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Updated: June 16, 2020 Town Profile: Granby

Granby is becoming an apartment-development hot spot

Rendering | Contributed A rendering of the planned Station 280 apartment complex in Granby, which will feature 235 market-rate apartments and plenty of amenities, including a courtyard and pool.

New apartment development has swept through Greater Hartford in recent years, with much of the activity occurring in more densely populated cities and suburbs.

But rural communities are also getting in on the action. The town of Granby -- known for its open space, farmland and hiking trails -- has become an apartment-development hot spot in recent years with nearly 400 rental units that have either come online, or are in the planning pipeline.

The latest project to debut was the 130-unit The Grand at Ridgewood, which includes five luxury apartment buildings that opened in phases starting in Dec. 2018. The last 26-unit building came online in April and immediately drew investor interest.

In fact, The Grand at Ridgewood, which was developed by Danbury-based Upstream Properties LLC and consists of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, sold May 29 for $33.3 million, or $256,000 per unit, according to Bradley Balletto of Northeast Private Client Group, who brokered the deal. The buyer was Krown Point Capital, a joint venture between Fairfield-based Connecticut Realty Trust and Jonis Realty of New York, Balletto said.

Now the town of Granby is moving forward with its largest-ever apartment development: Station 280 — a $50-million, 235-unit project at 276 and 280 Salmon Brook St., that recently received town approval and will be built within the town center.

Rendering | Contributed
A map of the seven buildings that will house Station 280’s planned 235 apartment units.

“There’s really been a lack of apartment development in Granby until this point,” said Abigail Kenyon, the town’s community development director. “I think there is a desire from younger folks who don’t necessarily want the responsibility of owning a home and like the lifestyle Granby has to offer. The developers are looking to fill a need.”

The project leads are homebuilder Jonathan Vosburgh, of Roswell Development LLC, and Eric Brown, formerly of KBE Building Corp., who bought the land in April for $1.5 million.

Vosburgh said there is no construction timeline yet because the project is still in the planning stages.

Station 280’s current plans call for the market-rate studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments to be built in seven different buildings that would be phased in over time. Vosburgh said he modeled the project after the successful Heirloom Flats development in Bloomfield, a 215-unit luxury project that debuted in 2018, leased up quickly and was sold in Jan. 2019 for $61 million.

That means there will be plenty of amenities, including a 7,000-square-foot community center that will include a gym; media, game, yoga and mail rooms; and a virtual golf simulator. There will also be a pool, pavilion and dog park for residents.

[Read more: HBJ examines developments in CT towns, cities]

The goal is to create a community atmosphere that allows residents to interact with each other, said Vosburgh, who added the targeted demographics are young professionals and aging Baby Boomers looking to downsize and cede home-repair and other maintenance responsibilities.

“We want to create a sense of community and the possibilities of gathering in nice areas,” Vosburgh said. “It also extends the town center by about 900 feet on Route 10 and we feel it’s a very pleasing setting for residential use.”

Vosburgh said he believes demand for apartments in Greater Hartford will continue to be strong especially as Connecticut housing prices remain high, making it difficult to purchase an affordable house that is also updated with modern amenities, something his new apartments will offer.

He said a recent consultant’s analysis concluded the units could lease up within a year-and-a-half, and the sale of The Grand at Ridgewood is a positive sign for the market.

Rendering | Contributed
An aerial view of the The Grand at Ridgewood apartments in Granby, which recently sold for $33.3 million.

Walkable community

Kenyon said Station 280 will complement Granby’s town center, which consists of small shops and restaurants that serve as the community’s commercial base.

A sidewalk has already been installed along Salmon Brook Street from the town green to Salmon Brook Park and more sidewalks, crosswalks and decorative lighting are planned to make it more of a walkable community.

The town center has also added three new restaurants in the last few years and is a major activity point with the high school and middle school, town hall and senior housing all nearby.

Kenyon said she’s not worried about the apartment market in town becoming oversaturated because Granby offers a unique lifestyle and a differentiated rental product than the rest of the region. It also has a good school system, so she’s hoping younger families may choose to rent in town, come to like the community and eventually buy a home there.

Another project that debuted in recent years was the 34 units at Greenway Village Apartments on Mill Pond Drive, which has also seen strong leasing activity, Kenyon said.

“I think Granby is a very unique town that offers a lot of open space and outdoor recreational opportunities that a lot of other towns that have apartment developments don’t necessarily have,” she said. “So I think folks who want that type of lifestyle, it will attract them. “

Balletto, the realty broker, said another advantage for Granby’s new apartments is that they’ve put dozens of three-bedroom units on the market, which are tougher to find in Greater Hartford.

“I think the suburban Hartford apartment market has done very well absorbing new inventory,” Balletto said. “Very few developers build three-bedroom apartments.”

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