NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The mayor of West haven says she is still holding out hope a proposed waterfront mall project will still happen. Others, however, say The Haven outlet mall project is dead, and the city needs to move on.
“They didn’t say, ‘No, we’re not doing the project, we’re walking away, we’re abandoning it.’ But they didn’t say they would do it, either,” Rossi said. “So, that’s why there was never any clear picture.”
The Simon Group did recently apply for demolition permits.
“The problem was, they filled out the applications, but no money,” Rossi explained. “We do not issue permits without money. And that’s to anybody. Not them, anybody.”
For State Rep. Dorinda Borer (D-West Haven), the lack of development is personal. She grew up in the neighborhood.
“It’s been very disturbing to watch your childhood home be boarded up,” Borer said. “I was hoping that, at the end of the day, there would be something beneficial to the city, but as we now know, that’s not going to pan out.”
She thinks the mall deal is dead. It did seem almost too good to be true with a hundred shops, plus restaurants and performance spaces. Demet Ozbay, one of the owners of West Haven Pizza and Deli, was counting on people stopping by after a day of shopping.
“It was one of the reasons why we chose this place,” Ozbay said. “We were hoping it would be done by now, but they haven’t even started yet, so I’m kind of losing my hope.”
Neighbors like Catherine D’Amato were looking forward to it.
“We thought that we would be walking down to the amphitheater that they were told, restaurants,” she said.
Now, her neighbors can’t even sell their homes, even in this hot housing market.
As for the boarded-up houses, everyone is tired of looking at them. Borer wants the city to tear them down and send the Simon Group the bill.
“Now is the time for a reset and to look towards what else can come here and what else can benefit the city,” Borer said.
The city can get more in taxes with the houses still standing, but the mayor does plan to start fining the Simon Group up to $3,600 a day for blight.
“Well, we’re certainly not going to leave it like this,” Rossi said.”I mean, something good is going to happen here, I just don’t have the details yet.”
She is also working with the police commission to reopen Water Street to traffic as soon as possible.