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September 20, 2023

Developer breaks ground on 100-unit development in New Britain

HBJ Photo | Skyler Frazer Developers recently broke ground on The Strand, a 100-unit mixed-use development at 157 Main St., New Britain.

Construction of the 100-unit apartment complex at the site of the former Strand Theater in New Britain has officially kicked off following a ceremony this week.

City officials joined New York Developer Avner Krohn on Tuesday for a groundbreaking of The Strand, a six-story, roughly 86,000-square-foot mixed-use apartment building at 157 Main St. In addition to 100 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, Krohn said the development will include about 3,600 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
City officials said the project is expected to take about 16 months to complete.

Strand Theater was a landmark in downtown for nearly five decades as a movie theater and live performance venue before closing in 1972, and the new development aims to honor that legacy by transforming the existing parking lot on the property into a mixed-use site. The new building’s interior will have movie reel-themed designs, a movie theater and rooftop area with fire pits and seating areas, Krohn said.
“It was a no-brainer when we looked at the site and history — this was The Strand, we didn’t need a marketing company to come up with that one,” Krohn said Tuesday.

Mayor Erin Stewart said the “iconic” former venue was a cornerstone of the city and representative of the city’s downtown. She said the units reserved for affordable housing are an important component of the project. Krohn said 20 of the units will be set aside as affordable units while 80 will be market-rate.

“When we’re talking about the downtown that once was, damn we’re making our way back,” Stewart said. “When all of these businesses closed down and all of these apartments left, when no one wanted to live in a downtown area, that was when downtown New Britain became desolate, and project after project we’re moving forward with getting people back.”

In August, Krohn’s development was named one of eight Connecticut projects sharing $23 million from the latest round of the Connecticut Communities Challenge Grant program. The Strand will receive $4 million through the program, Krohn said.

Krohn has been active in New Britain in recent months, launching several housing and mixed-use projects in the Hardware City.

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