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July 27, 2015 Deal Watch

W. Hfd. plans transit-oriented development on New Park Ave.

Rendering | Contributed Artist's rendering of a proposed apartment-commercial building at 616 New Park Ave., West Hartford.
PHOTO | Contributed 150 Sandbank Road, Cheshire.

The West Hartford Housing Authority (WHHA), fresh off the debut of its newest mixed-market rate housing development in town, is readying its next building project.

The housing authority, through its nonprofit development arm Trout Brook Realty Advisors, is preparing to transform the vacant, former Pontiac Center site at 616 New Park Ave. into a $19 million, four-story building with ground-floor retail and community space and 54 living units on its three upper floors.

As previously reported, the WHHA in late 2014 acquired the approximately two-acre dealership site that sits next door to the newly opened New Park/New Britain Avenue stop for the CTfastrak busway.

Such transit-oriented development is an intended offshoot of the busway's development, according to state and local transportation and economic development officials. Locating housing close to transit stops and transportation corridors enables a diverse range of households to reside in wealthier communities like West Hartford, they say.

Housing authority Executive Director George Howell said the pricetag for the development — known internally for now as “6-1-6'' — will be financed through a combination of low-income housing tax credits, state housing grants and a conventional mortgage.

Around 15 units would be earmarked for working residents with qualifying incomes, with their rents tied to the town's median household income; the other 49 would be leased at market rates, Howell said.

According to Howell, a one-bedroom unit for a qualified “workforce'' resident at 6-1-6 would run $964 a month vs. $1,300 a month for a market-rate tenant. A two-bedroom “workforce'' unit would lease for $1,201 a month vs. $1,500 a month for the same unit leased to market occupants, he said.

Beneath, on the ground floor, 6-1-6 will have about 3,000 square feet of commercial retail space on the building's south end, facing the busway station, Howell said. It will also house a small gym/fitness center, community conference room and extra storage space for residents.

Hartford's Amenta Emma Architects is 6-1-6's designer. The authority will search for a building contractor within 30 to 60 days, beginning with a request for qualifications, Howell said.

If all holds, construction would begin sometime next summer, with occupancy set for late 2017 at the earliest, he said.

In June, the WHHA unveiled The Goodwin, a 47-unit mixed-rate residential building at 189 Newington Road whose living units bear the same “working'' and “market-rate'' pricing as proposed for 6-1-6, Howell said.

The Bridge, Avon

Nonprofit counseling center The Bridge has leased 2,040 square feet, or half the office space at 45 West Main St. in Avon.

Founded in 1969, The Bridge now has several locations statewide, offering family resource centers, youth and family services and residential care to the community.  

Sentry Commercial represented The Bridge. CB Richard Ellis-New England represented landlord Avon Allies LLC in the lease.

Rankin’s Cheshire space

Illinois commercial heating/cooling/ventilation services vendor The Rankin Group Inc. has leased 12,760 square feet of industrial/flex space at 150 Sandbank Road in Cheshire for its new regional service depot.

From that location, Rankin will provide its temporary heating/cooling/dehumidifying equipment and services to industrial-commercial customers in New England and the New York/Mid-Atlantic region, brokers say.

O,R&L Commercial LLC represented landlord Marshall Enterprises. Cushman & Wakefield in Hartford represented The Rankin Group, of Lombard, Ill.

With the Rankin lease, the 30,630-square-foot building is fully leased, brokers say.

Cronin’s renewal

Glastonbury marketing communications firm Cronin & Co. has renewed its 23,795-square-foot lease at 50 Nye Road.

Sentry Commercial represented Cronin. CBRE-New England represented landlord Nye Road Partners LLC in the lease.

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Gregory Seay is the Hartford Business Journal News Editor.

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