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January 10, 2022

$15M project will turn blighted N. Britain property into mixed-income apartment development

Photo | Contributed This industrial property at 27 Columbus Blvd. and 43 High St. - known as the Polar Building - will be transformed into a mixed-residential development with 62 rental units thanks in part to $1,355,000 in state funding announced last week. The funding will pay for environmental clean up; abatement; and a partial demolition of the former manufacturing and industrial property.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart and a developer have announced plans for a $15 million project that will turn a blighted property into a new mixed-use apartment development. 

The plan calls for the environmental clean-up, abatement, and redevelopment of New Britain’s Polar Building at 27 Columbus Blvd. and 43 High St., in order to make way for a mixed-income residential development with 62 rental units.

Andy Kowalski, president of aerospace components manufacturer Polar Corp., will also be the project’s developer and lead the clean up of the Polar Building. 

The mayor’s office said all remediation work will be completed this year and demolition has already started on 43 High St., which is an old house located behind the factory building. In addition, the mayor’s office said, the six-family apartment building now located next door at 40 High St. will also be renovated. An occupancy time frame has yet to be determined, the mayor’s office said. 

Stewart, the city’s longtime Republican mayor, said the announcement is just one more step in ridding the Hardware City of another blighted eyesore.

“The redevelopment of the Polar building is the latest piece in the transformation we have been seeing throughout the city that has been made possible through partnerships with property owners who are committed to our vision and want to invest their own resources into New Britain’s future,” the mayor said in a statement. “This grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development will allow the city to continue its partnership with the owner of the Polar building to convert this property from a blighted eyesore that is a target for vandalism to yet another attractive housing option for those looking to move into downtown New Britain and experience all the great things our city has to offer.”

The total project cost is estimated at $15 million and the property’s owner will pursue historical tax credits to help pay for some of the costs, the mayor’s office said.

In addition, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday that $1.35 million in state brownfield grant funding will be used for the project.

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