Processing Your Payment

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

October 16, 2023

Hartford’s Lexington Partners poised for ambitious growth/big projects despite loss of founder

HBJ PHOTO | Michael PUFFER (From left) Patrick and Kevin Kenny, sons of Lexington Partners founder Martin Kenny.

Lexington Partners founder Martin Kenny built thousands of apartments in Connecticut and had hundreds more in various stages of planning and development when he died suddenly of a heart attack in September.

While mourning the loss of its founder, the company Kenny founded is reassuring staff, business partners, investors and public officials ongoing projects will be completed, prospective projects will be pursued and plans to grow Lexington are moving forward.

The company also recently launched a new brokerage arm, giving the multifamily developer a stronger foothold in the broader commercial real estate sector.

“We’ve proactively reached out to all of our investors to let them know what happened and to assure them that we’re marching forward and we’re working as hard for them as we always have,” said Patrick Kenny, Martin’s son and vice president of Lexington Partners.

Patrick Kenny, 38, has worked with his father for the past 11 years. His brother, 36-year-old Kevin Kenny, joined more recently. Martin Kenny spent the past few years grooming both to become development leaders.

The Kenny sons say Lexington and its affiliated companies — Lexington Property Management, InnoConn Construction Management and the new brokerage business — will remain a family endeavor.

“Marty brought Pat and me into the business for a reason, and I think every intention is for Pat and I to keep this a family business,” Kevin Kenny said.

Marty Kenny’s daughter, Mallory Kenny Williams, will continue to lead Lexington’s social media.

It might be appropriate to say Lexington is an extended family business.

Lexington President Christopher Reilly, with more than three decades in property management, will continue to keep a steady hand on the wheel of the company.

Martin Kenny’s close friend and business partner Alan Lazowski, of Hartford-based parking giant LAZ Parking, owns a large stake in Lexington and has invested in all of its projects.

A rendering of a planned 78-unit apartment conversion of 15 Lewis St., in downtown Hartford.

Lazowski said Martin Kenny had already begun handing over increasing responsibilities to his sons, so the late developer could spend more time on personal hobbies and with grandchildren.

“The most important thing for me is that his legacy is continued in having his kids carry that torch along with our president Chris Reilly,” Lazowski said. “The ownership on Marty’s side will be in the family. We will remain partners with the family.”

Lazowski noted Patrick Kenny has worked on all facets of development, from planning and permitting to execution.

“He was right in the middle of that,” Lazowski said. “He knows what to do.”

A full plate

Martin Kenny had a knack for identifying opportunities and putting together complex developments, friends and family say. Lexington’s current leaders say the company has enough ongoing work and more in the development pipeline to keep it busy for the foreseeable future.

These include, among others:

  • Putting the finishing touches on Lexington’s “One Park” development of 292 apartments at a former convent property in West Hartford.
  • A recently launched, $14 million redevelopment of a 133-year-old, granite-block courthouse opposite the Litchfield Town Green into a boutique hotel with an upscale restaurant.
  • An $841 million, 1,000-unit mixed-use apartment, office and retail redevelopment at East Hartford’s Founders Plaza office park along the bank of the Connecticut River. Lexington and Lazowski are pursuing this plan with a team of well-heeled and experienced developers and businessmen.
  • A $100 million redevelopment of the former Red Lion Hotel property in Cromwell into 265 apartments, 24 townhomes and 30,000 square feet of retail space. A tax agreement with local officials for this project is anticipated to go before the town council in November.
  • The conversion of a struggling retail property in a Connecticut shoreline town into hundreds of apartments, along with retail opportunities.
  • A $26.7 million transformation of the former LAZ Parking headquarters at 15 Lewis St. in Hartford into 78 apartments and a restaurant space, potentially with rooftop dining overlooking Bushnell Park. The state Bond Commission, on Oct. 6, approved sending $7 million to the Capital Region Development Authority to provide a low-interest loan for the project.

“Right now, we are so busy with things we are right in the middle of, we don’t have too many new deals on our plate that haven’t been conceived of,” Patrick Kenny said.

Lexington’s future project pipeline doesn’t seem to be in any jeopardy. The company’s reputation for delivering complex projects leads to plenty of proposals being brought to its doorstep, Kevin Kenny said.

Even so, the company made a recent move it says will help drive future growth, opening a new real estate brokerage arm affiliated with national commercial real estate brokerage NAI Global.

Lexington Commercial NAI launched in August with Kevin Kenny as its president. The younger Kenny brother led efforts to recruit retail tenants to Hartford’s Pratt Street district being redeveloped by Lexington and Shelbourne Global Solutions.

“I had so much success with that and other opportunities that third-party opportunities started pouring in,” said Kevin Kenny, who is also a vice president at Lexington. “We crunched the numbers and came to the realization this needed to be a business.”

Renderings of Lexington Partners’ nearly complete “One Park” apartment development (above) in West Hartford, and its $100 million planned redevelopment of the former Red Lion Hotel (right) in Cromwell into 265 apartments.

Kevin Kenny said two people have been hired to help the fledgling brokerage, which had 11 listings about six weeks after its founding.

“There are a lot of commercial opportunities and build-to-suit opportunities that are starting to present themselves to where commercial real estate development is not out of the cards for us going into the future as well,” Kevin Kenny said. “The brokerage is generating opportunities that will assist Lexington in the future.”

Growing in many directions

Sam Walker had 18 years of experience in construction when he was hired three years ago to lead InnoConn, Lexington’s construction management arm. Since then, that group has grown from four staff to 30, Reilly said.

InnoConn has transitioned from its original focus on Lexington projects and will spend most of its time building for outside clients in 2024, Reilly said.

Reilly said Lexington has so much work that it has begun a search for a high-level development specialist to help coordinate architects and engineers, oversee construction and work with lenders.

“The company was about to take its next step (before Martin Kenny’s death),” Reilly said. “We were OK with one big project at a time, and now we have three massive projects in the hopper, any one of which would have required more help.”

Lexington has grown over the past six years from six employees, to four affiliated companies with 130 staff members. Its business interests also reach well beyond Connecticut and Hartford.

Today, Lexington affiliates own about 3,500 rental units, split almost evenly between properties the company built in Connecticut as well as properties it purchased in this state, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. Reilly said acquisitions will pick up again after economic conditions shift and borrowing rates become more favorable.

Lazowski said Hartford will remain a priority for the company, which is headquartered in the city’s Gold Building office tower, along with LAZ Parking.

“Hartford’s our home,” Lazowski said. “I was born and raised in Hartford. I started my business in Hartford. My headquarters is in Hartford. I think Hartford is the greatest city in the world. Marty felt the same way. We are believers in this great city, and we have to keep that momentum.”

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF