Holt, Wexler & Farnam, LLP

Holt, Wexler & Farnam, LLP was for four decades a go-to consulting firm in New Haven and Connecticut for a wide range of services in the areas of community and economic development, community planning, human services, strategic planning, program evaluation, and feasibility assessment.   

Philetus H. Holt and Harry Wexler founded the firm in 1968 as Cogen, Holt & Associates with partner Joel Cogen.  One of their main clients was the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM).  When Joel Cogen left to begin his nearly 40 year term heading CCM in the early 1970's, the firm was renamed Holt, Wexler & Associates.  Over the years, Holt and Wexler added John Crawford to the name when he was a partner and then Kathy Merchant when she became a partner in the late 1980's.   

Jim Farnam left his job as Director of Downtown and Harbor Development for the City of New Haven in 1989 to join the firm which briefly became Holt, Wexler, Merchant & Farnam before Kathy Merchant left in 1996 when it settled on the name it used until its end  -- Holt, Wexler & Farnam, LLP. Mark Nickel became a partner in the firm in about 1998 and then Managing Partner from about 2003 until the firm split up in October 2010.  At that time, Jim Farnam formed Farnam Associates, LLC and partners Mark Nickel and Matt Welxer formed Cross Sector Consulting

Many people passed through Holt, Wexler over the years -- a sampling are listed here.

Holt, Wexler became a "nodal point" in the New Haven community with deep relationships to the nonprofit community, City government, the business community, the philanthropic community, and Yale University. The firm was regularly tapped to facilitate community planning process both large and small.   A sampling included:

  • For many years, Phil and Harry served as development consultants to the Stamford CT Redevelopment Commission on many of their downtown projects. 

  • The firm managed the "Goals for New Haven" Visioning Process that occurred during the Mayoralty of Frank Logue in the late 1970's.

  • From 1981-1988, Phil and Harry served as primary development consultants to  the DiLieto administration and its Office of Downtown and Harbor Development, playing a critical role in a range of development projects including the College Street redevelopment by Schiavone, the Shubert Theater, the Taft Apartments, the Chapel Square Mall purchase and renovation by the Rouse Company, the Government Center project with David Chase, the Maritime Center project with Fusco Corporation, Whitney Grove Square, Audubon Court, a Center Court, the Chapel-York Garage, and many others. 

  • HWF facilitated many cross-sector planning projects from 1992 until its closing in 2010.  These included the Fighting Back initiative reboot (1992), the New Haven Enterprise Community plan (1994), the Safe Schools / Health Students initiative (1998),  and the New Haven Empowerment Zone (1998),  and the New Haven Plan to End Chronic Homelessness (2009).  

Harry Wexler and Phil Holt, circa 1975

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