The Q House is still on track for construction to begin next spring despite some fits and starts, including a detour through Probate Court and a subterranean discovery.
Demolition of the former Q House had the Dixwell community all abuzz back in January, stirring hope that finally, after many years, a new Q House was imminent on the horizon.
But it’s been eight months since the old building was taken down and the debris carted away and no signs of new construction since.
Mayor Toni Harp said during her latest appearance on WNHH radio’s “Mayor Monday” program that the Q House project got slightly delayed because of the death of architect Regina Winters.
Winters had done the drawings for the new Q House — and those drawings had to go through Probate Court before they could be used, Harp said. That process is now complete.
Meanwhile, the city discovered a previously unknown utility easement, or part of the site designated for use by utility companies.
City Engineer Giovanni Zinn said the city discovered the easement while doing due diligence — researching land records and titles on the property — to close on the $15 million in state funds approved for the project.
He said that now that the city has possession of the architectural drawings the design team is addressing how to deal with the utility easement.
“You don’t want to build on an easement,” Zinn said. “We have a few different strategies for addressing it. We could slightly move the building three or four feet.”
Zinn said it could be that the area of concern was designated a utility easement, but there might not be any utility lines in that location. Or perhaps what’s there served the old Q House and is no longer necessary. He said the issue should be cleared up by this fall, which is also when the administration plans to present the City Plan Commission with a site plan.
“We’re still on track,” Zinn said. “We want to be in construction in the spring. The critical path items were all the probate stuff and sorting out the ownership of the drawings. I think we all miss Regina and are sad at her passing. We had to sort out what it means for a project to have the principal architect pass away.”
Another project that Zinn said is on track for a fall unveiling is the new firing range for the New Haven Police Department at the former George D. Libby Reserve Center at 170 Wintergreen Ave. The city Engineering Department broke ground last November. Zinn said the foundation has been laid, the contract for actually building the range has been awarded. Once the range is complete, enclosing it will be one of the last steps.
“We’re moving forward,” he said.