December 19, 2013
Deal Watch Today

Apt.-needy W. Hartford due 78 more units

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Niko Koutouvides, a former NFL player, is getting into the apartment game.

West Hartford is weighing two new apartment developments – one of which involves a former pro football player's proposal for a tear-down in the town's center – to shore up what town officials say is one of this suburban community's greatest housing needs.

Ex-NFL player Niko Koutouvides and his brother propose converting the vacant house-turned-offices at 24 N. Main St., in the heart of town, into an 18-unit mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 690 to 986 square feet, town filings show.

The other, on the northeast boundary of Bishops Corner, envisions converting a vacant, 120-bed nursing home at 2432 Albany Ave. into 60 units of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Farmington developer Metro Realty Group is promoting that one, filings show.

The North Main Street apartment-conversion already has thumbs-up from the town planning and zoning department's design review advisory committee, while the nursing-home conversion is still early in the town's review-approval pipeline, Town Planner Todd Dumais said Thursday.

Niko Koutouvides of Avon, who is a Plainville native, and brother, Ari of Stamford, operating as 24 N. Main LLC, last May paid seller Ethel E. Fusco $700,000 for the three-story, 2,427-square-foot building, its detached three-car garage-outbuilding and land at the corner of North Main and Loomis Streets, town records show.

According to Niko Koutouvides and town files, the developers want to raze the 70-year-old building to make way for the yet-unnamed apartments. His is almost directly across North Main from the site of another proposed tear-down to make way for a new retail-office building at the corner of Brace Road.

Farmington's Kemper Associates Architects LLC has penned an exterior design that captures many of the town center's historic design elements to give the modern brick structure a vintage look, filings show. A 7 p.m. public hearing on Jan. 14 is scheduled on the Koutouvides' development proposal.

Niko Koutouvides, who spent eight years as a linebacker with four NFL teams, including the Patriots, said the West Hartford project is the first of what he and his brother hope will be many more for their Skala Partners venture.

"We're very active,'' Niko Koutouvides said. "We're looking for a lot of deals.''

West Hartford was a particular attraction, Niko Koutouvides said, because "we're local guys.'' Though Avon residents, he and his wife regularly venture into West Hartford to dine and shop, he said.

He declined to say how much he's budgeted for the conversion. However, Koutouvides said Skala is in discussions with four or five local lenders about staking his project.

Their building plans also propose 27 spaces of parking beneath and around the structure, filings show.

In its adaptive reuse proposal on Albany Avenue, Metro Realty wants to gut the 41,208-square-foot structure down to its mostly brick fašade, before adding a third floor and reconfiguring the space as apartments, town filings and officials say. The units' dimensions were unspecified in town filings.

Metro Realty is very early into the town's land-use review and approval pipeline, Dumai said. A more detailed filing is expected sometime after the first of the year.

The facility most recently operated as the Bishops Corner Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, according to a sign out front. It previously had been owned and operated by Haven Healthcare.

The property current owner is OHI CT Inc., according to town records, which also show the property had a 2011 grand list appraised value of $2.8 million.

Metro Realty is the same outfit developing a 120-unit luxury apartment complex off Route 6 in Farmington, to tap into the expanding research, healthcare and corporate campuses for the Jackson Laboratories, UConn Health Center and United Technologies Corp.

Metro Realty didn't immediately return a phone call Thursday for comment.

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