MEMBER BLOG: August 15, 2022
Bridgeport Boatworks and RCI officials are thrilled. And why not? The addition of a major international ferry company coming to Bridgeport has serious positive ramifications. The agreement with Hornblower Group provides new opportunities for the community.
The Hornblower Group is the world’s leading provider of water-based experiences with headquarters in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and London. Hornblower also operates the official ferry boat service to Alcatraz Island, the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Memorial Museum on behalf of the National Park Service as well as Hornblower Niagara Cruises on behalf of the Niagara Parks Commission.
So, it is quite the coup for Bridgeport Boatworks to have drawn this international company for a vessel maintenance, upgrade, and retrofit to the Boatworks facility in Bridgeport Harbor. It has already brought new jobs and has advanced Boatworks as an important hub for regional maritime services.
Hornblower expects to create 45-60 employment positions at the facility while Boatworks anticipates 20 new employees will be recruited as the facility becomes a more robust regional hub for industrial maritime needs. Boatworks plans to invest $8 million to improve and expand the facility’s infrastructure. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said, “It is great that new, value-added jobs are coming to Bridgeport, and that Connecticut is advancing as a regional maritime hub for industry.”
Hornblower Chief Operating Officer of Ferry and Transportation Services, Scott Thornton stated, “We are pleased to bring our expansive, industry-leading fleet from the East Coast and eventually the Midwest for service and maintenance to this new port facility, Bridgeport Boatworks. We look forward to partnering with the City of Bridgeport to establish and build upon its reputation as a global maritime hub.”
Harry Boardsen, Owner of Bridgeport Boatworks, stated, “We look forward to Hornblower as a tenant who will help advance the Boatworks’ prospects as a preeminent regional maritime facility.”
The commercial and retail industry on Seaview Avenue, which now includes North Sails, the world’s largest and finest sail maker, perfectly complements the Bridgeport Harbor Marina on Steelpointe, in particular with Bass Pro Shops a retailer of boats and boating and fishing supplies among other products. In fact, the Bridgeport Harbor with a new fuel dock, a Bloom oyster fishing company, Bridgeport Port Jefferson Ferry, and other nearby retailers, and entertainment and recreational facilities have created a synergy of activities and venues that expects to make the city into a visitor hub as the pandemic wanes.
Harry Boardsen of Boatworks said recently that, “As soon as I signed the lease with Bobby (Christoph, Jr.), I called Hornblower knowing we could be their consolidated service center. Now we foresee further development and expansion with new bulkhead work and docks. We got a lot more to go in business and job growth. This location has more capacity for new equipment and services and we will be expanding.”
What’s important to note is that the recent Hornblower announcement will soon be followed by more news for Bridgeport Harbor and its developers. All of that expects to serve as a stimulus for future water related growth around the harbor and adjacent neighborhoods.
Content Provided by Frank Borres, American View Productions