New Cedar Hill Complex Aims For The Middle

Allan Appel Photo A burned-out former home for itinerant railroad workers has been reborn as modern apartments renting for $1,550 to $2,100 a month (for the one-bedrooms).

The team responsible for the gut-rehab reclamation of the brick 1929 YMCA railroad building — the fast-growing Ocean Management real estate company — cut the ribbon on the new 21-unit complex at 1435 State St. Tuesday evening. It brings new life to an abandoned, rundown stretch of Cedar Hill, a compact neighborhood near the Hamden border that historically has struggled with crime and blight.

Property manager Mendy Paris said the company bought the solid brick rectangle last year in a private transaction for $550,000. It invested another $3.5 million in a gut rehab that retained the original long corrdidors, the facade, and 1920s doors as well as utilized high ceilings and odd corners to create apartments with a range of shapes and views; if you’re a railroad afficianado, you might want to have a look.

The building sits on the east side of State, across from the back of East Rock, just above Rock Street.

Ocean Management—owned by Shmuel Aizenberg and run day to day by Mendy Katz—manages about 750 apartments throughout New Haven. Katz said 1435 State is the company’s maiden voyage as a developer.

The new complex on display Tuesday evening has a washer and dryer in every apartment, a gym room, a security fence, fob keys, a flower or vegetable planter box for each apartment, and marble tiles in the bathrooms. A spacious “concourse” akin to what you might find in a railroad station stretches out in a communal backyard and adjacent to the railroad tracks, where gas grills for those outdoor barbecues, will soon be installed.

“We see [Randy] Salvatore and the other big developers, and we see a still strong demand” in New Haven for studios, one, and two-bedroom apartments renting at lower prices than comparable downtown units, said Katz.

“It’s nice to take something that was dilapidated and turn it into something fresh. It’s good for us, and good for New Haven,” Katz added.

Paris said that nine of the 21 units, mostly the studios, have already been rented, with many people on a list to tour the apartments.

Of those renters, who have been in the building for month, one is a graduate student. The rest are what Paris termed members of the middle income workforce, the building’s target population of potential tenants.

The building’s 21 units vary in size and price. The studio monthly rents range from $1,000 to $1,600, the one-bedrooms from $1,550 to $2,100, and the two-bedrooms from $1,950 to one long unit at $2,700.

“If we had the Yale shuttle, we’d do better,” said Paris, but his colleague Ocean Management partner Katz said he is confident the building will be filled up in a month or two.

So confident in fact that the company has purchased the adjoining property to the north, a long vacant commercial warehouse. It plans to convert that in the months ahead into additional rentals similar to those at 1435 State.

“We’ve put a lot of money into security and electronic access to make a little secure community on the edge of East Rock,” Paris added.

The new development includes a spacious backyard area, a long rectangle that parallels the adjacent railroad tracks. It has been conceived by architect Brooks Fisher as a kind of concourse, similar to that along which you would walk to board your train at a large terminal.

To tie in with that motif, the planter beds, one for each of the apartments, use a railroad tie motif. Barbecue grills are coming, along with an electronically gated security fence.

A more official opening is in the works with the mayor, economic development officials, and the Cedar Hill management and block watch teams.

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posted by: anonymous on September 13, 2017  2:32pm

It would be great to see a small train station built in this area, served by Shoreline East and the new Hartford-New Haven Line.

Workers could board frequent trains to get to their jobs in Hartford, Fairfield County, or even just a job in downtown New Haven.

Probably makes more sense than building the new stations that are planned for North Haven, Hamden, and Orange.

posted by: alphabravocharlie on September 13, 2017  2:51pm

I worked in that building for many years. I’d like to see what they made of my former office.

posted by: RatashaSmith on September 13, 2017  2:51pm

Another apartment complex ready to cater to Yale graduates and its associates. Still waiting for apartments that cater to New Haven’s working class. With a household income of $79,000, I should not have to live in low-income housing units.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on September 13, 2017  5:37pm

posted by: RatashaSmith on September 13, 2017 3:51pm

Another apartment complex ready to cater to Yale graduates and its associates. Still waiting for apartments that cater to New Haven’s working class. With a household income of $79,000, I should not have to live in low-income housing units.

I was going to comment. But you said it for me.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on September 13, 2017  9:05pm

RatashaSmith, you’re right about the need for affordable working class housing. But the usual guideline for affordability is paying no more than 30% of your household income on rent. For someone with a household income of $79,000, that is a bit less than $2,000 per month. It appears that most of the one-bedroom and some of the two-bedroom units in this building would be affordable for such a household.

posted by: RatashaSmith on September 13, 2017  9:26pm

Kevin McCarthy—

With $100k in student loan debt and a 6 year old, their 2 bedrooms aren’t realistic for my family’s budget. Plus electricity, gas and car payments and insurance. We can chuck it up to we should have made better choices when choosing our colleges of choice but we all know we wouldn’t of even reached $79,000 without a college education most likely.

posted by: theNEWnewhaven on September 13, 2017  11:54pm

Ratasha,

this complex did EXACTLY what you need.

It added units to the pot so you have a chance to rent out an existing space somewhere else.

If you are worried about living in NH on a budget there are MANY places in town that would fit.

If you want to live across from East Rock Park, well, you’ll pay for it.

Any new construction, in my opinion, should NOT be low income.

