Start of Redevelopment at the Swift Factory Celebrated at Community Groundbreaking Event
Renovation of historic site aims to create jobs and improve access to locally produced food
September 10, 2018
HARTFORD, CONN. (September 10, 2018) Senator Richard Blumenthal, Representative John B. Larson, and Mayor Luke Bronin joined Community Solutions and residents of North Hartford in breaking ground on the redevelopment of the Swift Factory on Saturday. The historic site will become a food business hub expected to bring more than 150 long-term jobs to the North Hartford Promise Zone. The site was donated to national nonprofit Community Solutions by the Swift family, which operated a prominent gold leaf manufacturing business at the site for more than 100 years. The factory and surrounding campus, vacant since 2005, will be transformed into an economic engine for job creation and health promotion centered on food growing, production, distribution, and education.
The $33 million project involves an innovative blend of public and private capital enabled by the federal Promise Zone designation and the support of local and national funders.
“We knew it was important to preserve this historic community asset, but it was community residents who made it clear that that the need was to bring good jobs back to the site,” said Community Solutions President Rosanne Haggerty. “Making this happen required extraordinary creativity and collaboration. We are grateful to the local and national investors and partners who shared this vision and worked patiently to make it happen.”
Today we celebrate a new chapter in the rebirth and revitalization of the old Swift Factory—soon to become once again an anchor of jobs, opportunity, and investment in the North End.
— Senator Richard Blumenthal
The Swift Factory restoration plays a pivotal role in the renewal efforts for the North Hartford Promise Zone, an initiative started by President Barack Obama that provides an infusion of federal resources into 22 communities around the country to spur economic opportunity, among other aims. Senators Murphy and Blumenthal and Representative Larson, along with city and community organizations, worked to secure North Hartford’s Promise Zone designation, which was received in 2015.
“Today we celebrate a new chapter in the rebirth and revitalization of the old Swift Factory—soon to become once again an anchor of jobs, opportunity, and investment in the North End,” said Senator Blumenthal. “I was proud to fight for the federal dollars that helped this project become a reality, and I will continue to work closely with community leaders to ensure the Promise Zone designation continues to provide tangible, lasting change for the neighborhood and its residents.”
Senator Chris Murphy, who was not able to attend the groundbreaking celebration, was a champion of this redevelopment project, particularly when it came to designating North Hartford as a Promise Zone.
“For more than a century, the Swift factory was an iconic and important industrial facility in Hartford, and after years of lying vacant, it will soon come back to life as a hub for innovative, food-focused businesses,”
Mayor Luke Bronin.
“Three years ago, I stood outside the Swift Factory celebrating the North Hartford’s Promise Zone designation we had all worked so hard to win. President Obama started the program because he knew it could jumpstart neighborhoods like the North End, and it’s projects like this one that drove me to convene community leaders and civic organizations a few years ago to make it a reality,” said Senator Murphy. “I hope this excites the community and incentivizes a wave of development to create jobs and improve the lives of North End residents.”
“Today is a historic day for the North End of Hartford. Today’s groundbreaking is a step forward for the revitalization of the Historic Swift Factory. Its new role as a hub for food business, health, and jobs will make a huge impact on this community. I would like to congratulate Mayor Bronin and Community Solutions for all their work on this project,” said Representative Larson.
“For more than a century, the Swift factory was an iconic and important industrial facility in Hartford, and after years of lying vacant, it will soon come back to life as a hub for innovative, food-focused businesses,” said Mayor Bronin. “This is a very large project and many partners have worked together over several years to make it possible. I want to thank everyone who is involved, from Community Solutions to our entire congressional delegation to city staff and CRDA staff for their tremendous work and commitment to transforming an eyesore into a new source of energy and employment in the North Hartford Promise Zone.”
The Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, a neighborhood advocacy group, played a critical role in saving the Swift Factory from demolition after years of vacancy and worked in close collaboration with Community Solutions to center the factory’s renewal around residents’ priorities.
“The Northeast Revitalization Association (NERA) supports Community Solutions vision to transform the Swift Factory, which had become a vacant, blighted brownfield site, into a genuine asset in the revitalization of the neighborhood,” said NERA President Darlene Robertson-Childs. “We need projects like this here to spark investment, entrepreneurial activity, and job creation.”
Local restaurant group Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ will be an anchor tenant and will produce their line of sides and sauces onsite. The redeveloped factory will also include a 35,000-square-foot indoor farm run by FreshBox Farms, and a commercial kitchen space and incubator for developing local food businesses. The two historic houses on the property are also being redeveloped for community uses.
The project is funded by a diverse mix of public and private sources, including New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, government grants, economic and community development loans, and philanthropic capital.
Community Solutions (CS) supports local communities in solving urgent, complex social problems where the gaps between high costs and poor results for vulnerable people are the greatest. A national nonprofit organization based in New York City, CS brings together local innovators, committed citizens, government, businesses and nonprofits to design practical, cost-effective solutions that can be implemented, measured and spread quickly
Full List of Project Partners:
· Community Solutions
Tax Credit Equity:
· US Bank
New Markets Tax Credit Allocations:
· National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC)
Community Solutions is a non-profit organization that works to achieve a lasting end to homelessness that leaves no one behind.
Our initiative Built for Zero is a movement of 80+ communities working to measurably end homelessness.