For College Towns, Having a World-Famous University Is a Mixed Blessing

October 10, 2018

The sun hadn't yet risen in New Haven one day this summer when a line started forming outside the new L.L. Bean store on Elm Street. People were queuing up to get first crack at the gift certificates advertised as part of a grand opening weekend, a three-day gala with music, food, a block party and a free yoga class.

Yale University is the landlord for the new store, which is the latest addition to the Shops at Yale at Broadway, a 9,000-square-foot retail triangle just a block north of the main campus. The exact university boundary is hard to identify because Yale's presence is stitched throughout New Haven. It comprises not only academic and research buildings and dormitories, but also the hundreds of homes Yale has bought for faculty and staff, and equally important, commercial land holdings valued at more than $100 million. The university has reshaped a city where the Ivy League campus once felt like a world of its own, separate from the factory town where thousands of workers assembled bolt-action rifles.

by J. Brian Charles