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January 18, 2024

Developer behind 402-unit East Hartford apartment proposal predicts April groundbreaking

RENDERING | CONTRIBUTED A rendering of the Concourse Park apartment development planned on the site of the demolished Showcase Cinemas multiplex in East Hartford.

A developer partnered in a plan to build 402 apartments on the former Showcase Cinemas site in East Hartford told officials this week that financing is coming together, and groundbreaking is expected in April.

East Hartford officials have an agreement to hand over the 25-acre site off Silver Lane to developers Avner Krohn and Brian Zelman for $1. The pair have been behind several large-scale and high-profile apartment developments in downtown New Britain, adding to the anticipation of East Hartford officials.  

Under the agreement, Krohn and Zelman are to build at least 300 apartments in exchange for the land. They have an agreement with the town to secure financing by April 30.

In an update delivered to the East Hartford Town Council Tuesday night, Zelman said the partners are on track to close financing in March that will allow them to build 309 apartments in eight buildings. That sets the project up for an April groundbreaking, he said. 

The three-story apartment buildings, part of the Concourse Park multifamily development, are expected to be completed over 18 months, he said.

This construction phase will also include a clubhouse, mail and maintenance building.

Outside the meeting, Zelman said financing has been secured for the first, 309-unit, phase of the project. That financing will be activated and the land transferred simultaneously at the closing table, he said. 

Zelman said the partners are close to securing financing from a separate lender for a 93-unit building serviced by an elevator. That phase of construction will take about two years to complete.

Zelman, on Wednesday, put the total project cost at $115 million.

An earlier version of the agreement Krohn and Zelman struck with the town called for a minimum of 360 apartments, with financing secured by Sept. 30 of last year.

However, amid higher construction costs and interest rates, financing became more difficult to secure. Town officials agreed to reduce the required number of units to 300 and extend the deadline for Krohn and Zelman to secure financing to April 30, 2024.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Connor Martin thanked Zelman for sticking with the project despite growing challenges. Members of the Town Council were similarly supportive. Officials view the Zelman-Krohn development as a big step forward for a multipronged effort to revitalize the long-declining Silver Lane commercial corridor.

The development will come with amenities including a soundproof band rehearsal room in the clubhouse, dog washing station, pool, party room for rent and coworking space.

“It’s going to be pretty spectacular,” Zelman said. 

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