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December 1, 2023

Developer Randy Salvatore buys former Rensselaer campus in Hartford for $3.8M

CBRE An outline of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Hartford campus on Windsor Street.

Stamford-based developer Randy Salvatore paid $3.8 million on Thursday for the shuttered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus north of downtown Hartford and is advancing plans to build hundreds of apartments on the site.

“It just shows I’m very bullish on Hartford,” Salvatore told the Hartford Business Journal Friday morning.

Developer Randy Salvatore, CEO of RMS Cos.

Salvatore is already engaged in a multi-year and multiphase effort to build about 1,000 apartments on city-owned lots around Hartford’s 6,000-seat minor league baseball stadium, Dunkin’ Park.

Salvatore said his purchase of the 12.7-acre Rensselaer site, at 275 Windsor St., will allow for a complementary development that will help the city realize its aim of connecting its downtown with neighborhoods to the north through infill residential development.

Salvatore completed the first 270-unit apartment building on a lot just southwest of the ballpark in 2022, and plans to continue to the next phase of the “North Crossing” project, including construction of a 228-unit apartment building and parking garage, this month. 

That project is separate from his plans for the RPI campus. 

Salvatore, on Friday, said he aims to begin demolition of 1970s-vintage buildings on the Rensselaer site within 60 days, preparing it for a large-scale redevelopment.  

Salvatore, on Nov. 8, submitted a special permit application to Hartford’s Planning and Zoning Commission seeking to build 473 apartments in two buildings, as well as a 507-space parking garage at the Rensselaer site. Salvatore has given a rough estimate of $125 million for this first phase of development, which would use a roughly 3-acre section of the campus.

A rendering showing the possible exterior view of one of the apartment buildings developer Randy Salvatore plans to build on the former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus along Windsor Street in Hartford.

A rendering included with the Nov. 8 application shows a possible full residential build-out that would eventually yield five apartment buildings with a total of 1,232 units, along with three parking structures supplying 1,310 spaces.

Salvatore has said that the sketch was only intended to show what is possible. He is considering other plans, including large-scale commercial development.

John McCormick, Patrick Mulready and Anna Kocsondy of CBRE’s Hartford office brokered the sale of the RPI campus. 

McCormick, an executive vice president with CBRE, said the Rensselaer property drew multiple competitive offers during its six months on the market. 

The Rensselaer team that vetted offers was swayed by Salvatore's vision and track record of development in Hartford, New Haven and elsewhere, McCormick said. 

The selection team was confident Salvatore would be able to close on the property and then put it back into positive, productive use, McCormick said.

"I think its going to be an exciting project," McCormick said. "It really completes the new neighborhood RMS is establishing with the (North Crossing) project."


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