Even as news of the residential market continues to soften, the commercial and retail markets continue to expand. Eastern Connecticut is home to two of the largest casinos in the World. The continued expansion of the casinos and neighboring businesses created a population and economic expansion in the region. From Norwich North up Route 32 and Route 395 major developments have been announced or have already started construction. The area still has a lot of opportunities and potential development sites available which will allow the area to have a robust future expansion.
Casinos contiue to Expand
Areas around the casinos continue to expand. Both casinos have announced and started major expansion plans which will more than double both of their gaming spaces, as well as continued expansion of hotel and entertainment space. Foxwoods Resort Casino is currently constructing an additional 826 hotels rooms, 50,000 square foot ball room, and 4000 seat performing arts center, The Mohegan Sun Casino has announced plans to build an additional 1,000 hotel rooms and 115,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Both casinos draw approximately 25 million people to area annually.
Utopia not dead yet
As of this writting there may still be hope for Utopia Studios. Planned for the 400 acre former Norwich Hospital site, across the river from the Mohegan Sun Casino. The $1.6 Billion project consist of a theme park, movie studio and entertainment center. The project would created an estimated 22,000 new jobs and attract an additional ten million visitors to the area annually. Even if the Utopia deals fails, major developers are interested in this property which will continue to support the expansion of the Norwich market.
Nearby in Stonington is Liberty Crossings a 800,000 sqft retail center. Anchored by Lowes Homes Improvement and Target and including a 330,000 pedestrian village. Byron Brook Country club in Occum a $200 million golf community is under construction. The Pequots Tribe Lake of Isle golf course is already open.
Unlike most parts of the State, Northeastern Connecticut still has large parcels of land in close proximity to major commuter routes. Developers have found towns receptive to commercial and residential growth. Residential developments have attracted people to more affordable housing from more costly metro areas in Connecticut, and over the border in Rhode Island and Massachusettes. With easy access to Route 84, 395 and 32 Eastern Connecticut allows homeowners the best of both worlds, affordable rural living, with any easy commute to work. With less than a two hour drive to New York or Boston, and only 45 minutes to Providence and Worcester. The area is well serviced by rail making the area an excellent home for companies requiring efficient distribution systems.