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March 1, 2024

Spinnaker pays $3.25M for 2.2-acre development site key to planned Hartford neighborhood

HBJ PHOTO | MICHAEL PUFFER Norwalk-based Spinnaker Real Estate, which is redeveloping an antique office building at 55 Elm St. in Hartford (seen here) into 164 apartments, just paid $3.25 million for a 2.2-acre parking lot just to the south for future development.

Norwalk-based Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, on Tuesday, paid $3.25 million for a 2.2-acre parking lot seen as key to Hartford’s efforts to build a vibrant new neighborhood south of Bushnell Park.

The purchase of the land near the city center sets the stage for the eventual redevelopment of the parcel in accordance with the city’s Bushnell South master plan, which calls for a neighborhood of 1,200 households, mixed with parks, commercial space and parking structures.

“It brings the land together,” said Capital Region Development Authority Executive Director Michael Freimuth. “This was the missing piece in the jigsaw of real estate.”

Freimuth confirmed the sale, which, as of Friday morning, had not yet been logged in the city’s online land records.

The CRDA, in January, agreed to lend Spinnaker $3 million toward the purchase of the properties at 63 and 67 Capitol Ave., and 186 Buckingham St., in February. In return, Spinnaker had to pledge the site would be barred from consideration for a new federal courthouse. The developer also agreed to three years of free parking access for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, and that the theater could seek to invest in first-floor commercial space or parking on-site as it is redeveloped.

Spinnaker had an option to purchase the property from the Simon Konover Co., and was under deadline pressure to exercise it.

A rendering of the Bushnell South development plan in downtown Hartford.

Freimuth said he doesn’t expect to see development activity on the newly acquired site for three to five years, as Spinnaker works through other Hartford projects already in the pipeline.

Spinnaker is nearing completion of its $66 million redevelopment of two antique office buildings at 55 Elm St. into 164 apartments. This development site is just north of the site Spinnaker bought from Konover. Freimuth said he expects the first apartments to begin renting by this summer.

Next, Spinnaker will move forward with ground-up construction of 180 apartments in two new buildings on the grounds of 55 Elm St., Freimuth said. He estimates that work could begin in 18 to 24 months.

CRDA has lent $13.5 million toward the ongoing construction at 55 Elm St. Of that amount, $6.5 million is a “bridge loan,” in place until historic tax credits are secured with completion of construction, Freimuth said. 

For now, the plan is to roll that funding into Spinnaker’s next development at 55 Elm St.

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