A rendering of ESPN’s Digital Center 2
ESPN starts building new home for SportsCenter
The state of Connecticut is loaning sports giant ESPN $17.5 million to construct a 193,000-square-foot production facility on the company’s Bristol campus.
Ground broke on the so-called Digital Center 2, the future home of SportsCenter broadcasts, early last month. The facility is expected to open in 2014. When complete, it will be the largest of the company’s 19 Bristol buildings, according to the New London Day.
In total, the state will invest up to $25 million in ESPN, with additional funding going toward job training and tax exemptions to help with the purchase of equipment and construction materials.
ESPN is the third company in Connecticut to benefit from Governor Dannel Malloy’s “First Five” program, which offers tax credits and loans to the first five businesses in the state to promise to create at least 200 jobs. Health insurer Cigna and the online ticket exchange TicketNetwork were the first two recipients.
White Plains breaks ground on hotel complex
A building on Main Street in White Plains that’s been vacant for 12 years will soon be demolished to make way for a larger commercial complex, the Journal News reported.
A ceremonial groundbreaking took place in late July for the Metropolitan Plaza, a $20 million retail and hotel complex. The retail space is expected to open by the end of next year. Developers then hope to begin on construction of the hotel.
“It’s very satisfying, finally, to see that another new building could be added to the downtown,” developer A.J. Rotonde told the Journal News. “I think we finally now can join the renaissance that started over 10 years ago in White Plains.”
The current building at 250-270 Main Street, a former A&P, will soon be demolished and replaced by a Chipotle, Planet Fitness and other retailers, as well as a 130-room hotel operated by Meyer Jabara Hotels.
The project is expected to create around 100 construction jobs and 100 permanent hotel and retail jobs.
Home vacancies spike
Four percent of homes on Long Island are now vacant, according to 2010 Census data.
Census officials found 39,348 vacancies in nonseasonal houses and apartments on Long Island last year — or 4 percent of the total number of homes. That compared to 22,352, or 2 percent of the housing stock, in 2000. The Census defines an occupied home as any place where a person lives and sleeps “most of the time.”
Foreclosure and housing experts say the spike in vacant homes is a result of the recession and mortgage meltdown, according to Newsday. As people fled in search of cheaper housing options, the number of vacant homes rose while poor credit limited the pool of buyers.
From 2008 to 2010, lenders took back 3,467 Long Island homes, more than triple the amount between 2005 and 2007.
Long Island has around 1 million year-round housing units, and vacancies have increased in 91 percent of communities since 2000. Across the state, the overall residential vacancy rate was 6.2 percent, an increase from 5.2 percent a decade ago.
Compiled by Russell Steinberg