New Park Avenue Development In West Hartford Receives About $10M In Tax Credits

A $20 million mixed-use development project on New Park Avenue recently was awarded about $10 million in federal tax credits from the Connecticut Finance Housing Authority.

The 54-unit transit-oriented development, called 616 New Park, is expected to start construction in the fall, with completion in 2018, said George Howell, executive director of the West Hartford Housing Authority and CEO of the separate nonprofit corporation Trout Brook Realty Advisors.

Trout Brook Realty Advisors, the developer, aims to create, preserve and revitalize a wide range of housing and community development opportunities, according to the West Hartford Housing Authority site. The development will be on the former Pontiac dealership site, directly north of the Elmwood CTfastrak station.

“It’s a game changer as far as I’m concerned with respect to what is happening on the street, and what is happening in that neighborhood,” Howell said. “We bring people and activity to the table with a dramatic design.”

The development was one of six projects awarded the federal tax credits. Nineteen developers applied to CHFA, Howell said.

The development will feature mostly one-bedroom apartments, with a handful of two-bedrooms, on the building’s second, third and fourth floors, Howell said. The first floor would house a community space, workout rooms, and 3,000 square feet of commercial space, he said.

Projected rents for work force units could be about $1,055 a month for a one-bedroom and $1,259 a month for a two-bedroom, while projected rents for market rate units could be about $1,300 a month for a one-bedroom and $1,550 a month for a two-bedroom, Howell said.

Thirty-two work force units will be available to those with incomes 60 percent or less of the area median income, or, based on 2016 figures, $36,780 for an individual and $52,500 for a family, Howell said. The development also has 11 units of supportive housing specifically for veterans and 11 market-rate units, he said.

“Our target is the millennials,” Howell said. “We are really trying to make these affordable. We are trying to find a way to make certain we retain our youth.”

Town Manager Ron Van Winkle said the town has a long-term plan to change and strengthen the New Park Avenue corridor. A little more than a year ago, the town council changed the zoning of the area to allow for housing, he said. The area is zoned industrial, which normally doesn’t allow housing, he said.

“This is the first investment on that street we are seeing,” he said. “We have been working on trying to improve that neighborhood and create more opportunities for people to live, to shop and to enjoy.”

Originally published on Courant.com.