Hedge Fund Titan Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates New Massive 850,000-square-foot center on 14-acre peninsula in Stanford stalled.
Ray Dalio’s Brigewater Associates hedge fund is planning a move from its Westport home to an 850,000-square-foot center on a 14-acre peninsula in Stamford. But the Stamford Advocate reports a zoning disagreement over a boatyard between the city and BLT, a local land developer, has hindered negotiations.
Stamford Advocate reports a zoning disagreement over a boatyard between the city and BLT, a local land developer, has hindered negotiations. From the Advocate:
The world’s largest hedge fund is planning a move from its Westport home to an 850,000-square-foot center on a 14-acre peninsula in Stamford.
Yet three months later, the license agreement outlining the conditions of BLT’s use of city property for the boatyard as well as its infrastructure contributions, is yet to be finalized. Without the critical document, neither the new boatyard nor Bridgewater can move forward in the city approval process. As of last week, there was no indication of any progress in the dialogue between the two sides.
The delay has spurred speculation within the city’s development community about Kuehner’s strategy, prompting questions about whether the hedge fund has changed its plans, possibly weighing a new location or perhaps staying put in Westport.
“It’s curious,” said one well-informed observer. Like others, he stressed that any talk was just conjecture and that any changes to the project would likely be a closely guarded secret kept by Kuehner and Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater. But he expressed bewilderment at the sudden loss of momentum for a project attached with significant economic stakes, including as many as 2,000 jobs, more than $16 million in tax and permitting revenue for the city and $50 million in state funding for the city’s long-desired widening of the Atlantic Street underpass.
Even more surprising to some is that the current stalemate is being attributed to Kuehner, who stands to gain a prestigious long-term tenant, state aid, and a commercial redevelopment project on one of the city’s prime waterfront locations. Yet in April, the administration waited three weeks for the developer just to sign off on a basic letter of intent agreement that allowed BLT to incorporate the city’s property into its boatyard plans and submit them for zoning review. Most expected that the license agreement would soon follow.
The long period of inactivity has been a marked contrast to the way in which BLT officials have previously treated the Bridgewater project. Beginning in September, not long after the announcement about the firm’s relocation plans, the company pressured the city’s Zoning Board to review its proposal for a 3.5-acre boatyard in Shippan. Then, following a critical report from an independent boatyard design consultant commissioned by the city, BLT quickly moved to initiate conversations with the administration about using city property to expand its plan to six acres.