Corporate Location Decisions and the Growth of Mid-Size Cities

New Haven, CT

In New Haven, Connecticut, city and local business leaders have identified NEC rail access as key to the continued growth of the city’s emerging technology and biotech companies.

Jennifer Good, President & CEO and co-founder of Trevi Therapeutics, recently relocated her company from Danbury, Connecticut to New Haven. Her company’s investors are out of Boston, New York, and San Francisco; her corporate board is based in Boston and New York; and her co-founder is in Boston. Her decision to relocate the firm to New Haven was based in large part on transportation issues – the access to Boston is critical for Trevi. She calls Trevi’s relocation a “test case” of New Haven as a business location, and she negotiated a five-year lease with a three-year option to leave. She describes her experience working in New Haven to date as positive. She does wish there was better access to Boston, with better on-time performance and faster service.

Susan Froshauer co-founded the biotech firm Rib-X Pharmaceuticals in New Haven in 2000, and built the company into a 60-person business. Today, she is the CEO and President of Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE), an association of Connecticut-based bioscience companies and professionals. Ms. Froshauer reported that to attract “top-shelf, blue chip” investors to New Haven from New York City it needs to be relatively easy for them to travel between the two cities, so as to not consider the time to travel to New Haven as prohibitive. There is a need for face-to-face interaction between investors and their companies. Ms. Froshauer said that investors want to see the community, they want to understand what the building looks like, and to see how they will travel to it. Meeting times are scheduled around Amtrak’s schedule.

Proximity to rail was also one of the deciding factors for SeeClickFix, a technology start-up with 18 employees based in New Haven, to locate and remain in New Haven. SeeClickFix has created a web tool that allows citizens to report non-emergency neighborhood issues to local government. The ability for many of SeeClickFix’s investors to use Amtrak to travel from New York City to New Haven was a factor in the firm’s decision to continue to grow the business in New Haven. SeeClickFix employees also frequently use Amtrak for business travel to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Boston, and New York MTA’s commuter rail service, Metro-North, for commuting.

New Haven Station
Union Station, New Haven, CT. Source: NEC Commission.

Anything that we can do to encourage investors not to think about New Haven as a barrier to their investment drive would be really fundamental about how we connect this business corridor from Stamford into New Haven, and blow out this opportunity…so this is really important.”

Susan Froshauer, CEO and President, Connecticut United for Research Excellence