Sacred Heart U. buys Fitness 4000, skips Stop & Shop, doesn’t want Testo’s

Officials from Sacred Heart University attended the community meeting Mayor Bill Finch held Thursday night in Bridgeport’s North End.

The campus is located along Park Avenue just over the border in Fairfield.

North End residents are frequently concerned about the school expanding, building off-campus dorms and more students moving into the residential neighborhood, causing a ruckus.

No, said Michael Kinney, vice president for finance and administration, the university has no interest in purchasing Testo’s, the just-rezoned Italian restaurant owned and operated by Bridgeport Democratic Chairman Mario Testa.

“I’ve never had any discussions with anyone over there,” Kinney said. “We absolutely have no interest in the property over there.”

Yes, they were approached by a broker who was wondering if the school might be interested in the shuttered Stop & Shop, just a few blocks up Madison Avenue from Testo’s. Sacred Heart approached the Finch administration and, according Kinney, the city asked them not to pursue the Stop & Shop (which, according to the city, remains on the market with no takers).

However Sacred Heart has acquired Fitness 4000 at 4000 Park Avenue. The university’s board will be meeting to discuss what to do with the gym building Friday, and then hosting a forum in the North End on Oct. 10 to outline any ideas with the community.

“We’ll lay out all of our plans for you,” Kinney said.

In a brief interview afterward Kinney said Fitness 4000 will remain open for a little while. How long is uncertain.

Sacred Heart University and Bridgeport officials recently launched a new initiative to improve the relationship between the student body and North End residents.



Brian Lockhart