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Salvatore’s Chapel Street Project Ready To Go

by Gilad Edelman | Dec 19, 2013 9:14 am

(8) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Business/ Economic Development, Housing

The City Plan Commission approved the site plan for a 53,000 square-foot development on Chapel Street, giving the green light to an ambitious project that had been delayed by neighborhood opposition and lawsuits.

The development, which the commission approved unanimously at its regular meeting Wednesday night at City Hall, reflects a trend toward denser, mixed-use buildings on the edges of downtown.

Stamford-based developer Randy Salvatore’s project will replace a parking lot at the corner of Chapel Street and Howe Street with a six-story building containing 136 apartments and about 4,500 square feet of retail space. (Read more about the details here.) Originally proposed in August 2012 and approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals the following October, the project was at the heart of the debate last spring to change New Haven’s zoning laws to ease restrictions on precisely that kind of mixed-use development. (Read about that here.)

The owners of the nearby apartment building at 70 Howe St. brought suit earlier this year to prevent the construction. The site plan presented at the commission meeting Wednesday night reflected the result of a settlement between the developer and the plaintiffs.

According to Salvatore’s attorney, Carolyn Kone (pictured above), the project is set to begin as early as February and should be completed in spring of 2015. She noted that the settlement of the lawsuit is technically still pending court approval and the public appeal period of the commission decision, but that she doesn’t foresee any more obstacles to beginning construction.

Gilad Edelman Photo Neighbor Susan Bradford (pictured), who helped bring the suit as co-owner of 70 Howe St. LLC, said she had been concerned about the negative impact the new building would have on her tenants. She called the revised plan—which, among other changes, moves the outer wall back from the property line and replaces a roof deck with an enclosed patio—an acceptable compromise.

The proposal had also drawn criticism from neighbors concerned about preserving the historical character of the area. In response, the developers will move a historic house at 1249 Chapel St. over to an adjacent plot of land. Under the original plan, the house would have been torn down.

At the Wednesday night meeting, lead architect Seelan Pather (pictured at top of the story) attempted to allay concerns about the proposed building’s incongruity with the surrounding neighborhood. He pointed to nearby “significant buildings” like the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Art Gallery extension, and the Study hotel as inspiration for his design, which he said would replicate those buildings’ “modern expression of traditional architectural form.” 

Commission Chairman Edward Mattison was optimistic about the proposed development.

“All of us know that corner well, and not happily,” he said. “I think [the project] will make that street more viable.” 

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Comments

posted by: shadesofzero on December 19, 2013  10:29am

Excellent. With Rudy’s, Miya’s, and Tandoori already in the area, this should further expand the possibility of more retail, as well as adding some much-needed housing to the area. Should be interesting to see how the apartments are priced because the prices tend to drop precipitously once you get to Howe St and west.

posted by: robn on December 19, 2013  11:37am

Photo Caption alert…is the approved scheme the one at the top of the article or the one at the bottom?

[Ed.: It’s the one at the bottom, which is now at the top. Thanks for pointing that out.]

posted by: alexey on December 19, 2013  12:04pm

One building is pictured at the top of the article and a different building is pictured at the bottom.  Which one is going to be built? This whole thing is going to be built in just a couple of months?  Article says starting in February and completed in the spring.  Wow!

posted by: Brian Tang on December 19, 2013  12:05pm

I’m seeing two different designs in the photographs. I would be happy with either (the lower one looks substantially more architecturally daring, which I like, but not everyone does). Are there captions that I am somehow not noticing?

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on December 19, 2013  1:46pm

At first glance, the new proposal looks like an improvement over the previous design, but what cladding material and system is that?

According to Alison Gilchrist and John Herzan, authors of the “National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination for Dwight Street/West Village”, the World-War I-era apartment buildings on Howe Street contribute to the Historic District even though their scale is vastly different from the 19th-Century dwellings to the west.

The massing of the proposed building seems appropriate, though I wish it were concrete or steel frame construction and the architecture made reference to the Tudor Revival style or other Historical revival style. Also the parking solution isn’t the best, since I think the final site plan approval had it visible from the sidewalk.

Moving the existing house on the site is an excellent idea - it maintains its original context and survives demolition.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on December 19, 2013  2:55pm

So the architect wants to use 2 quality modern form buildings to associate with the RMS project?

And what about the Y building directly across the street?

This the beginning of the cheap, fast projects that will be touted as luxury housing that RMS has already built in Stamford.

The unabated puffery by city officials will not make this building any more attractive.

We know when the emperor has no clothes.

posted by: anonymous on December 19, 2013  5:58pm

Dwightstreeter:

New Haven desperately needs more housing.  Workers are being forced out to Waterbury. Older adults can’t afford to live in their single family homes and are looking for apartments here.

In fact, this is an issue of concern to the entire state.  Governor Malloy should be subsidizing more projects like these, in New Haven and Stamford, not spending hundreds of millions on suburban boondoggles.

It’s unfortunate that the developer is only doing six stories here.  A six-story building with a 10-12 story tower probably would have fit in, and provided more housing for workers who desperately need it.

Given the emerging housing crisis - one that is unprecedented for our country - I hope that we will see 50 to 100 more buildings like this one built in New Haven over the next 10 years. The city should immediately prepare for 15,000 new housing units.

posted by: Stylo on December 19, 2013  11:47pm

I think the architecture is interesting, but I did like the traditional features of the first rendering better for the neighborhood. Either way, this will be an improvement over an empty parking lot.

It’s also significant as the first large apartment new construction since 360 State Street, and the first in line of many proposed major new construction projects (George St + Coliseum + Star Supply).

Add that with the rehabbing of Wincester Lofts, 205 Church, 100 College, Jordan’s and others and there will quite the construction boom with any luck.

Hopefully we see the momentum continue.

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