Places all over the country are experiencing rapid gentrification. Once this dynamic takes hold and picks up speed it is very hard to reverse.
New London, CT is a small shoreline city two hours in between Boston and NY currently on track to follow this trajectory.
It has soft market with speculation beginning to pick up. Property is surprisingly cheap for being directly on the water (median home price is $158,000) and developers are starting to buy. New London is the region’s transportation hub with rail, ferry, and interstate transit with over 1M people passing through each summer. It has 4 higher educational institutions and great quality of life in many respects.
It is starting to see more people relocate from Boston and NY. The major employer, Electric Boat which builds submarines, is forecasting over 10,000 new hires in the next 5-10 years.
The potential for gentrification is a perfect storm.
RD86 is social enterprise trying to catalyze a different type of development. We start and run destination foodservice and hospitality operations that pull more people in to strengthen the market and enhance the scene.
Our biggest contribution is creating opportunity for people. We do this in two ways. First, through employment. Working at RD86 is an applied learning opportunity with active mentorship to support workers to develop skills, work ethic, and an entrepreneurial mindset.
Second, we support food entrepreneurs to prototype their business concepts to get data before going to market. We share space and expertise through pop-ups, food halls, and guest chef nights so that people can figure out what works (and doesn’t) before taking a massive risk that too often results in failure. We want to change this.
Our first phase of work is complete with a destination restaurant and event space in the center of downtown called RD86 Space. In 2018 we grossed over $300,000 and currently employ 14 people. Check out the 5 star reviews on yelp and a sampling of customer feedback cards. This year we forecast revenues of at least $750,000.
Our second phase of work is beginning - developing a mid-size event venue next door that features a rooftop bar, live recording studio, and two stages for performances, rentals, and business prototyping.
The City of New London and the state of Connecticut have each provided grant support to make RD86 happen. We are looking for values-aligned partners to grow this work as a living case study for place-based regeneration without gentrification.
Set up a call or email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire further.