Armory Application OK’d
by Thomas MacMillan | Jul 3, 2012 1:00 pm
Lawmakers made a first step Monday night towards converting a massive old armory into a new community center—and ensuring that New Haveners are employed to convert it.
The Board of Aldermen Monday approved a proposal to apply for $2.8 million in state money to rehabilitate the former armory at 208 Goffe St.
The armory was abandoned by two National Guard units in 2008 and 2009. Ownership was later transferred from the state to the city. Click here for a peek inside the huge building.
The city is applying for four separate grants that will pay for floor refinishing, asbestos and lead abatement, engineering and design, disability-law compliance work, heating and air-conditioning, and parapet, roof, and overhead door repairs.
Chief Administrative Officer Rob Smuts has said he’s “pretty confident” the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) will give New Haven the money. The department’s spokesperson said last month that it was too soon to say what the state will decide.
If approved, the work will begin the process of reviving the building as a new community and youth center, and maybe even the future home of the Board of Ed offices. The plan was the subject of a spirited hearing last week of the aldermanic Youth Services Committee.
Beaver Hills Alderwomen Claudette Robinson-Thorpe, who has sought an armory conversion for a couple of years, presented the proposal to the Board of Aldermen Monday with Yale Alderwoman Sarah Eidelson, chair of the Youth Services Committee.
Aldermen approved a last-minute change that includes language creating an 11-person Goffe Street Armory Planning Committee comprising three aldermen, three mayor-appointed city staff members, two aldermanically selected city residents (“one of whom shall be a youth”), two mayor-selected city residents (including another youth), and a “senior New Haven resident, appointed jointly by the [aldermanic] Leadership and the Mayor.”
The committee will hold public hearings and come up with a “usage plan” for the armory, to be submitted to the Board of Aldermen.
Aldermen also approved language requiring the mayor and the board to “work together to establish a plan to maximize the number of New Haven residents working on the project to renovate the New Haven Armory.” No money can be spent on the project until the plan is submitted to the Board of Aldermen.
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posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 3, 2012 2:25pm
Did the city ever send out a Request For Proposals for this site? Is there any interest in this building for office or manufacturing use? How will the building’s maintenance be funded ie. what sources of revenue will come in from teh building’s occupancy?
It seems like nearly every school in the city could and should double as a community center - they have indoor recreation equipment, classrooms and auditoriums. The parade floor of the Amory building is a very unique space that might be a great place for recreation facilities, but I think that this use should be a last resort if we can’t find rent-paying tenants that want to lease space in the building. Every neighborhood needs to have employment centers in order to be successful and stable.
Shouldn’t we fix our existing, under-maintained, brand-new school buildings before we build more?
The schools used to be open all night and on weekends, year-round, for community activities - what happened?
Generally, building new and not maintaining what you have represents a huge misallocation of money. It is much, much cheaper to maintain a building each year than to do massive repairs later on.
Reusing this building is a good idea but we need to be smart about allocating money.
Just a WAG but this looks to be about 250,000 sf from the air. If they renovate for $100/ft (it could be double that) it means a $25M price tag of which New Haven taxpayers would foot $22.2M. If the BOA took half and vacated commercial space worth $10/ft, that’s only 1.2M/yr of income to cover costs.
We really need to see a renovation estimate, financing costs (bonds) life cycle maintenance costs and then the BOA rent to understand if this is viable.
Thank you Alderwoman Thorpe! You’ve been talking about this for a long time…but now it seems to be more than just an idea, but the parts are coming together.
I’m so happy to see the whole board is working on this project because whatever becomes of the Armory will benefit people all over the City.
I ask again; if kids need a safe place to hang out after school, why aren’t we using the school buildings?
without fully investigating the building for what it may need to bring it up to 2012 city codes,they are getting way ahead of them selves the building is almost 75 years old and has been closed for sometime the roof was extremely damaged and not repaired rain water has been pouring in,which brings out many layers of MOLD remediation VERY costly,that’s after the new roof and new windows are replaced.QUESTION 2 is having a children’s community center butting against a PRISON the right place for it. there are many buildings in the city that are in better shape and less costly for repair avail.then has anyone brought up who is going to maintain this building city janitors ?JUST WONDERING OUT LOUD