According to Tony Bialecki, deputy director for the city'seconomic development department, the city would prefer to have amixed-use development built there with significant density in orderto generate tax revenue and jobs for New Haven residents. Atpresent the site is being leased out by the city as a parkinglot.

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The New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which was built in1972, was demolished by implosion on Jan. 20, 2007. The city,according to the RFQ, will consider a master developer or multipledevelopers for the project. A key component of the redevelopmentproject will be the inclusion of a new home for the famed LongWharf Theatre on a portion of the parcel. The new Long WharfTheatre is part of the ongoing Gateway Development Project, a$256-million initiative that also includes relocating GatewayCommunity College to the downtown district as well as thedevelopment of housing and retail. The state of Connecticut hascommitted a total of $30 million in bond financing for theestimated $50-million Long Wharf project.

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The city states in its RFQ that the "the city has a stronginterest in mixed-use development, which will be highlighted byLong Wharf Theatre's future presence on the site andpedestrian-friendly retail uses on the street level as well asother retail and office uses. The city also has an interest inarchitecture and buildings that reflect the scale of adjacent uses,use the site's surrounding assets, and develop an active, varied,and interesting 'street wall' facade along George, South Orange andState streets."

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The project site is adjacent to the Knights of Columbusheadquarters building. Bialecki says that the city is innegotiations to sell the Knights of Columbus, which employs 700workers in the city, a one-half acre parcel near the project site.The organization, which operates a major insurance company thatposted more than $6.5 billion in sales in 2007, also has the rightof first refusal on another nearby 1.5-acre parcel. The formercoliseum property is located in the city's Ninth Square Districtnear I-95, I-91 and the Union Station.

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Bialecki says that after April 1, it is likely the city wouldform an ad-hoc committee to review the submissions and then make arecommendation to Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and the Board ofAldermen within the next two to three months.

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John Jordan

John Jordan is a veteran journalist with 36 years of print and digital media experience.