Ground was broken on a 158 new mixed-income lofts—and, in the process, a new 24-hour neighborhood in Science Park
That hopeful prophecy emerged during elaborate ceremonies Tuesday afternoon involving, count ‘em, no fewer than nine shovelers.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Mayor John DeStefano and an army of city and state economic development and housing officials gathered to mark the launch of Winchester Lofts.
That’s the snazzy moniker for a $60 million, 200,000 square-foot new neighborhood being created by a partnership between the city, state, and the Ohio-based Forest City Residential Group within the historic former industrial complex of the Winchester Repeating Arms Factory.
The project aims to breathe new life along the main thoroughfare connecting the northern eastern ends of the Dixwell and Newhallville neighborhoods; and to bring not just workplaces, but homes and stores to the avenue.
Click here to read an article with details of the approvals given by the City Plan Commission for the development, which aims to have 20 percent of its units priced as “affordable.”
The rest will be market rate aimed at empty-nesters, graduate students, and folks wanting to downsize and move back into historic New Haven, said Abe Naparstek, the company’s vice president for East Coast development.
Naparstek estimated the rents will at $1,800 a month.
The building’s financing includes $10.6 million of Forest City’s own money, a $23 million bank loan, $19.6 million in federal and state historic tax credits, and a competitive $4 million state grant for multi-family dwellings, which in part was what the governor was there to mark.
As with the headquarters next door of the Higher One financial services company, which renovated an abandoned old factory, the building housing the new lofts will retain the historic character on the facades as much as possible.
The federal historic tax credit program is administered by the National Park Service. One of the requirements is that all the apartments created will be rentals for at least five years. Naparstek said Forest City, which operates 40,000 rental apartments across the country sticks with the rental model. Winchester Lofts will be their first project in New Haven.
In his remarks Yale University Vice-President Bruce Alexander traced the university’s and the city’s collaborations in creation of the Science Park high-tech center in the abandoned old Olin-Winchester rifle-factory complex, the placement and retention of Higher One, and then new storefronts waiting for lease across the street.
“Science Park started 30 years ago to turn this brownfield into a research facility,” Alexander said. He cited 800 Yale employees now in Science Park, with the latest investment the parking garage and the retail space on Winchester. “That retail is awaiting a 24-hour population. Today we add that 24-hour population to Science Park.”
Work crews have already been on the job for a month. There is an aggressive schedule, with an opening of the actual apartments scheduled for a year from now, Naparstek said.