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December 22, 2023

Hartford development director Mathews steps down, helps announce launch of 500-unit apartment project

Michael Puffer Director of Development Services I. Charles Mathews (left) and Mayor Luke Bronin announced the next phase of the North Crossing project Friday.

On his last day on the job Friday, Hartford’s Director of Development Services I. Charles Mathews helped celebrate the launch of a roughly 500-unit apartment project on a city-owned lot across from the Dunkin’ Park minor league baseball stadium.

Mathews, a former deputy city mayor and community leader, was brought in to lead the city’s development services department on an interim basis more than three years ago and was kept on.

But he won’t be part of the administration of Mayor-elect Arunan Arulampalam, who takes office in less than two weeks.

Mathews on Friday stood beside outgoing Mayor Luke Bronin on the broken and pitted pavement over a 5-acre lot just southwest of the ballpark to celebrate the launch of the second phase of RMS Cos.’ “North Crossing” development.

The full development will add about 1,000 apartments to city-owned lots around the ballpark. This latest phase will begin with a 237-unit apartment building and a 500-plus space parking garage. 

RMS Cos. CEO Rady Salvatore said he expects the latest development phase to be completed in about 20 months.

Salvatore said the parking garage’s concrete slabs are already being made at an off-site factory, so the project is underway. He and Bronin said they anticipate local land-use approvals will move swiftly. 

The Parcel B project will begin with the 237-unit apartment development and garage. It will be followed by the construction of a separate building for a total of about 500 apartments on the site. 

Salvatore said the buildings will include about 6,000 square feet of commercial space.

RMS completed its first North Crossing building, dubbed “The Pennant,” on a city lot to the southeast of the stadium in 2022. 

Bronin noted the North Crossing development is an important component of knitting the city’s downtown to nearby neighborhoods, helping to repair the rift created by the construction of Interstate 84 through the center of the city. He also applauded Salvatore’s recent $3.8 million purchase of the 13.1-acre former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus just north of the ballpark.

Salvatore, on Nov. 8, submitted a special permit application to the city seeking approval for 473 apartments in two buildings, as well as a 507-space parking garage on a small portion of the former RPI campus.

That application included a rendering showing a hypothetical full buildout that would include 1,232 apartments in five buildings, and three parking structures supplying 1,310 spaces.

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