Ground Broken For State Street Lofts

Markeshia Ricks PhotoA groundbreaking in East Rock’s Goatville section Tuesday was a celebration of not just new lofts, but of what can happen when a community and a developer actually agree on a project.

Beinfield Architecture PCCity officials and developers tossed a little dirt from a makeshift pile just across the street from what will eventually become the “State Street Lofts”—4,000 square feet of ground floor retail space with three residential units on the second floor. Just behind that will be another 232 market-rate apartments. The development is expected to have 273 parking spots—more than zoning requires—and 235 bike-parking spots.

For more than five years, plans for the abandoned for Star Supply Property, a complex of five brick structures at the corner of State, Lawrence and Mechanic streets, had come and gone. Neighbors and developers were at odds.

But almost a year ago, after meetings with community members, developers were able to come up with a plan that satisfied most of neighbors’ concerns about parking and gentrification.

Tuesday’s was the latest in a string of groundbreakings and approvals for new developments in town, with three major residential projects in the works for Wooster Square and the former Coliseum site.

Developer Andrew Montelli (pictured) of Post Road Residential Inc. said he has done a lot of developing in cities like Boston, Chicago and Washington D.C.. None, he said, have had as much community participation as the New Haven project. Developers worked with East Rock Alder Jessica Holmes to meet with the community seven or eight times to make sure that people had input.

“This is going to be a very special project,” Montelli said. “Something that will be a real treasure for the city, I hope.”

Holmes said developers listened to residents who wanted to preserve the historic charm of the Star Supply Property, while respecting the need for a project that interacted well with the homes on Mechanic Street, and made it accessible for people to walk.

“We will have a site that actually really adds to this part of the community rather than take away,” she said. “It might not be perfect for everyone, but the net, I think, will be so positive.”

City Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson said often he and Mayor Toni Harp take the lead to put development projects together and get them started. He called this project different: “The neighborhood wanted it and the market wanted it.”

Mayor Harp called the project a model for other developers in New Haven: “We are moving New Haven forward, and we are urging others to follow.”

Montelli said the architectural features of the building at State and Lawrence street will be preserved. Residential units facing Mechanic Street will be about three stories, which matches the homes that already exist in that area. As the development moves closer to Interstate 91 they will get taller, about four stories. Work has already begun to remove tanks and asbestos. Montelli said once that is complete construction will begin.

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posted by: BenBerkowitz on December 10, 2014  5:46pm

So thrilled to see this move forward. Andy is a great developer and an even better human.

posted by: DrFeelgood on December 10, 2014  6:02pm

I was looking forward to hearing about this project. Great for that area and great for New Haven. Not sure why they needed more parking than zoning required because some of the neighbors complained. Many people in New Haven don’t have cars…but regardless this should fix up that area and maybe they will even finish fixing that bridge nearby that is overdue by 5 years or so. Businesses on upper state street cannot wait I’m sure.

posted by: Bradley on December 10, 2014  6:07pm

First off, I want to thank Andy for working with the neighborhood. He and his colleagues met with the management team several times, as well as participating in meetings organized by Jessica Holmes (who also deserves kudos).

I suspect that Anonymous will be commenting shortly about the number of parking spaces. I would have happier with less parking. But (1) I’m not paying for the project and (2) I live a mile away. According to Andy, he had to increase the amount of parking in order to get financing for the project. And Jessica had to be sensitive to the concerns of her constituents who live closest to the development.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 10, 2014  6:49pm

Mayor Harp called the project a model for other developers in New Haven: “We are moving New Haven forward, and we are urging others to follow.

When the people see the rents that these gentrification vampires will be asking for,The people of New Haven will not moving forward,The people will be moving out of New Haven.

As Miguel Robles-Duran said when he wrote.
The Haunting Presence of Urban Vampires

Be very aware:vampires cannot see themselves in the mirror,they do not have a reflection; vampires can only perceive and reproduce the world in their own image, and it is this incapacity that feeds their contagious ambition.

How to Gentrify Your Neighborhood

http://youtu.be/WavTSjJkL0U

posted by: Stylo on December 10, 2014  7:20pm

@threefifths, OK, I’ll bite. What would you have done with the abandoned/blighted property instead?

posted by: LookOut on December 10, 2014  9:45pm

So glad this is moving forward.  If we don’t speed the gentrification process, the city will stagnate and we’ll move the direction of Hartford and Bridgeport.  Kudos to those that got this done.

posted by: TheMadcap on December 10, 2014  9:54pm

“But (1) I’m not paying for the project and (2) I live a mile away. According to Andy, he had to increase the amount of parking in order to get financing for the project.”

