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May 8, 2024

UConn targets 64 Pratt St. for potential Hartford dormitory

HBJ PHOTO | DAVID KRECHEVSKY 64 Pratt St., Hartford.

The University of Connecticut’s search for student dormitory space downtown is now focused on Pratt Street.

The Capital Regional Development Authority will discuss the potential for redeveloping 64 Pratt St. into a UConn dorm during its Housing & Neighborhood Committee meeting Thursday. The address is listed under “new projects” on the meeting’s agenda with the note “UConn Dormitory Project” beside it.

UConn officials have said previously they would like to add student dormitory space downtown, and that the effort would likely include a partnership with a private developer who would convert an empty or underutilized office building into student housing.

The property at 64 Pratt St. is an annex to 242 Trumbull St., which was acquired last year by Shelbourne Global Solutions. Shelbourne, based in Brooklyn, New York, is the central business district’s largest office landlord. It purchased the mixed-use office/retail complex at 242 Trumbull St. for $4.75 million in June 2023 and at the time expressed plans to convert part of the property into apartments. 

The 324,000-square-foot property includes the eight-floor office and retail building at 242 Trumbull St., which is across the street from the XL Center; the five-floor annex building at 64 Pratt St.; and the two-floor building at 40 Pratt St.

The annex entrance at 64 Pratt St., which is closed to vehicle traffic, is about a 10-minute walk from the UConn Hartford campus, located in the former Hartford Times building on Prospect Street. It is also nearly right across the street from the XL Center, where UConn is finalizing a five-year lease for space it will retrofit to host a new agricultural and food science program, sports medicine center, mental health clinic and two lecture halls.

School officials have said UConn could begin offering downtown housing options by the end of this year or in 2025. In addition to serving undergraduate students, a downtown dorm could also accommodate students from UConn’s Hartford-based law school and Farmington-based medical school campus.

UConn officials have said the school is considering a pilot program in which it would lease downtown apartments from a private landlord and make the units available to students.

A similar model is used for its campus in Stamford, where UConn leases three residential buildings that house about 500 students who live in suite-style apartments. UConn directly manages those residence halls, and said it plans to lease additional space near its Stamford campus this fall to increase student housing options there.

The university also has student housing available near its downtown Waterbury campus, but it operates in a slightly different manner.

UConn Provost Anne D’Alleva told the Hartford Business Journal in March that student demand for housing in Stamford is high, “and we believe that demand would be equally strong for a residential experience at the Hartford campus.”


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