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October 2, 2023 Deal Watch

Developers pitch wave of new Hartford development projects

RENDERING | CONTRIBUTED A rendering of a planned 78-unit apartment conversion of 15 Lewis St., in downtown Hartford.

After a summer lull, several new Hartford development projects have surfaced in recent weeks.

Here’s a rundown of new developments that have entered the pipeline.

Former LAZ Parking HQ targeted for $25.7M apartment conversion

Real estate development firm Lexington Partners and Alan Lazowski are seeking public financing for a $26.7 million transformation of LAZ Parking’s former Hartford headquarters on Lewis Street into 78 apartments.

The five-story, 1925-vintage building at 15 Lewis St., near Bushnell Park, has been vacant since LAZ Parking moved to the Gold Building in 2020. The Lewis Street property is owned by Lazowski, CEO and co-founder of LAZ Parking, and the late Marty Kenny, former head of Lexington Partners.

It was also Hartford Business Journal’s former home.

Initially, there were plans to turn the roughly 43,000-square-foot building into a boutique hotel, but they never materialized.

Instead, the plan is to pursue conversion of the building’s top four floors into apartments. The bottom floor would be renovated into restaurant and tenant amenity space.

The project would result in 51 studios, 24 one-bedroom units and three two-bedroom apartments.

The development team is seeking $7 million in assistance from the Capital Region Development Authority, including a $5 million low-interest loan. The remaining $2 million would be a CRDA equity stake in the project.

The development would also rely on historic tax credits.

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PHOTO | COSTAR
RPI’s former Windsor Street campus.

Salvatore eyes major apartment conversion of RPI's former Hartford campus

With efforts to build blocks of apartments around Hartford’s Dunkin’ Park stymied by ongoing litigation, developer Randy Salvatore hopes to redirect millions in public financing to a major redevelopment of the former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus on Windsor Street.

The project would yield 369 new downtown Hartford apartments built in multiple phases.

The 12.7-acre campus site was put on the market earlier this year. Salvatore said he is under contract to purchase the campus for an undisclosed sum. He said he expects to close within 60 days, provided he can secure funding through the Capital Region Development Authority and achieve zoning relief needed for the project.

Salvatore said he plans to build out the RPI campus in phases, beginning with the construction of a 269-unit, market-rate apartment building and parking garage.

That would be followed by construction of a 100-unit apartment building on-site.

Salvatore is asking CRDA to redirect a $13.6 million low-interest loan approved for the second phase of the North Crossing development around Dunkin’ Park for the RPI campus project.

CRDA will also consider steering an additional $3 million loan toward the effort.

North Crossing’s second phase has been stalled after the project’s original developer — Centerplan Cos. — was awarded a new trial by the state Supreme Court for its wrongful termination lawsuit against the city.

Centerplan was originally hired by the city to build Dunkin’ Park and mixed-use residential properties in surrounding city-owned parking lots, but was fired from both projects after it experienced significant delays, cost overruns and other issues during stadium construction.

In response to the firing, Centerplan sued the city for wrongful termination. Centerplan originally lost the lawsuit in 2019, but appealed the lower court’s decision.

In May, the state Supreme Court ordered a new trial, which halted further development in the North Crossing zone, which currently features “The Pennant,” a 270-unit market-rate apartment complex built by Salvatore’s Stamford-based RMS Cos.

Centerplan is seeking the rights to redevelop the remaining vacant parcels within North Crossing.

Salvatore said he is essentially taking the second phase of the halted North Crossing development and moving it to the RPI campus.

“We continue to be really bullish about downtown Hartford and that’s why we continue to move forward to expand there,” Salvatore said.

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31 Pratt St., Hartford

Historic Pratt Street building targeted for $7M apartment conversion

A downtown Hartford office building that once hosted Connecticut’s first mutual savings bank could soon become a 37-unit apartment building under a proposed $7 million redevelopment.

More than a century old, the former Society for Savings building at 31 Pratt St. currently hosts the elegant Society Room events center, along with adjoining office space.

West Hartford developer and investor The Simon Konover Co. paid $1.44 million for the roughly 60,000-square-foot building in 1997.

Now, Konover is seeking to borrow $1.1 million from the Capital Region Development Authority for a $7 million conversion of the property’s office space.

The project would convert office space, not including the Society Room, into 16 studio and 21 one-bedroom apartments.

Konover plans to fund the project through a $4.2 million mortgage, $868,934 in equity, $830,660 in historic tax credits and a 3% CRDA loan.

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