By the BF Staff
From the January/February 2018 Issue
The City of Stamford leads the rest of Connecticut with over $6 billion in new residential and commercial development. This development supports the strong and diverse commercial, industrial and retail business base.
Stamford enjoys a high concentration of corporate headquarters of Fortune 500 and 1000 companies that contribute to the daytime population of 200,000, and that take advantage of the City’s growing pool of young talent within the 25-35 age range. Residents enjoy a high quality of life—including good schools, a broad array of public services, attractive parks and recreational activities, and a safe living environment. In this regard, the City has been consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in the United States by the FBI; based on 2016 crime data, Stamford was ranked the 12th safest city with a population over 100,000 in the country.
Under the leadership of Mayor David Martin, the city is pro-business, while being financially prudent to preserve the city’s AAA bond rating. The city offers the most available tax incentives and credits in Connecticut including Enterprise Zone, Entertainment District, Urban Jobs, Film Production and Digital Media, and Insurance Reinvestment, as well as the Small Business Express loans and grants program. Mayor Martin has taken the steps required for all site plan applications to be expedited and has set an expectation of a 140 day approval process from site plan submission to zoning approval and a less than 30 day building permit approval process. The City also works closely with Department of Labor to provide training incentives and resource packages for businesses, such as the First Five Program, which allows for substantial financial assistance for large-scale business projects to encourage business expansion, relocation and job creation.
The city of Stamford has been designated as an “Innovation Place” by the CTNext Board of Directors and will receive up to $2 million in implementation grant funding to establishing Stamford as a hub for innovation. The CTNext run program was created to help the state’s communities become centers for entrepreneurism and innovation, magnets for talent and launching points for growth-stage companies by continuously exploiting emerging opportunities.
The city’s Innovation District, run by Innovate Stamford, envisions several tiers of connectivity. First, an intensely collaborative, walkable, digitally enabled city that is strongly connected to NYC and other Connecticut cities thanks to the Stamford Transportation Center. Second, a number of geographic locations within the city, where startups, modern manufacturing businesses, co-working spaces and gathering places are clustered into cohesive neighborhoods.
Innovate Stamford is moving forward with projects that will accelerate the growth of our innovation community. Companies currently have extensive gigabit internet solution, which is evident from the large number of financial, media and tech companies located in Stamford. Stamford is tied into both the New York and Boston networks, which insures redundancy for our companies but also it is our connection to New York that ensure low latency, which has made Stamford so attractive for start-ups and company relocations. However, the City is looking to strength its residential gigabit infrastructure. One of the project will be the installation of a public Gigabit Wi-Fi. The city will be installing six POP locations around the downtown and at the Stamford Transportation Center to broadcast gigabit high-speed Wi-Fi to the public. This is the city’s first step in starting last mile installation of gigabit residential service. Another exciting project the city is working on is developing the region’s first autonomous vehicle zone. The city expects to have the first vehicles being tested by 2018, with autonomous shuttles running in the downtown by 2019.
As the State’s engine for economic growth and its largest business center, Stamford is a pre-eminent location for corporate headquarters. Cable Company Charter Communications, and other recognized Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 names such as, United Rentals and Pitney Bowes, reside in Stamford. The city’s business environment consists of employers across multiple industries, including: banking; insurance and reinsurance; office equipment; pharmaceuticals; consumer products; media and information technology; and retail.
The City has proven to be an ideal location for businesses to flourish, as demonstrated by the recent addition of companies such as leading entertainment company Octagon Sports & Entertainment Agency, which will bring over 150 people to their 57,992 square foot space near Harbor Point. Another recent addition to Stamford is consumer goods company Henkel, which moved over 300 employees to their 155,000 square foot office at the BLT Center. Other groups that have moved to or expanded into the city within the last five years include PartnerRe, Synchrony Financial, Tradition Energy, WestMed Medical Group, Bridgewater Associates, Indeed.com, Rhone Apparel, Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits and Stamford Hospital.
Stamford’s affordability, high quality of life, and continued development appeal to millennials who are looking to build their lives in the New York Metropolitan Area. Stamford maintains an unemployment rate of four percent, the lowest among the five most populous cities in the State of Connecticut. According to the CT Department of Labor, Stamford’s labor force has grown 3.65 percent since 2012.
Stamford continues to be the premier community that attracts new residential and commercial development. The renovation of Harbor Point allows the city to function as an affordable and superior living space for young people working in Manhattan or nearby towns known for their high market costs of real estate. Since 2010, the area has seen nearly 2,361 apartments built and will see 391 new units in the spring of 2018. Harbor Point offers premier attractions such as movies under the stars in Commons Park, paddle boarding, and outdoor yoga classes which in turn intrigue not only residents, but people from all over the New York Metropolitan area.