Bridgeport's Construction Outlook for 2019 Changes as Possibility of $100 Million in Work Not Off Table

A little more than a month ago, Bridgeport Community Development Director had talked about construction numbers being down this year compared to 2018. Granted, the numbers weren’t bad. They just weren’t approaching the numbers from the year

In 2018, Bridgeport had a total of $58.8 million in construction in the city by way of permits issued. Through August 12, the number was just at $22.1 million, which Kerr said had the city off pace of roughly $10 million.

“The number was still a good number, but you always want to increase the number. Usually, to get a number as large as last year you need something big,” said Kerr.

In 2018, the biggest was the Harmony Assisted Living Facility at White Oaks at $14 million. Another was part of the $16.1 million Johnson Elementary School project that saw work beginning in 2017. On top of that, the city saw more than $10 million in new home construction, which is the area where there had been a significant drop this year.

Fast forward a month and it’s all changed. And it’s changed in a positive way.

Kerr recently told the Bridgeport Development Authority that not only had last year’s total been surpassed, it has been surpassed by millions with several months of the year left to go. The reason?

“As of (last week), we’re at $68 million,” said Kerr after the Bridgeport Development Authority meeting. "It took one very big permit to get us there.”

The big one was also one that was expected. The only variable involving it was time, and that time came Sept. 10. On that day, the city issued a $38 million permit to Albert M. Higley Company out of Pittsburgh.

The reason?

“It was for the Bridgeport Indoor Sports and Recreation Complex,” said Kerr. “I’ve mentioned it, but as far as an actual city project, it’s the largest ever issued in Bridgeport’s history.”

The permit, along with several others during the past month has the city creeping further and further ahead with another monster year on the construction front. One of those was the near $3 million permit for the Center Branch Church in the former Toys “R” Us building, while the $1.1 million BFS on Main Street was another unanticipated one.

Since "last week," it's grown. And grown substantially. Officials with Genesis Partners – the developers of Charles Pointe – filed an infrastructure permit for the new Charles Pointe Crossing development at $14 million to bring the total to more than $82 million.

What that means is if something else of significance comes up before the end of the year, reaching $100 million is not out of the realm of possibility.

“Reaching $100 million would be amazing and far surpass any expectation by myself, City Council, the City Manager and so many others,” said Kerr. “It’s a very slim chance, but to know it’s September and we actually have a chance at all is impressive.”

Kerr said even without the recreation complex, it would still have been a banner year.

“With all the activity and construction we had last year, I thought our numbers would definitely be lower this year because we had so much come in last year,” said Kerr. “It still would have been a decent year, but it’s proven to be so much better than anticipated and we’re hoping for more.”