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April 12, 2021

Bond Commission to weigh millions of dollars for Elm St., Pratt St. mixed-use developments in Hartford

HBJ File Photo Hartford's Pratt Street corridor.

In its first meeting of 2021, the state Bond Commission later this week will vote on millions of dollars worth of loans and grants that would help spur the redevelopment of 460 new apartment units in Hartford.

The funding on the commission’s Friday agenda would shepherd a $100 million Pratt Street redevelopment into its next phase, kickstart the repurposing of a former state office building fronting Bushnell Park and stake a mixed-income apartment redevelopment project near the Colt Armory.

The largest Hartford economic development item the agenda is $13.5 million in loans to help Spinnaker Real Estate Partners redevelop the 55 Elm St. office building into 164 apartments with co-working space and a restaurant.

The Norwalk-based developer acquired the 300,000-square-foot building more than a year ago for $6.8 million and plans to spend approximately $63 million on the project, it revealed recently.

The quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) is the public funding conduit for both Pratt Street and 55 Elm.

CRDA is also on deck to receive $1.5 million from the bond commission to complete a replacement of a waterproofing system, pavers and a protection membrane at the plaza and esplanade that connects the Connecticut Convention Center to the CT Science Center.

The Pratt Street project, developed by a partnership that includes Marty Kenny of Lexington Partners, Shelbourne Global Solutions and Alan Lazowski, of LAZ Parking, is well into its first phase, which includes conversion of 99 Pratt St. and 196 Trumbull St. into 129 units of new housing. The apartments at 196 Trumbull debuted last fall, and Shelbourne Chief Operating Officer Michael Seidenfeld told city councilors last week that work on 99 Pratt is about to begin, with pre-leasing activity anticipated to begin in the next six or seven months.

The Bond Commission this week will consider a $2 million loan for the Pratt Street Initiative Partnership to assist with the upcoming second phase.
With an estimated total cost of $32.2 million, the bulk of the work slated for the so-called “Sage Allen Apartments and Townhomes” phase will involve converting 42 student townhomes on Temple Street into 88 conventional rental units, which would join 77 existing units at the nearby Lofts at Main and Temple.

Seidenfeld said that Shelbourne is funding a marketing and branding campaign for Pratt Street that’s set to launch in a few weeks and run into the fall, including social media, email and paid search marketing, radio and other advertising outlets. He declined to disclose the cost of the campaign, but said it comes at a crucial time, with COVID-19 vaccines rolling out widely and warm weather setting in.

”Timing is really crucial because we’re climbing out of COVID, and things are starting to ease up, thank God,” Seindenfeld said. ”Now’s the time people are taking a fresh new look and asking ‘what’s new in hartford?'"

Also on the Bond Commission itinerary this week is a $4 million loan for nonprofit housing developer Sheldon Oak to assist with redeveloping the Martin Luther King Apartments at 79 Van Block Ave. in Hartford into 150 new units across several buildings intended for a mix of incomes. The total project cost is estimated to be more than $51 million.

Further details weren’t immediately available.

Finally, the commission will vote on a $3.9 million loan for the fourth redevelopment phase of the former Westbrook Village on Granby Street, a Pennrose-led development known as the Village at Park River.

There are 400 townhouse-style units in total planned for the former public housing site, which is being built over six construction phases.


 

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