I was under the impression he had to add parking to get approval, not financing. The original plan was ready to go and including quite a bit less parking(and if I recall more units in a taller building), but as usual people had their usual conniption over parking.

posted by: ADAK on December 10, 2014  11:35pm

Happy to see something happen to this beautiful empty building. And glad part of the facade will stay in place.

The upper end of State Street has a lot of good things brewing… if only that bridge could be completed…

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 11, 2014  7:27am

posted by: Stylo on December 10, 2014 7:20pm

@threefifths, OK, I’ll bite. What would you have done with the abandoned/blighted property instead?

I would have made apartments like these apartments that the major of people can afford.I want you to check out the cost of the rents and then ask your self how come there are no developments like these being made here in this state.


https://a806-housingconnect.nyc.gov/nyclottery/AdvertisementPdf/80.pdf

posted by: David Backeberg on December 11, 2014  9:53am

I can’t believe I’m replying to three-fifths. Oh well.

In NYC, Manhattan affordable housing gets built as part of commercial projects. Most of the units are market rate, but in turn for some public funding, the developer sets aside a certain unit for subsidized units. The reason the URL 3/5s provided has the word ‘lottery’ in it is there are a limited number of subsidized units in the building, and people who are poor enough to qualify for the subsidized unit go into a lottery, and may or may not get chosen. This very thing happen in New Haven with the 360 State building, and right now, in New Haven, there are people living in that building at a subsidized rate. In 360 State, that building is 23 floors tall or whatever it is.

This building could have been much larger, but the neighborhood specifically rejected the original plan for a larger building.

posted by: meta on December 11, 2014  10:38am

So glad to see this project moving forward. This charming area of New Haven is so underutilized. Now we must demand that State Street be re-opened now! That major thoroughfare is essential to the viability of business and the rebuilding of the neighborhoods along it.

posted by: Pedro Soto on December 11, 2014  10:50am

Threefifths-
“how come there are no developments like these being made here in this state”

http://www.elmcitycommunities.com/MajorProjectWilmot.aspx
http://www.elmcitycommunities.com/MajorProjectWilliam.aspx
http://www.elmcitycommunities.com/MajorProjectQuinnipiac.aspx
http://www.elmcitycommunities.com/MajorProjectWestRock.aspx

Plus 360 State ,Winchester, the new Farnham Courts and the Coliseum redevelopment all/will have affordable housing components in them.

It certainly is a problem that this isn’t being done in other cities, but I think New Haven is doing ok on this front.

posted by: Stylo on December 11, 2014  11:38am

3/5, c’mon. You can’t compare NYC to New Haven. It’s 100x bigger of a city, and FAR more expensive.

That building is probably going to be flooded with requests and puts a very, very small dent in that market as far as affordability.

Also what you’re suggesting is subsidizing housing with taxpayer money. You’re asking the city and state to take on more debt. How is that fiscally responsible when there’s already plenty of subsidized housing in the city?

Don’t you realize that the inventory in the city is sorely lacking, and that’s keeping prices artificially inflated? The only way to curb that is to build more housing, and I’m sorry to say - but the demographic that gets its housing subsidized is not driving those rental prices up. It’s simple supply and demand.

Lastly, revenue from new construction permits, property tax, the halo effect of more residents buying more things is all positive. More retail and need for construction and services means more jobs. How is that bad?

You can only artificially inflate a city for so long before it goes bankrupt, crime gets out of hand, and poverty ensues. Is that really the better option?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 11, 2014  12:18pm

posted by: David Backeberg on December 11, 2014 9:53am

I can’t believe I’m replying to three-fifths. Oh well.

In NYC, Manhattan affordable housing gets built as part of commercial projects. Most of the units are market rate, but in turn for some public funding, the developer sets aside a certain unit for subsidized units

You are correct.The developer sets aside a certain unit for subsidized units.

The reason the URL 3/5s provided has the word ‘lottery’ in it is there are a limited number of subsidized units in the building, and people who are poor enough to qualify for the subsidized unit go into a lottery, and may or may not get chosen. This very thing happen in New Haven with the 360 State building, and right now, in New Haven, there are people living in that building at a subsidized rate. In 360 State, that building is 23 floors tall or whatever it is.

