Bringing Back Downtown West

With critical financial support from the Leviticus Fund, Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust (BNT) is taking another important step forward in its long-term strategy to revive the Downtown West neighborhood of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Leviticus provided a $340,000 bridge loan that is enabling BNT to complete the construction of West Liberty Commons, a three-story, townhouse-style affordable housing project in Downtown West. The property is being developed on a formerly vacant lot located in a census tract with a poverty rate of 35%.

All 18 units in West Liberty Commons will be reserved for lower-income tenants. Four units will be restricted to households earning at or below 25% of the area median income, or roughly $30,000 in annual income. BNT will work with Operation Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating hunger and homelessness, to identify renters for these units. Of the 14 remaining units, seven will be offered to those earning at or below 50% AMI and seven for those at or below 80% AMI.

In addition to providing much-needed affordable housing, the $5 million West Liberty Commons project will create 25 construction jobs and three permanent jobs. More than $1 million of the project’s construction contract is set aside for small, minority-owned contractors from the local community.

Established in 1986, BNT works to end housing insecurity, income inequality, and homelessness by creating safe, affordable housing and providing comprehensive financial counseling services. West Liberty Commons is just the most recent project in the nonprofit’s efforts to expand downtown Bridgeport and reconnect it to the adjacent West Side and South End neighborhoods. BNT’s previous developments in Downtown West include the Westgate Apartments, a five-story, 61,000-square-foot building that provides 48 affordable apartments and two commercial spaces.

The West Liberty Commons project broke ground in September 2019 and is expected to be completed in late 2020. The loan is the first that Leviticus Fund has provided to BNT.