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August 10, 2022 REAL ESTATE

Dixwell breaks ground on affordable complex using eco-friendly materials

RENDERING | CONTRIBUTED A rendering of the new apartment complex using Mass Timber at 340 Dixwell Ave. in New Haven.

Standing outside in the sweltering heat, a crowd gathered Tuesday at 340 Dixwell Ave. in New Haven cheered at the prospect of a new climate-friendly affordable housing complex rising on what had long been a blighted vacant lot.

The new complex – a collaboration between Beulah Land Development Corporation, housing nonprofit HELP USA and developer Spiritos Properties – will provide 69 new units in the Dixwell neighborhood. Of those, 55 units will be offered to low-to-moderate income families and 20 to those experiencing homelessness. 

Darrell Brooks, COO of Beulah Land Development Corporation, said, “At Beulah, we keep the values of the community at the forefront and are committed to opening doors to homeownership, creating job opportunities and fostering economic development. This project does all of that.” 

The project was the brainchild of Beulah Land founder Bishop Theodore L. Brooks.

David Cleghorn of HELP USA, Beulah Land Development Corporation COO Darrell Brooks and founder Bishop Theodore L. Brooks at the groundbreaking for an affordable housing development at 340 Dixwell Ave., New Haven, on Aug. 9, 2022.

Connecticut Housing Finance Authority Executive Director Nandini Natarajan said, “With its blend of income-eligible apartments and access to onsite support services, 340 Dixwell is a model for the kinds of housing that does have the impact to communities and families that we know will lead to stronger communities in the long term.” 

Unique to the project is the first use nationwide in an affordable housing development of “Mass Timber,” aneco-friendly method of using laminated wood to replace steel and concrete. Walls and floors will be prefabricated from layers of wood and shipped to the site to provide structural components. 

PHOTO | Liese Klein
Groundbreaking for the affordable housing development at 340 Dixwell Ave., New Haven, on Aug. 9, 2022.

Jeff Spiritos, principal at Spiritos Properties, said, “Mass Timber is an ideal structural system for affordable housing, and it promises more durable homes using renewable resources, leading to a less-expensive, longer-lasting, greener housing future.”

Mayor Justin Elicker said, “When we talk about groundbreaking, you are breaking ground not just physically today, but on something that many many communities can replicate that can help us with climate change.” 

Citing the new complex’s stylish design, amenities and eco-friendly construction, David Cleghorn of HELP USA said, “The Mass Timber buildings that exist in the West Coast of the United States and in Boston and some other cities are either commercial buildings or they’re high-end, market-rate housing. And what we’re building here is exactly the same thing. This is going to be dignified homes for people that are from this neighborhood that have been in this neighborhood.”

Construction had begun as of Tuesday afternoon, with trenches dug and heavy equipment on site. The lot, at the corner of Dixwell and Orchard, had been vacant for at least 25 years. The four-story complex is slated to be completed by spring of 2023. 

Contact Liese Klein at


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