Relocation Of UHC Starts New Year With A Bang

The Bridgeport News

by Jeff Toquinto, News  Editor

BRIDGEPORT (Thursday, January 6, 2002)

Talk about good news for a new year.

For Bridgeport, there’s a million reasons 2002 has begun with a bang. Actually, there’s 190 million reasons.

Thanks to United Hospital Center’s announcement on December 26 of last year that it will be building a new UHC on property located within the city limits. Bridgeport’s populace will be closer than ever to a state-of-the-art medical facility. While that in and of itself is worthy of a bright forecast for area residents, the news also has huge economic ramifications.

The construction of the hospital, estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $190 million, will likely provide a one-time business and occupation tax bonanza for Bridgeport. While it’s almost a certainty the UHC project will qualify for many of the city’s economic grants and incentives and some of the money will likely be steered toward infrastructure, it’s safe to say hundreds of thousands, if not more than a million, dollars will result from the building of the medical campus.

Money will come from other sources as well. If standard building permit fees are used, the cost for a permit on a $190 million project would be $1 million. Considering the city takes in between $60,000 and $80,000 a year in building permit fees, it’s easy to see the magnitude of this project.

Again, there’s a good chance good portions of that fee will be diverted into infrastructure or incentives to the new hospital.

Even with the possibility a large portion of the funds will go into development of the site, there are tremendous long-term tax benefits While the hospital itself will be a tax-exempt entity once built, the vendors serving the hospital won’t be tax-exempt.

In fact, the medical campus that will house various doctor’s offices on the site near Jerry Dove Drive and other facilities that will likely spring up throughout Bridgeport will pay taxes. That figure could very well be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Another group that figures to benefit from the project will be the area’s work force and businesses. Despite the probability large contractors from outside the area will be brought in to do sizable portions of the work, many local contractors will serve as primary and sub-contractors for some of the construction.

As you can imagine, the economic spinoff from this will be difficult to accurately forecast. All we can tell you is that is that it will be impressive.

For the city, the imperative task will be to facilitate the project in a manner that will most easily allow for other development around the hospital and at the nearby Charles Pointe Development. The city will also have to wisely plan ways to best invest or spend some of the tax dollars it will harvest from this massive growth along it northern border.

Considering the bad news as a result of the ongoing recession and the subsequent lull in retail sales, the upcoming influx of dollars – whether they’re realized this year or next – is indeed good news.