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February 21, 2020

Here are popular apartment amenities sprouting in Hartford

HBJ Photos | Steve Laschever Among his downtown Hartford apartment's many amenities, Spectra on the Plaza resident John Lundeen most enjoys relaxing in the spacious community room of the high-rise building overlooking Constitution Plaza.

Rooftop lounges, coffee bars, game rooms and golf simulators are some of the many luxury apartment amenities that are driving a steady appetite for downtown Hartford living spaces, a new study shows.
Downtown’s central business district has added 1,360 apartments in the last six years through various building conversions, according to a new study by East Hartford-based commercial real estate adviser Goman+York Property Advisors LLC. That growth is thanks, in part, to developers keeping pace with regional and market trends of creating quality livable urban environments, the study says.
“We are seeing everything from valet rooms, the yoga studio, an equipment-based fitness center, a golf simulator, community kitchens,” said R. Michael Goman, a principal of Goman+York, during Thursday night’s Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) board meeting.
“These are amenity-rich environments, and that’s definitely the way all of the developments that we have looked at over the last number of years have gone,” he continued.
Goman’s remarks were made Thursday at the request of the quasi-public CRDA, which tasked his firm with exploring a recent surge in neighborhood and regional multi-family residential developments.
The study revealed Hartford has seen “considerable growth in the number of apartments coming to the market over the past five years.” Apartment growth is expected to continue, it says, with continued financing from CRDA and other public funders, and amid a wave of new amenities and technologies being added to buildings.

A 46-seat movie theater is one of many amenities at Hartford's Spectra on the Plaza apartment complex.

It points to a number of “essential amenities” that continue to generate multifamily housing demand, including entertainment/theater areas, child care and concierge services, free WiFi, smart technology, green space, “pet social areas” and pool-side cabanas.
Other amenities hitting the market include car-sharing and bike storage/repair services, co-working spaces, dry cleaning/laundry services, on-site parking and short-term rental options.
“We are really seeing a very strong movement towards the micro apartments, the studio apartments and one bedrooms,” said Goman, adding that Millennials and empty nesters often prefer studios and one-bedroom apartments vs. two- and three-bedroom units to uphold a more flexible, community-driven lifestyle,  “We expect any new units which are going to be successful will have a modern design, modern amenities.”
Some of these amenities are planned for several upcoming Hartford apartment projects.

That includes a long-awaited 126-unit apartment and retail community planned at the corner of Park and Main streets.

The $26-million project, led by Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, of Norwalk, and Hartford’s Freeman Cos., is slated to include gathering/rooftop areas, fitness centers and co-working spaces.

Luxury amenities will also be integrated on Hartford’s Downtown North (DoNo) parcels surrounding Dunkin’ Donuts Park, which is slated for a roughly $200-million redevelopment project to bring 800-plus apartments to the area over the next six years.

Goman’s study says Stamford developer RMS Cos., led by founder and CEO Randy Salvatore, sees demand for rooftop decks, pools, fire pits, fitness centers with Peloton exercise equipment, golf simulators and bowling alleys. They are also “looking to add conference centers and co-working spaces into their developments,” the study says.

“What you’re getting in the developments that have come online in the last few years is a really great product at quite a competitive price,” Goman said. “That is good for everybody, good for the region, good for the town.”

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