Fairfield new business starts nearly doubled in 2022

FAIRFIELD — The number of businesses opened in Fairfield has more than doubled last year compared to 2021, and officials say business and development are on track.

The town welcomed 75 new physical stores, including Isla & Co., Sally’s Apizza, Trek Bicycle, Evolution Gaming and Ryoma Coffee World, said First Select Woman Brenda Kupchick in a newsletter.

“Behind the scenes, the collaborative and productive work of the Permits Department to assist businesses throughout the process sends the message that Fairfield welcomes new businesses to our community,” she said. “The success of our local businesses is the success of Fairfield, and as a town, we strive to support these efforts wherever we can.”

In his end-2021 newsletter, Kupchick said more than 40 businesses opened in town that year. This includes Aldi’s and Floor & Décor, which has opened at the former Cole location.

Mark Barnhart, director of the Fairfield Office of Community and Economic Development, said the town has a number of factors, including the availability of skilled labor, transportation infrastructure, and quality of life, that companies should consider when deciding where to locate their business. said that it has all the important criteria that it seeks.

“This sums up what Fairfield has to offer,” he said. “Our local economic fundamentals are very healthy.”

A number of large-scale developments have been completed in the town in the last year, and many more are either approved or underway.

At a recent Finance Committee meeting, Bernhardt said Fairfield has a high-income population, strong financial controls and stable tax rates. That aside, the town is not an island and, like the rest of the country and the world, is experiencing headwinds, he said.

“It’s good that the unemployment rate is at or near record lows,” he said. “But it also shows that the labor market is tight. We are talking to a lot of companies here and elsewhere. They’re also… dealing with supply chain disruptions… Overall prices are still much higher than they were a year or two ago. It’s happening.”

Barnhart said office vacancy rates are trending in the right direction, adding that Fairfield has the lowest levels in the region. He said 2022 has gone really well for the town in terms of construction activity.

“When you drive around town, you see construction going on,” he said. “The clinic building under construction across from the Hotel Hi-Ho, his new three-story mixed-use building for downtown law offices, an animal hospital, Greenfield Hill Animal Hospital, has been finally approved.”

Barnhart noted that only 4.5% of Fairfield’s land is zoned for commercial or industrial use, but says it’s highly productive, accounting for more than 12% of the grand list.

“This shows that we don’t have much, so obviously what we have to work with has to be used efficiently and effectively.

Kupchick touted the groundbreaking of the Fairfield Metro crossing, which had been dormant for years, last fall as a major development win for the town. She said the completed project includes a hotel, 70,000 square feet of commercial office space, 40,000 square feet of retail space, and 357 new residential units, of which she says 20% qualify as affordable housing. said.

“This project, upon full construction, is expected to generate over $4 million in net new tax dollars annually, which will be a significant boost to our community’s tax base and economic development.” she said.

Construction has begun on one of the residential buildings on the site, Barnhart said. This is the largest land available for development in the town.

Some of the larger multifamily and mixed-use developments contribute significantly to the town’s grand list on a yield-per-acre basis, Barnhart said. He said that Exide Battery’s old site was bought by him in 2020 for $4.5 million and that developers are working on plans for the location, though officials aren’t impressed with the original plans. I added that I didn’t.

“We said, ‘You don’t really use this site,'” he said. “Previous discussions say there aren’t many of these sites. They should be used wisely.”

Barnhart said he remains optimistic about where Fairfield is headed in terms of economic development, adding that trends tend to be peaks and valleys. He said he believes some of that will slow down due to rising interest rates and the cost of materials.

“I think what’s in Hopper now will move on,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of bullish stuff here. It goes back to the fundamentals. The underlying fundamentals are very strong for Fairfield. We don’t. What we can control is our own land use and permitting process.”


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