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Winchester Lofts Launched

by Allan Appel | Sep 11, 2013 8:56 am

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

Posted to: Housing, Newhallville

Allan Appel Photo 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.

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posted by: robn on September 11, 2013  9:33am

Its weird. Even though he swung hard, you can barely see the impression of Kermit Carolina’s face in Governor Malloy’s shovel.

posted by: Esbey on September 11, 2013  9:37am

Serious question—do folks think that people will want to live here?  158 apartments don’t support much retail, although the daytime work population helps.  It is not a classic walking neighborhood, given the crime rate on surrounding streets.

It is private money, so all the loss would fall on Forest City, who would have to lower rents if necessary.

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on September 11, 2013  9:50am

This is an awesome project but I’m not certain it will succeed.  In a city where the median family income is $36,000.  Rent of $1,800 per month is $21,600 a year.  With $25,000 down you could buy a $300,000 house in a nicer part of New Haven and save money from your tax deductions and potentially lower monthly payments.

With that said, I’m sure it will do fine.  It’s just not likely the investment I’d make if I had $1,800 a month to spend on an apartment.

posted by: Kevin on September 11, 2013  9:54am

Not that I have anything against middle-aged white guys (I’m one myself), but that is a rather monochromatic group!

Seriously, while I think this is a good project that will help alleviate the shortage of rental units in the city, I don’t know that it will have much impact on the neighborhood.

posted by: TheMadcap on September 11, 2013  10:29am

Judging by the rent they plan on charging, yes, they already foresee high demand for people who want to live there. Not to mention right across the street there’s already two Yale graduate apartment complexes, it’s not exactly a rough and tough neighborhood.

posted by: SteveOnAnderson on September 11, 2013  11:58am

Glad to see that I’m not the only one whose first thought was “Wow, that’s a lot of white dudes.” After tens of millions of dollars of public funding and decades of failure, the Science Park experiment continues to function as a buffer zone keeping Yale at an arm’s length from some of the most impoverished areas of the city.

posted by: LuvNewHaven on September 11, 2013  12:08pm

Atticus Shrugged, for $300k you could buy a nicer house in Hamden with lower taxes, less crime, and better schools.

TheMadcap, this place is two blocks from the Taurus Cafe, one of the roughest spots in New Haven.  I’m also pretty sure a graduate student was attacked at/near that housing within the past year.

posted by: shadesofzero on September 11, 2013  1:50pm

I’m not sure where Atticus thinks you can buy a nice house in New Haven for 300K, but I am very interested if such a thing exists.

posted by: A Contrarian on September 11, 2013  3:53pm

Esbey:

It’s a start.  As I recall, long-term plans call for a lot more housing, but this is the one project that was pulled together with all private money. I would live there if I worked at Higher One.

posted by: citoyen on September 11, 2013  5:04pm

All those guys—do they have names?

I do think they should have been identified, one by one, including the ones not mentioned in the text.

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