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West Haven community frustrated after mall project hits another setback

WEST HAVEN -- West Haven  community members are speaking out after another setback involving a highly anticipated waterfront mall.

Developers have been working on a project that would turn dozens of vacant properties into a waterfront luxury mall. The project has been in the works for almost 5 years.

On Friday, one of the properties went up in flames. Fire crews believe arson might have been the cause.

“I looked out my window and I could see all the flames above that other house there,” says Roberta Kinsella, a West Haven resident who lives close o where the fire happened.

Councilman Aaron Charney says this fire could have been prevented  if the properties were secured, and if this project hadn’t stalled for years.

“We expected something like that was going to happen…that’s the sad part about this. There has been squatters living in some of these buildings you can tell the window is open and the shut,” says Councilman Charney.

Neighbors tell FOX 61 at times they feel unsafe and the boarded properties are an eyesore in the community. Melina Togridas lives close to the site and says she doesn’t see much progress on the project.

“We haven’t seen anything to show that they are staring to knock down any of the houses or start any building,” says Melina Togridas, a resident in New Haven.

Matt Armstrong from Haven Group LLC says they take safety and security very seriously and released this statement:

“We will cooperate with the City of West Haven throughout the weekend and on Monday to get the site safe and secure. Standard Builders, at the expense of the Haven Group, is out in the field with their professional carpenters, securing the remaining houses to a higher standard. We continue to stay on top of the situation.” -Matt Armstrong, Haven Group LLC

Councilman Charney says he plans on introducing a resolution this week that will put pressure on the developer.

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