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April 27, 2023

Berlin’s Steele Center taking shape, with two more buildings under construction

Contributed A sketch of 10 Steele Boulevard in Berlin

Developers are framing out the next phases of the Steele Center mixed-use project in Berlin, as another building’s anchor tenant Hop Haus is preparing for its grand opening.

Tony Valenti and Mark Lovely of Southington-based Lovely Development and Newport Realty are building The Steele Center, a $17-million, 75,000-square-foot commercial and residential development, that will bring 70 market-rate apartments and several commercial storefronts to the Kensington Village area.

Steele Boulevard is a new road that stretches from Farmington Avenue to the new Berlin train station on the Hartford line, featuring several residential and mixed-use buildings under construction.

The buildings at 10 and 29 Steele Boulevard are starting to take shape.

The 10 Steele project is a 1.5-story building with 7,900 square feet of commercial space on the first floor, and four apartments above – two, two-bedroom and two, one-bedroom units. 

Valenti said he expects the units will be ready for occupancy by year end, and his team has started marketing the retail space, with negotiations underway with a hair and nail salon, a financial planner and a medi-spa. 

Nearby, 29 Steele Boulevard is a free-standing building with 1,650-square-foot commercial spot with patio space, ideal for a small restaurant or coffee shop, but also suitable for an office, Valenti said.

The Lovely team has partnered with Century 21 All Points for the commercial and residential leasing.

The footing for both buildings has been poured, and steele framing is next.

“We expect to see both with vertical construction within a few weeks,” he said.

Remediation work on the planned 55 Steele Boulevard, a free-standing apartment building with 50 market-rate units, is set to begin in May or June. Once construction begins, it should take about 18 months to complete that building.
That building sits in the back of the complex, closest to the train station.

Right along Farmington Avenue is the mixed-use 9 Steele Boulevard, which is completely finished with 16 market-rate apartments that are fully leased.

The 7,500 square feet of commercial space on the main-floor is anchored by a 4,100-square-foot Hop Haus brewery and gastropub, with an outdoor patio along the main road, that is set to open in June, with some soft openings planned before then.

The remaining commercial space at 9 Steele will also be shared by a home care agency, attorneys office and cosmetic/fitness/life coaching center.

The Steele Center project is moving along, despite some delays with supply chain issues, and a pivot from planned two-bedroom units to smaller apartments to keep pace with the changing market, Valenti said.

“We can never move as fast as we want, but as soon as we got past all the supply issues, we are totally back on track and we want to finish off this development,” he said, expecting to be completely finished in a little more than two years’ time.

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