Even though the news about the residential market is slowing, the commercial- and retail markets are still growing. Two of the most important casinos in the world are located in Eastern Connecticut. The region has seen a steady increase in population due to the expansion of nearby businesses and casinos. Major developments from Norwich North to Route 32 and Route 395 have either been announced or are in the process of construction. There are still many opportunities in the area and there are potential sites for development that will allow the area’s future growth.
Casinos contiue to Expand
The expansion of areas around the casinos continues. Both casinos have begun major expansion plans that will double their gaming space and expand hotel and entertainment spaces. Foxwoods Resort Casino currently has 826 hotel rooms, a 50,000 square foot ballroom and 4000 seat performing art center. The Mohegan Sun casino plans to add 1,000 hotel rooms as well as 115,000 square feet retail and restaurant space. Each year, approximately 25 million people visit the area’s casinos.
Utopia is not yet dead
Utopia Studios may still exist as of this writing. The 400-acre site of the former Norwich Hospital, located across the river from Mohegan Sun Casino. The $1.6 billion project will include a movie studio, entertainment center, and a theme park. It would create 22,000 jobs and bring additional ten millions visitors annually. Even if Utopia fails, there are major developers interested in the property. This will allow the market to grow.
Liberty Crossings, a 800,000.sqft shopping center is located in Stonington. Lowes Homes Improvement, Target anchor the center. It also includes a 330,000-person pedestrian village. The Byron Brook Country Club in Occum, a $200 million community of golf is currently under construction. The Pequots Tribe Lake of Isle Golf Course is now open.
Northeastern Connecticut has large tracts of land close to major commuter routes, which is a departure from other parts of the State. Developers have discovered towns that are open to residential and commercial growth. People are drawn to affordable housing in residential developments from the more expensive areas of Connecticut and Rhode Island. The best part about living in rural Connecticut is that it’s easy to access Route 84, 395, and 32 Eastern Connecticut. This allows homeowners to enjoy the best of both worlds: affordable rural living with a short commute to work. It is less than two hours to New York and Boston and 45 minutes to Providence or Worcester. This area is well-served by rail, making it an ideal place to base companies that require efficient distribution systems online casino.
North on Route 32
Route 32 runs North to South through Eastern Connecticut, from New London to the Massachusettes Border. Mohegan Sun, Norwich and Franklin Route 32 lead to Windham or Willimantic. This route is a popular commuter route for local workers and a tourist route between casinos and Western Massachusettes. Franklin is located just over the border from Norwich and has large parcels available on Route 32. With an average daily traffic count of 20,000 cars per day, the area is a hot spot for futute development. Windham and Willimantic continue to grow thanks to excellent demographics and the rebirth and revitalization of Main Street and Eastern Connecticut State University. Windham’s retail market, located off Route 6, is home to Sears, Walmart, and other national retailers. It continues to attract more national retailers.
North on Route 395
Many national businesses are expanding their residential markets and they love the idea of people traveling north from the casinos along Route 395. Lisbon Landing has been a successful retail center. Plainfield and Sterling, further north on Route 395, are ready for the next growth spurt. Ceruzzi Holdings has acquired the Plainfield Dog Track. The River Front Commons project and Tractor Supply are two other developments on Route 395 in Putnam.
Many homeowners and renters have moved north due to the lack of affordable housing near casinos. This area is home to large tracts of land and many supportive towns, so it’s no surprise that future development will be in this region. Northeastern Connecticut’s future growth will be a benefit as Eastern Connecticut continues to grow and evolve.