You can fix this problem by Stipulate that all development must include at least 20% affordable priced such that annual housing costs will be no more than 30% of the median wage and 20%low-income housing,just as a matter of course as in,not in exchange for any tax breaks/credits or FAR exemptions/modifications.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 11, 2014  12:30pm

posted by: Stylo on December 11, 2014 11:38am

3/5, c’mon. You can’t compare NYC to New Haven. It’s 100x bigger of a city, and FAR more expensive.

That building is probably going to be flooded with requests and puts a very, very small dent in that market as far as affordability.

Also what you’re suggesting is subsidizing housing with taxpayer money. You’re asking the city and state to take on more debt. How is that fiscally responsible when there’s already plenty of subsidized housing in the city?

The problem is not subsidized housing.The problem is there is not enough affordable housing.What do you do with the people who can not get subsidized housing.Where are they going to live?

posted by: Cove'd on December 11, 2014  12:36pm

Can’t wait to see how much parking gets unused by the residents there - underutilized parking that’ll prove to be inefficiently used space that could have otherwise been more housing. More housing equals more affordability.

posted by: Bradley on December 11, 2014  1:17pm

Joe Schmoe, the developers made a business decision to provide more parking than legally required. We agree that the project will probably end up with unused spaces, but neither of us are putting our money into the project.

posted by: Cove'd on December 11, 2014  2:02pm

Doesn’t make it any less sad, for the city and for the developers.

posted by: Stylo on December 11, 2014  2:05pm

Threefifths, New Haven IS including affordable housing in a lot of what should be fully market rate developments. What you are talking about is most certainly subsidization. Again, building new apartments in VACANT land where there’s no residential is not going to drive prices up. It’s just going to improve the city. If the city was razing affordable housing, that would be one thing, but they’re not. They’re building more of those too, including subsidized apartments. Look at all the developments you are calling “gentrification vampires”:

- this project: formerly industrial, derelict
- Crown & College: formerly a parking lot, and very little retail
- Howe Street & Chapel: formerly a parking lot
- Church Street renovation: formerly an office building
- Wooster Street projects: former office space or industrial land

What is the problem? These projects are going to help stabilize rent in a city with a scarcity problem, not raise it. They’re going to bring more people to the city, more vibrancy, increase activity (which decreases crime), provide jobs.

What is the negative? This is not NYC.

posted by: Bradley on December 11, 2014  2:20pm

3/5ths, are you aware that there were over 40,000 applicants for the 124 units developed in the last round of the NYC Housing Authority lottery?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on December 11, 2014  2:59pm

posted by: Bradley on December 11, 2014 2:20pm

3/5ths, are you aware that there were over 40,000 applicants for the 124 units developed in the last round of the NYC Housing Authority lottery?


Correct and you would have the same problem here.But like I said The problem is not subsidized housing.The problem is there is not enough affordable housing.

posted by: TheMadcap on December 12, 2014  10:03am

” the developers made a business decision to provide more parking than legally required.”

No, but they didn’t. Their original plan called for substantially less parking before people threw a parking fit. From a business perspective an urban housing development in fact seeks as few parking spaces as possible, parking spaces in fact cost a lot of money and do not generate revenue for them.

posted by: mechanic on December 12, 2014  12:43pm

Is Ben Gross still attached to this project?  If so, he deserves big kudos for taking a beating from the neighborhood, and then coming back with a new collaborative plan.  While I agreed with the neighborhood concerns, it takes a lot of character to take that feedback and come back with a new plan.

posted by: robn on December 12, 2014  1:19pm

Subtracting the devlopers balk after the recession hit (reasonable) it’s actually been two years of haggling with the neighborhood. This is WAY too long; partly because public officials were, for a time, inappropriately making asks that had nothing to do with the zoning variance process for a private development. NH needs to behave like other cities and standardize it’s public review and approvals process. And BTW, whatever happened to Ben Gross?

posted by: Rico_Suave on December 12, 2014  3:37pm

This is going to be a great project for the City and this project in concert with the new gym that is being built will make East Rock an even better neighborhood.  In reponse to 3/5ths and others who have called for more affordable housing, they should be reminded that we cannot have our cake and eat it too. With limited density no developer can afford to build affordable units. Additionally, without either rental or tax subdidies affordable units do not pay for themselves.