That’ll trickle down to those units that aren’t renting elsewhere.

Have you tried West River, the Hill, Interior Fair Haven, Fair Haven Heights, Exit 8, Edgewood.


Or,...ANYTHING that isn’t new construction or rehab?

Let’s get serious about what we’re expecting here.

100k in student loans and a young child, you may also want to broaden your reach to Derby or somewhere less transient.

Landlords will get asking price because of location and finishes. It sucks, I have similar debt and needs,... but I understand that I have to work with New Haven, not the other way around.

The only answer to our woes is to ADD units for others to take so we can have a chance at units they would otherwise be willing to pay more for.

posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017  6:11am

It’s great that this derelict building has been renovated.  I do have to wonder about the market the owners expect to rent to.  These rents are comparable to, or more than, rents at “The Union” (i.e., the former Union Trust building).  Yet, renters will not be able to walk out onto the Green, walk to great restaurants, clubs, theaters, or downtown or medical center jobs.  The site itself is squeezed between busy State Street and the railroad.  Whole houses in the suburbs, often in bucolic locations, rent for similar prices.  This location has neither the excitement and convenience of urban life nor the peace and beauty of suburban life.

posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017  6:22am

RS:  It’s too late for you, but joining the CT National Guard means free tuition at all state colleges, UConn, SCSU, Gateway, etc., plus a GI Bill stipend for living expenses plus drill pay.  In New York, the state will pay tuition at many private schools as well, including some pretty good ones, like Fordham.  Another alternative is the post-911 GI Bill, which covers in-state tuition and a stipend for anyone who has served over 180 days on active duty.

posted by: RatashaSmith on September 14, 2017  8:12am

I know during my early college years I was spolied down South by being able to rent a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment of quality for $650. I’m not asking for that. It would be nice to find a 2 bedroom apartment around $1000 to $1300 that isn’t infested or have drunks and drug dealers hanging out in front. We keep believing in this trickle down economics ideology and it’s not working. And I know because my rent has gone up two years in a row and I live in Beaver Hills. As of now, the only place I could see living in my price range for a decent apartment is in Newhallville but then I would be comfortable indoors, but unsafe outdoors. If we are going to keep building these developments all I’m asking is maybe take the Winchester Loft approach, making it mixed-income, having apartments for people that make between $35,000 and maybe $50,000 that don’t break the bank. The middle class is getting murdered here. While at he same time, people are paying $3 for rent living in Brookside’s subsidized housing living better than me. And people wonder why people are not trying to get off the system anytime soon. It is just my hopes that millenials like myself, that didn’t graduate from Yale, don’t get left behind.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on September 14, 2017  9:29am

Ratasha, I suspect there are lots of people in your position, earning good money but carrying a ton of student loans. That’s why I said “a household” rather than “you” - it would have been presumptuous for me to make any statements regarding your specific situation.

1644, I had similar thoughts. But I think The District, which is a couple of blocks away, will make a significant difference in the area. Also, this building is across the street from East Rock Park.

posted by: JCFremont on September 14, 2017  10:35am

I agree with 1644 that the rents do seem to be downtown, East rock range. Know the area bit of a hike to find a gourmet pizza place much less an overpriced cup of cofee?

posted by: 1644 on September 14, 2017  11:18am

RS: Are you set on living in New Haven?  Here is a decent 2 bedroom in Branford for $1300: https://newhaven.craigslist.org/apa/d/branford-spacious-2-bedroom/6299360655.html
It’s not the best neighborhood, but much better than Newhallville. 
Your comments on living in the South illustrate why we have lost so many people and jobs to the South.  It’s just cheaper to live and do business there.  Right now, we are losing to NYC and Boston on culture, and to the South on price. I was near Spartanburg, SC for the eclipse.  They not only have a Uretek plant, but BMW and Michelin plants as well.  Wonderful homes were available for little money, although I don’t know what salaries were.  Gasoline was $2/gallon.

Again, I understand the attraction of downtown living, and Westville, Beaver Hills and Prospect Hill, which are largely suburban, but I can’t see these rents for Cedar Hill.  As far as being facing East Rock Park,  it actually faces a garage and some low-rent apartments.  Just north is the park, but it’s not an attractive face of the park, like Livingston Street.  It’s just an overgrown hill.
As for the District, that’s pretty far away, and it’s an unpleasant walk anywhere along that section of State St.  I could see something lower down, by Modern and Christopher Martin’s, but it’s pretty junky where this development is, as well as at the “District”. I wish them well.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 14, 2017  4:23pm

Landlords will get asking price because of location

Actually, i think this is why they’re going to have issues filling the units

posted by: Josiah Brown on September 14, 2017  7:34pm

It’s good to hear about this improvement to the neighborhood and its housing options.  Let’s hope the trend continues (with a variety of price ranges), for public safety, commerce, and the quality of life.

I recommend two nearby businesses to the tenants (and to others, city-wide) who happen to own cars:

  *Cliff’s Professional Auto Detailing (1369 State Street)

  *East Rock Auto (1400 State Street)

Cliff and Paul, respectively, are the owners of these establishments.  They do fine, trustworthy work and merit neighbors’ consideration!

posted by: 1644 on September 15, 2017  9:40am

JC: I can see the advertising copy now:
- 24 hour gym
- free parking
- Close to overpriced coffee
- Granite counter-tops
:)