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March 14, 2024 Deal Watch

United Way HQ building in Hartford slated for conversion to 47 apartments

COSTAR United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut’s current headquarters at 30 Laurel St., in Hartford.

A development team is planning to convert a 33,000-square-foot office building near the northern edge of Hartford’s Pope Park into 47 apartments.

The Capital Region Development Authority is considering a request from Spectra Construction & Development and its project partners for a $3.52 million low-interest loan to help finance the office-building conversion at 30 Laurel St.

The project has an estimated $9.75 million budget. Other financing will include a $3.9 million senior loan, $1.8 million in equity and $534,609 in deferred developer fees.

Daniel Klaynberg

Spectra CEO Daniel Klaynberg said he is still talking with banks to get the best terms, but an approved CRDA loan would make the project a certainty.

Klaynberg said he is under contract to buy the 1930-vintage Laurel Street building from the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. The building currently hosts a handful of nonprofits, whose leases expire this year, Klaynberg said.

The redeveloped property will include a mix of studio and one-bedroom apartments featuring high ceilings and exposed brick. It could also include some affordable units. 

Klaynberg said he was attracted to the building’s location between downtown Hartford and the Parkville neighborhood, which has been growing in vitality.

Downsizing office space

Eric Harrison

Eric Harrison, president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, said the sale of the organization's Hartford headquarters has been a priority since he took over as CEO in late 2021. 

In fact, the building was put on the market a few months after he started his current job, he said. 

Harrison said the United Way needs far less space given that staff have embraced a more flexible, remote work model and perform much of their duties out in the community. Additionally, selling the building will remove United Way’s burden of being a landlord.

"Our mission is to mobilize resources for children and families," Harrison said. "Alleviating the current time spent managing our property and serving as a landlord will allow for greater community impact. Ultimately, spending less on operations and more on programs is a win for the United Way and the community." 

Harrison said United Way aims to downsize to about 10,000 square feet of leased "vibrant and open" space on a single floor in Hartford. The organization is performing "due diligence" and plans to announce its new home in the coming months, he said. 

Programs funded by the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut provided education, income, health and basic needs services to 290,927 children and adults last year. 

In fiscal year 2022, the United Way reported $12.7 million in revenue and a $2.3 million surplus, according to its most recently available tax filing. 

"We appreciate our longtime nonprofit tenants and everyone who made 30 Laurel St. such a special place," Harrison said. "It is a beautiful building and really intended to be residential at this point in its history. I'm excited for its future residents and the Parkville community." 

The building has been marketed by John McCormick, Patrick Mulready and Anna Kocsondy of CBRE. It was listed with an original asking price of $2 million.

McCormick said there has been plenty of interest in the property from potential owner-occupants, developers and nonprofits over the nearly 15 months it has been on the market. 

Klaynberg is partnered with brothers Matthew and Evan Levy in the planned conversion. This is the latest in a series of projects the trio have undertaken together.

They are nearly finished with the conversion of two former Hartford municipal buildings that will create 42 apartments in a building at 525 Main St., and 35 units inside a former firehouse at 275 Pearl St. Unlike the proposed Laurel Street project, both of those buildings will feature first-floor retail space. 

Klaynberg said he hopes to begin welcoming tenants in the redeveloped municipal buildings in July or August. 

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