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Q House Vision Approved

by Thomas MacMillan | Dec 17, 2013 1:43 pm

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

Posted to: City Hall, Dixwell

Allan Appel Photo In the quest to revive the long-shuttered Dixwell Community “Q” House, the next step may be to tear it down.

That’s the recommendation of a steering committee looking into reopening the Q House, and now it’s the official recommendation of the entire Board of Aldermen.

The board voted unanimously Monday evening to adopt the recommendation, along with the rest of the committee’s plan for Q House revival.

The Q House, which stands on Dixwell Avenue, has been closed for 10 years and now belongs to the city. Restoring it to its former glory as a community hub and a safe, productive place for teens has been a priority of the current Board of Aldermen.

After studying the problem, the steering committee determined that the building has to go. It would cost “millions and millions” to rehab the structure and bring it up to code, Dixwell Alderman Jeanette Morrison, head of the committee, told her colleagues Monday evening.

A better option would be to tear the building down and build a new one, in partnership with the Stetson branch of the New Haven public library, right across Dixwell Avenue, she and the committee concluded. A public/private partnership with the library would allow for more effective fundraising, since the library can access federal and state dollars.

With the adoption of the steering committees recommendation, the Board of Aldermen is officially expressing its intention design a new building and to pursue the revival plan, although it’s unclear yet exactly where the funding for a new Q House would come from.

“We need our Q House back,” Morrison said.

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posted by: wendy1 on December 17, 2013  3:42pm

This useless eyesore, probably a PR move by the city in those days to make up for centuries of bigotry; but I dont know the details…

Yale which is putting the finishing touches on its Whitney Ave. SOM building and plans to throw a “secret” 3-day bash there for America’s ruling class, should consider doing more for New Haven’s indigent and neglected citizens in the Dixwell neck of the woods since the city can’t.  They could build a better-looking recreation and community center for less than half of what they spent on the “glass castle” for the SOM.

posted by: robn on December 17, 2013  3:44pm

Two Questions

1) In 2010, the city paid Dixwell Community House Inc a quarter of a million dollars for the property. Where did that money go?

2) If we replace the 11,000 sf with a new structure costing $200/sf, it will cost $2.2 million dollars (plus annual staff and maintenance costs which will probably be something like a quarter of that). Where will that money come from?

posted by: anonymous on December 17, 2013  4:09pm

When Dixwell Plaza is replaced, the community center should be combined with the library, but above that should be a new community-owned building with hundreds of units of mixed-income, affordable housing for families. 


“Building housing with shared common spaces becomes a hallmark of Hope’s development strategy.”

“In addition to apartments, the Wellstone offers 7,000 square feet of commercial and community space.”

“includes a playground and minority-owned neighborhood grocery.”

posted by: robn on December 17, 2013  4:14pm


The SOM cost @$150M to build; about $670/sf.

posted by: FacChec on December 17, 2013  4:33pm


1.According to the NHI archive the city’s $225K went to the Bankcrupcy court as a purchase to be owned by the city.

2. According to the NHR:

The NHR article quotes: Zared Architecture examined the building and determined the cost to bring the building up to code to be about $5 million.

Alderwomen Morrison over-states the rehab cost by saying it would cost “millions & millions”.

A new building proposal estimates the facility will be 50,126 square feet with an estimated price tag of about $13,410,220 (New).

In view of the fact that Morrison did not secure any funds for this project in the 2012/13 or 2013/14 ciy budget years, this project will be another 10 years in the planning/ funding search stage of development.

Morrison has campaigned for her last two terms on the redevelopment of the Q house, all she has to show is a report linking the Q-house to the stetson Library, who has no independent funding source.

posted by: Threefifths on December 17, 2013  6:29pm

Snake oil being sold.The city is broke.The state is Broke.Plus what happen to this plan.

New Haven aldermen approve Goffe Street Armory refurbishing plan.

NEW HAVEN—The Board of Aldermen has approved a plan to apply for about $2.8 million in state funding, which would allow the city to transform the Goffe Street Armory into a new community center.

The approval was a dream come true for Alderwoman Claudette Robinson-Thorpe, D-28, who has been trying to make this possible for the past three years.

Again Snake oil being sold.

Keep voting them in.

posted by: UBHolden on December 18, 2013  7:19am

Let’s put sentiment aside for a moment and face reality: even if someone (the state, Yale) are strong-armed into funding a new building, there is no money to sustain staff and programs for yet another nonprofit in New Haven.  Or worse, the Q House will be run by another totally unqualified individual who will run the organization into the ground, leaving us with a new, empty Q House building!

posted by: anonymous on December 18, 2013  11:22am

UB: That’s why we should have a housing developer fund and maintain the building (see above examples).  Community space and retail at bottom, hundreds of mixed and affordable apartments above.

A new stand-alone building is quite costly to maintain each year - I’d rather see that money spent to provide jobs to young men, given the 35%+ unemployment rate among all men in this area.  Additionally, a standalone library produces no tax revenue whereas an apartment complex might.

posted by: robn on December 18, 2013  11:54am


I could be on board with that idea because it would theoretically pay for itself. Its a great site for housing of some density because of its proximity to downtown. A healthy percentage of senior citizens would also be a good, constant mentoring presence in the public areas of the building where the youth center would be located.

posted by: anonymous on December 18, 2013  12:32pm

Robn, that’s good. Will you contact your Alderperson about it?

Dixwell Plaza is an utterly failed experiment of 1960s urban planning.  Let’s be honest with ourselves and stop boosting the plaza. The fact is, residents who live a half a block away avoid it, even during the day.  Retail will never succeed there in its current configuration.

The plaza could easily be replaced by a healthy, child-friendly neighborhood with libraries, minority owned businesses, and youth centers, like the examples above.

More important to the success of the plaza and the youth center, however, is the success of the nearby Whalley Avenue. If Whalley (and Goffe) continue to be developed with gas stations and parking lots, like the new Josephine Gray building was, then Dixwell Avenue has no future.  Main streets do not exist in isolation. If nobody wants to walk along or cross Whalley, then Dixwell loses half of its potential market.

posted by: Carrie Washington on December 19, 2013  11:42am

Kudos to Alderman Morrison and the other members of the Board for engaging the community in a process.  For over a decade there is hand wringing and hurt feelings about the Q House.  This points a path toward resolution.  Of course it’s huge challenge to find operational funds but as Wedny1 points out - there’s plenty of money out there.  It’s just being hoarded.

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