February 20, 2014
Deal Watch Today

Stalled Depot Crossing gets a reboot

Contributed rendering
Contributed rendering
A rendering of the $3.34 million Depot Crossing.

This is an updated version of an earlier report.

A Hartford nonprofit is breathing fresh life into a stalled commercial-office/housing development across from the Berlin Train Station, authorities say.

Berlin Mayor Rachel Rochette and The Corporation for Independent Living announced that CIL's for-profit arm paid $500,000 for Depot Crossing's unfinished building and land at 848 Farmington Ave.

CIL officials say work will soon start anew to complete Depot Crossing with a $3.34 million construction budget. The three-story, 23,986-square-foot building will have offices on the lower level, and housing above.

The purchase and construction is funded with a $1 million loan from the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, to go with a $2.1 million first mortgage from United Bank of West Springfield, authorities said.

The town also waived about $180,000 of back taxes on the property, CIL CEO Martin Legault said.

"We can now look forward to the resumption of work to complete this prominent local project,'' Rochette said. "Depot Crossing will be Berlin's first new mixed use, transit-oriented development project being developed in conjunction with the upcoming expanded commuter rail service on the New Haven/Springfield line.''

The original developer started Depot Crossing in late 2008, but work stalled and lender New England Capital Group foreclosed in August 2012, authorities said.

In February 2013, the Berlin Land Trust bought the property and deeded it to the town, officials said. A month later, CIL emerged as the preferred developer after the town put the project out to bid. Papers signed last July formalized that pact.

CIL has since revised the original project's scope to include finishing the first floor space for commercial use and erecting 16 apartments on the upper two floors. In keeping with CIL's housing mission, four of them will be tagged "affordable" to qualified households, officials said.

Goman + York Property Advisors in East Hartford has been hired to market the 9,000-square-foot ground-floor space earmarked as a commercial condominium.

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