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June 12, 2023 / 2023 Power 25 Real Estate

2023 Power 25 Real Estate: Kristen Gorski

Kristen Gorski

From a redevelopment and adaptive reuse perspective, the town of West Hartford has at least nine large-scale projects in various stages, each approximately $20 million or more in new investment.

Helping shepherd those projects through the approval process is Kristen Gorski, West Hartford’s economic development coordinator, who is responsible for business retention and expansion, new business attraction and small business, nonprofit and entrepreneurial support.

Part of her job is to attract and spur commercial and multifamily development throughout town. She’s been active on that front.

The trend that West Hartford has seen over the last few years is mixed-use and multifamily redevelopment, Gorski said, which is likely to continue.

The town has at least one large redevelopment project occurring in each of its five commercial districts, she said.

“Due to the fact that West Hartford does not have large tracts of vacant or abandoned land, we are encouraging and seeing the redevelopment of underutilized properties in creative ways such as infill development, adaptive reuse and transit-oriented development,” Gorski said. “These projects are adding higher density housing options and expanding the overall variety of housing options throughout town.”

One of the most high-profile projects is the One Park redevelopment, which is an adaptive reuse and historic preservation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery property, a 22-acre parcel at the corner of Park Road.

The approximately 185,000-square-foot former convent, owned by the Sisters for over a century, along with supplemental new construction is being retrofitted into 295 units of multifamily housing, 30 of which will be affordable units through a partnership with the West Hartford Housing Authority. That project is being led by Hartford-based Lexington Partners.

Separately, the Sisters have a renovated wing that allows them to remain in the property long term. The total project investment likely exceeds $70 million, which is the largest single investment the town has seen since the development of Blue Back Square, Gorski said.

A Massachusetts native, Gorski previously worked at the Bristol Development Authority for the city of Bristol. She earned a dual bachelor’s degree from Westfield State University in criminal justice, and geography and regional planning.

Last year, she was an HBJ Forty Under 40 honoree, and she’s currently the immediate past president of the Connecticut Economic Development Association.

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