Branford, CT The Connecticut/Western Massachusetts chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) hosted its summer meeting event at Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club. As a long-time member of Pine Orchard, Diane Petra, SIOR, hosted 22 members, guests, and sponsors to the club. Overlooking the facility’s marina with the Thimble Islands situated just off-shore, all in attendance enjoyed a relaxed nautical setting for a regular business meeting, a networking session, and dinner.
Chris Metcalfe, SIOR was recognized as the chapter’s newest member, having just earned the SIOR designation as an industrial specialist. Although not in attendance, Pat Wellspeak and his firm Wellspeak Dugas & Kane, LLC, were also recognized for earning associate member status of SIOR.
Rich Jankovich, assistant rail administrator from Connecticut’s DOT provided an interesting and informative presentation on the growing passenger and existing freight rail systems within the state. Jankovich covered a variety of topics from Metro North to an overview of the first year of CT Rail’s Hartford Line, to Shoreline East, and freight service. The state’s investment in its rail systems, particularly CT Rail over the past year plus, has been significant and not without controversy. However, if the state’s goal is to increase ridership and decrease commuters on the highways, it appears the initiatives have been a success. The number of riders on all state commuter systems is up, and for Memorial Day weekend CT Rail added additional cars accommodating record ridership on the Hartford line. Projections are showing this trend will continue, with additional station stops being planned and mixed-use real estate developments in the works at several existing stops including Meriden, Berlin, and Old Saybrook. If Governor Lamont’s ambitious 30/30/30 goal is to be realized for the state’s commuter rail systems, additional significant investments in rail infrastructure and equipment will be required in the coming years.