Source: Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust
Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust (BNT) was incorporated in 1986. Over the past eight years, BNT has developed of over 100 new scattered site affordable units (61 are under management). These apartments are home to more than 150 individuals and children. Currently it has an additional 30 apartments in construction and another 100+ units in its pipeline. BNT has created 800 lead-safe apartments and helped 475 families achieve homeownership during this same time period. All of BNT services benefit low income families.
Earlier this month, city officials, real estate professionals, lenders and local dignitaries joined Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust (BNT) for a special tour through BNT’s housing developments and neighborhood revitalization efforts underway in Bridgeport.
Sponsored by Citi Community Development, the bus took the group through the neighborhood initiatives in South End, East End and Downtown where BNT is making a difference, transforming vacant lots into affordable housing and food deserts into sustainable communities.
BNT Executive Director Elizabeth Torres hosted the excursion, highlighting their block by block community building initiatives showcasing BNTs properties in various stages: acquisition, development, rehabilitation and occupation.
Starting on State Street, the bus travelled to the South End, a “tipping point” neighborhood featuring the two crown jewels of Bridgeport, Seaside Park and the University of Bridgeport, and adjacent to Webster Arena and the Ballpark at Harbor Yard.
Stopping off at Park Terrace and Columbia Court, Torres spoke about the existing BNT properties and some key features of the properties designed to encourage community building, including a marked effort to not include fences between the lawns and decorative lamps providing both security and a warm, welcoming environment.
The tour featured Phase II of the South End Community Initiative, 9 units being renovated on Gregory Street and Columbia Court. These 2, 4 and 6 family homes are suited for community needs and fit for the stabilization rental market. Also targeted for acquisition is the 9 block area behind Marina Village, ten properties that BNT is planning to develop into 32 apartments.
Next, the bus passed through sites on Johnson Street, Ridge Avenue and on University of Bridgeport that BNT is working to acquire, rehab and develop. Featured on the corner of Lafayette and Atlantic Streets are 2 BNT 6 unit buildings for sale.
While traveling from the South End to the East End, Bridgeport Director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development, David Kooris information about city projects, including Bridgeport Landing Development’s plans to break ground next month on the Bass Pro Shop, the first retail store on Steelpointe Harbor.
In the East End, the bus visited 1755 Stratford Avenue, a 2-family house that BNT owns and manages, made possible though Community Capital Fund. In a special announcement, Torres mentioned that BNT secured funding for 1803 Stratford Ave. Turning onto Bishop Avenue, Torres announced the upcoming acquisition of another building from American Tax Funding.
The last portion of the trip took the riders to Downtown Bridgeport, with an eye toward the future, with a vision of constructing a 5-story mix-use development, with office and retail space and 64 housing units. BNT is collaborating with the City to bring 600 units of housing to Downtown, developing a whole new neighborhood.