Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

March 6, 2023

East Hartford looks to reduce demands on developers of 25-acre Showcase Cinemas site

Katherine Eastman / Journal Inquirer The town-owned cinema complex on Silver Lane in East Hartford.

East Hartford officials planning to hand over the former Showcase Cinemas property for apartment development could significantly reduce the number of new rental units required to be built by the developers.

In a series of agreements struck last year, developers Brian Zelman and Avner Krohn – acting through Jasko Zelman 1 LLC – committed to build at least 360 apartments on the 25-acre site off Silver Lane, which was to be sold to them for $1.

Amid soaring interest rates and tightening lending markets, Zelman and Krohn have appealed to the town to reduce its demands.

Officials and the developers have developed tentative compromises that would reduce the minimum number of apartments to 300, among other changes. Those changes need the endorsement of the Town Council, which has set a public hearing for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

While the original agreement required at least 360 units, Zelman and Krohn’s ambitions had been higher. Local land-use approvals granted them the ability to build up to 477 apartments. In January, Zelman and Krohn said they still intended to build more than 400 units but needed flexibility given changes in the lending markets.

Another proposed change opens the possibility to cut in half the $10 million in equity Zelman and Krohn originally agreed to inject into the development.

Town officials agreed to work to tap city, state, federal or other governmental sources for $10 million to assist the development, which is to be used for infrastructure improvements. A proposed change would allow East Hartford Mayor Michael Walsh to drop the amount of equity required from the developer to $5 million.
Town officials and Jasko have also revisited the 27-year tax deal agreed last year.

Originally, the agreement settled on a tax of $2,100 per completed market-rate apartment beginning with the Oct. 1, 2026 tax year, and increasing by 2% every subsequent year through 2052. The developers were to begin building within a year of claiming the property, completing at least 360 units by Oct. 1, 2026.

A proposed change to the tax-fixing agreement would allow the town to continue charging taxes under the unimproved value of the land beyond Oct. 21, 2026, should it be deemed necessary to “resolve unforeseen circumstances.” 

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF