In April, CommCap closed another loan in Downtown Bridgeport – $136,000 will finance the fit out of commercial space on Lafayette Boulevard and bring yet another business to the Central Business District.
CommCap has made nearly $10 million in loans to downtown developments, small businesses and nonprofits. In Bridgeport, what started as isolated loans to downtown businesses has turned into a defined CommCap strategy to leverage available funding to have the greatest economic impact. Carolyn Gonzalez, CommCap’s Business Development Officer says, “Our funds must be used to serve the greatest need and have the highest impact.”
From its office at 240 Fairfield Avenue, it is easy to find CommCap’s Downtown Bridgeport investments. The loans started with Downtown Cabaret, Joseph’s Steakhouse, and Murphy’s Law. Nearby restaurants Two Boots, Epernay, Carmelina’s, Ralph ‘n’ Rich’s and Gofer Ice Cream Parlor also represent Commcap’s impact on the neighborhood. Commcap’s support of the fit out of commercial spaces in the Artspace and the Bijou Theatre buildings helped Rainy Faye Bookstore and Antinozzi Architects call the Downtown home.
CommCap has supported the development of downtown housing with loans to properties like the Citytrust, Arcade and Read’s buildings. A loan to John Bellow will transform the Raffel building at the corner of Broad and Fairfield Avenue into Fairfield Avenue Plaza, a mixed-use community asset with new commercial space, renovated storefronts and 12 new affordable apartments.
Economic challenges notwithstanding, CommCap remains focused and optimistic about Downtown and is providing capital, technical assistance and support for the projects, organizations and entrepreneurs investing in Bridgeport’s future.