The New Haven skyline. (Courtesy Photo / Public Domain / Charles Barneby)

Joel Schiavone, the real estate developer who laid the groundwork for New Haven’s downtown revival, has died at 87.

The New Haven Independent, citing Schiavone’s partner, said the cause was pneumonia.

Schiavone’s investments in the blocks around Chapel, Crown and College streets starting in the 1980s helped turn what had been a neighborhood scarred by car-oriented urban renewal into a lively shopping, dining and entertainment district.

These investments, in combination with growth in the city’s “eds and meds” economy based on Yale University and Yale New Haven Medical Center, set the stage for the city’s multifamily and life science development boom of recent years.

The Independent’s obituary details the developer’s career, including unsuccessful runs for mayor and work to redefine the city’s economic strategy.