topic at the state capitol and units are under construction in New London, across the river from neighboring Groton where EB is on a hiring frenzy after being awarded the U.S. Navy’s Aukus contract to build more nuclear submarines.
“We have a number of these types of projects happening downtown. Finally, the stars have aligned and the demand and the return on investment is there to incentivize these types of projects,” Passero said. “It’s really a demand for housing that’s driving it. But it’s also going to rejuvenate our retail and commercial first floor, downtown streetscape.”
Like the city itself, the units under construction—more than 2,000—are diverse.
Garfield Mills received a $1 million state grant from the Brownfield Remediation and Development program. Formerly the Edward Bloom Silk Mill, the property was sitting empty for nearly a century. It will become 90 units of housing, including 20 affordable units.
The Beam is a five-story, 203-unit market rate complex on a once-vacant site with demand so high hundreds are waitlisted.
Lamont said, “They’ve got more new housing being built and under design, than they have in the past 15 years combined. That’s because there’s really good paying jobs right across the way.”
Lamont also stopped by a new Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities, Inc. (ECHO) affordable housing project on Bayonet Street. The State Bond Commission recently approved $4 million in grants for a 28-unit mixed-income apartment building.
Efforts are also underway to convert a historic waterfront property on Bank Street known as The Riverbank into luxury apartments and an incoming brewery.
The Vessel, a prefabricated development will go up faster than the others. It is expected to be complete by summer.
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