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January 11, 2022

Spinnaker outlines plans to add three buildings, 166 additional apartments to downtown Hartford development plan

RENDERING A rendering of Spinnaker Real Estate Partners' master plan for downtown Hartford that includes converting the former state office building at 55 Elm St. into apartments and constructing three other buildings nearby for additional mixed-use residential space.

Spinnaker Real Estate Partners’ plans for a dense redevelopment of a former state office property at 55 Elm Street in Hartford is advancing with praise from city staff.

A master plan heading before the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission Tuesday details the size of residential buildings Spinnaker plans to add to the 3.2-acre property.

The plan comes with the blessing of city planning staff, who said the project meets Hartford zoning rules and “would greatly advance” the city’s development goals, according to a report accompanying Spinnaker’s application.

The Norwalk-based developer bought the 200,000-square-foot office complex in Jan. 2020 for $6.8 million. It also purchased a trio of nearby parking lots at 71 Elm St., 94 Hudson St. and 108-110 Capitol Ave. Spinnaker has previously announced plans for 160 apartments at the historic office building and its annex. This first phase is estimated at about $63 million and, according to Spinnaker co-partner Matthew Edvardsen, is anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2022.

Spinnaker’s plans for additional buildings on parking areas of 55 Elm St. is fleshed out in its master plan request.

There are two buildings currently on-site. The largest, a seven-story building completed in 1926, is to be converted from office into apartments and hotel suites, with ground floor retail. A four-story annex is to be converted into apartments with ground-floor retail.

The staff report noted Spinnaker’s intent to drop plans for hotel space, but no written change in plans has yet been submitted.

A second phase of construction would add a new five-story, 81-unit apartment building facing West Street, with 2,410-square feet of ground floor retail space and 22 basement parking spaces. The plans include outdoor space marked as a “beer garden.”

Next, phase three would see the addition of a five-story, 85-unit apartment building facing Capitol Avenue, with two retail spaces with a combined total of 1,930 square feet.

A fourth phase would see a new 1.5-story building with retail and amenity space between the two new buildings, connected to each via breezeways.

Edvardsen, on Tuesday, said he anticipates launching renovations to the existing buildings at 55 Elm St. this quarter and wrapping up within two years. Spinnaker tentatively plans to begin work building the 81-unit building as the first leg of the project winds down.

The timing of the second phase, however, depends on securing a tax agreement with the city and financing from the Capitol Region Development Authority, Edvardsen cautioned. Once launched, construction is anticipated to take up to 15 months.

Construction of the 85-unit building would begin as the second phase of construction winds down, Edvardsen said.

Edvardsen said the project’s launch has been slowed by COVID-19 related delays but said progress will soon be visible on the ground.

“We feel this is one of the last steps to get this project going, this hearing tonight,” Edvardsen said. “And we are looking forward to getting it going.” 

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