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January 20, 2020 Deal Watch Today

Development agreement inked for $26M Park-Main St. redevelopment

RENDERING | SPINNAKER REAL ESTATE PARTNERS A rendering of the $26 million mixed-use development on Park and Main streets in Hartford.

The city of Hartford has signed a development agreement with the developers of a long-awaited 126-unit apartment and retail community at the corner of Park and Main streets.

The agreement, signed in late December, lays out various economic, local hiring and affordable-housing requirements that Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, of Norwalk, and Hartford’s Freeman Cos., must adhere to in constructing two buildings worth $26 million on a pair of vacant, city-owned properties just south of downtown, officials say.

The city council approved the development agreement and ground lease for the project almost a year ago.

Developers hope to break ground on the project by the end of the first quarter or early second quarter, said Matthew Edvardsen, Spinnaker’s director of acquisitions and asset management. Apartments in phase one of the mixed-use project could be completed in just nine months, Edvardsen said.

Spinnaker and Freeman Cos. are now seeking a site plan approval from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Design plans are currently being drawn, Edvardsen said, and could be aired at an upcoming commission meeting in mid-February. 

Edvardsen said the developers are designing the buildings to comply with current zoning regulations. Developers began conducting environmental work at the site earlier this month, he said.

Market demand has encouraged the developers to swap proposed two-bedroom units with more studios and one-bedroom units, Edvardsen said. That change has increased the development’s proposed residential footprint from 108 units to 126 units.

Plans show the two buildings including 90,000 square feet of residential space with 18 studios, 84 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom units. Another 20,000 square feet will be used for retail space and a 9,000-square-foot rooftop lounge is also planned for the building fronting Park Street. A surface parking lot with 125 spaces will be located behind the buildings. 

The developers say they have not yet marketed the proposed commercial and retail space, which have been pitched as ideal landing spots for restaurants and a convenience store, among other potential uses.

Mayor Luke Bronin's administration previously cut a deal with the developers to set aside 20 percent of the one- and two-bedroom units for low- to moderate-income earners. The deal came after residents questioned whether the project would gentrify the South Green neighborhood.

Funding for the redevelopment mainly includes $16 million in bank financing and $8.4 million in loans from the quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA). Other financing is expected to come from $1.6 million in equity and a deferred $900,000 developer fee, Edvardsen said.

The city originally selected Hartford nonprofit CIL as the overseer of the redevelopment project. 

However, the city and the developer were unable to agree on a construction timeline and other financial terms, and the city in Aug. 2018 ended up selecting Spinnaker and Freeman Cos. to take over the project after a competitive bidding process.

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