The primary goal of the Office of Economic Development is to retain and attract businesses, and the jobs they provide, to the city. Other priorities include downtown revitalization, facilitating public-private partnerships, workforce development, infrastructure and ensuring municipal capacity to support sustained long-term economic growth.
OED is the initial point of contact for businesses into City Hall. In certain cases, tax incentives and expedited permitting processes are available. It also delivers support services designed to stimulate business and community development, and leads the city’s marketing efforts, communicating the message that Danbury is a premier place to live, work, and raise a family.
Danbury continues to lead the state in most vital economic statistics including unemployment rate, jobs created and retained, and retail sales tax revenue. Contributing factors include a diverse industry base, a highly skilled workforce and a pro-business city government.
OED was actively involved for the past 4 years with representatives from the public and private sectors in the 10-town greater Danbury region to develop a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS.) A CEDS is critical for the region because it will help the towns and their businesses to compete more effectively, and create more opportunities for federal funding grants for infrastructure and other projects that are increasingly dependent on having a CEDS. The document was completed and published in December 2013.
As in the past, OED was again involved with the Executive Committee of the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board (NWRIB), acquiring much needed funding for employee training for many Danbury businesses.
OED is also actively involved in the Danbury Main Street Partnership, established in 2012 and chaired by the Mayor. The Partnership is charged with downtown revitalization efforts. It has already driven the implementation of most of the recommendations of the 2010 Main Street Renaissance Task Force report.
Other important partnerships include CityCenter Danbury and the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce.
In the past year, OED was involved, in various degrees, in a number of important initiatives. Ongoing projects (with scheduled dates) include:
- Western Connecticut Health Network. $150 million New Patient Tower/ER (Opened June 2014.)
- Western Connecticut State University. $97 million Visual and Performing Arts Center (Opening September 2014.)
- Belimo Air Controls. $40 million U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility (Opening Fall 2014.)
Significant new developments include:
- Cartus. The City’s largest enterprise employer announced a $15.4 million headquarters expansion and lease renewal in April that will keep the company in Danbury another 15 years.
- Kennedy Place. Greystar, a national developer, plans to invest $75 million to build a 375 unit market-rate apartment complex in downtown Danbury. Construction is expected to begin in October 2014 and last two years.
- MannKind. After a multi-year process, the company’s inhaled insulin product AFREZZA was approved by the FDA. It could result in hundreds of new manufacturing jobs for the City.
- Acquisitons/Expansions. Several companies moved to Danbury or announced expansions, including: Addivant, ECAC, Lenovo, Macromark and Navigators Financial.
- Danbury Innovation Center. Opened in May at the Danbury Library. Tenants include the Danbury Hackerspace, SCORE of Western Connecticut and an internet café.