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August 19, 2021 Deal Watch Today

Apartments, restaurant could be on deck for historic downtown Hartford firehouse

SAM RODRIGUEZ | ALL AMERICAN AERIAL LLC The historic former fire station at 275 Pearl St. in Hartford.

The city of Hartford is moving toward a deal with New York-based development firm Wonder Works Construction that could see the historic former fire station at 275 Pearl St. redeveloped into a mixed-use apartment project.

Wonder Works, which has built 560 housing units in Hartford, mainly under the Spectra banner, was selected as the preferred developer for the site, according to I. Charles Mathews, the city’s development services director. A final deal for the property is being ironed out and should take about two or three weeks to finalize, Mathews said.

Wonder Works Chairman and Founder Joseph Klaynberg confirmed Wednesday that his company is planning to construct 40 apartments in the three-story building and install a 4,000-square-foot restaurant on the former fire house’s first floor. The eatery is expected to include indoor and outdoor dining areas and space for live entertainment.

Photo | Steve Laschever
Spectra Apartments develope Joseph Klaynberg (right) of Wonder Works Construction.

While Klaynberg declined to name the restaurant, he said his firm has collaborated with the brand before and saw positive results.

As for the apartments, Wonder Works will stick with the model Klaynberg called “affordable luxury,” with the same amenities as those offered in the Spectra properties.

In total, Klaynberg said the project will likely cost about $9.5 million, a sum he expects to finance in part with support from the Capital Region Development Authority, the State Historic Preservation Office and partnering banks.

When asked if the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered demand for housing in the city in a way that could make it difficult to find tenants for 275 Pearl St., Klaynberg said he remains optimistic about Hartford’s growth, especially considering how far the city has come within the last 10 or so years.

“They said that about the last project we did, and it filled up,” he said. “If we build it, we know people will come.”

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