Beulah Prepares To Build Anew

Paul Bass PhotoAnother builder is looking to bring new apartments to the Newhallville-Dixwell border — and this time they’d all be affordable.

The builder, the faith-based not-for-profit Beulah Land Development Corporation, unveiled its new plans at Thursday night’s monthly meeting of the Dixwell Community Management Team at Dr. Reginald Mayo Early Childhood School.

Beulah Land is affiliated with Beulah Heights Pentecostal Church on Orchard Street near Munson. Under the direction of Bishop Theodore Brooks, the church responded to a crisis in the 1990s — the murder of a 7-month-old baby shot dead by a crack dealer in an apartment next door — by transforming a block of crack houses into a community of quality homes for low-income and working families. (Read about that in the third section of this story.)

Now Beulah is looking to build three new projects in the neighborhood, Beulah’s Pastor Darrell Brooks told the management team Thursday night.

The first project, estimated to cost $840,000, would redevelop 232 Munson St. and a second nearby lot to quality housing for low-income residents. Brooks said this development would add five units of housing to the city’s housing stock.

The second project Brooks discussed, at 340 Dixwell Ave., would add 60 units of housing and cost about $14 million dollars. A third project, focusing on 722 and 684 Orchard St., would turn those properties into two multi-family homes.

Beulah has put together those plans at a time when people are calling for more affordable housing to match the explosion of new market-rate housing developments, including one soon to rise nearby at 201 Munson with 385 apartments.

Aneurin Canham-Clyne Photo“When people have to choose between food and rent, you have a problem,” Brooks said. Brooks said rising rents in the historically black neighborhood threaten to push out working people and families with multi-generational roots. He called affordable housing a backbone of stable communities.

The projects are at the early stages, Brooks said; no architectural renderings are yet available. Eventually, the 340 Dixwell project will need approval from the City Plan Commission. He said the Munson Street proposal might need zoning relief unless it can be included in relief granted recently to the 201 Munson project.

Brooks came to the Dixwell management meeting to seek neighborhood support for Beulah’s request to city for a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant to help support the Munson project.

“We welcome development, but it has to be responsible,” Brooks said, contrasting the 201 Munson project.

“Luxury living at affordable prices is our goal.”

The management team decided by an enthusiastic voice vote to support Beulah’s bid.

Management Team Chair Nina Silva said Brooks’ proposal fit into the theme of the meeting, which focused on community health and anti-blight efforts. New Ward 21 Alder Steven Winter voiced support for the Beulah plan and encouraged management team members to stay abreast of City Plan Commission site plan deliberations on 201 Munson to help ensure that project is integrated into the community.

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posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 19, 2018  3:26pm

I suspect even 3/5ths would endorse this project.

On a related note, does anyone know what is happening with the mixed use project that was supposed to be built by St. Luke’s Church on Whalley?

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on January 19, 2018  3:54pm

I have always admired the the vision of Bishop T. Brooks.  In my view, all black churches should follow the lead of this blessed pioneer the city is so fortunate to have.

Beulah Heights Pentecostal Church is a manifestation of my favorite scripture in the Bible, Mat.25:31-46. 

May God continue to bless the Brooks family and the great work that you have done; and are doing in the community.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on January 19, 2018  6:08pm

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 19, 2018 2:26pm

I suspect even 3/5ths would endorse this project.

As soon as I see what the Rents will Be.Second read what he says.

The projects are at the early stages, Brooks said; no architectural renderings are yet available. Eventually, the 340 Dixwell project will need approval from the City Plan Commission. He said the Munson Street proposal might need zoning relief unless it can be included in relief granted recently to the 201 Munson project.

Notice The projects are at the early stages, Brooks said; no architectural renderings are yet available.

Brooks came to the Dixwell management meeting to seek neighborhood support for Beulah’s request to city for a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant to help support the Munson project.

Notice.Beulah’s request to city for a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant to help support the Munson project.

I will say this.Good luck.He better hurry up.From what I have be told the Gentrification Vampires have already taken over Dixwell ave and Munson st.From what I also hear that the Gentrification Vampires are trying to get that Dixwell Plaza and if they do which I think they will get.All those stores along with Christ Chapel Church will be force out.

posted by: 1644 on January 19, 2018  9:20pm

While these prices per unit are far better than what the Housing Authority is paying, they are still far above market.  The money would go much further simply buying housing on the open market.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 20, 2018  12:59pm

3/5ths, point taken on the status of the development.

1644, where in New Haven can you find new developments coming in under $170,000/unit (the cost of the first phase)? Certainly there are existing buildings that cost less, but most of them are decades old. And simply buying existing units does not increase housing supply, which is needed to address the shortage of affordable housing.

posted by: 1644 on January 20, 2018  5:10pm

Kevin:  I was looking primarily at the larger, 60 unit project, which cost $233K/unit.  If we are just looking the house poor people, what difference does it make if we use existing housing or build new?  Why wouldn’t we want to maximize the number of units we could provide by seeking the lowest cost per unit?  Yes, initial maintenance costs will be lower on new units, but do those costs overcome the cost of capital?  I am also curious as to how teh church will be able to rent these units for less than private landlords would.  Will they be off the tax rolls?  If yes, than that move just increases costs for everyone else, in a city which says it has too much tax exempt property already. Here is a whole house for sale in East Haven for $224K (asking).
https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/East-Haven-CT/pmf,pf_pt/57909807_zpid/4474_rid/globalrelevanceex_sort/41.366245,-72.751637,41.215337,-72.971364_rect/11_zm/

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on January 20, 2018  8:49pm

1644, I focused on the first project because it is more likely to be built.

In recent years, the New Haven metro regional has had one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in the country. If a non-profit buys an existing, occupied building there is a good chance that the existing, presumably low-income, tenants will be displaced.

In some cases, housing owned by non-profits is exempt from property tax. In such cases, the owner can charge below-market rents.