Gray Area

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P hotographing a tall glass building from below on a cloudy, rainy day is like shooting in black and white, only in color. Overcast sky reflected in clear glass converts the affected areas to a practical sort of grayscale.

The new, shiny commercial building at 100 College Street, the newest and shiniest structure to come from the city’s long-simmering, incrementally progressing “Downtown Crossing” redevelopment efforts, is an especially good rainy-day subject, of both photography and contemplation. On such days, the $100 million building’s decisive angles and shades of gray are exquisite to look at. Maybe they also register as metaphors for the certainties and uncertainties attending the project.

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Knights of Columbus Museum

One hope is that the new building will help reconnect downtown and The Hill, by stitching a wound created 60 years ago under a different grand vision for the city. Another is that the building’s primary incoming tenant, Alexion Pharmaceuticals—a New Haven-founded company that’s boomeranging back after a move to Cheshire, and that’s built a $30+ billion market cap atop a strategy of treating very rare diseases—will generate substantial job growth and other economic benefits for the city. A related hope is that the $51 million in grants, forgivable loans and tax incentives the state offered Alexion to incentivize the move will prove a savvy investment.

Hope, of course, is a bit of a gray area.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims.

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories, helped in no small part by a small team of dedicated contributors.

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