A Hartford real estate firm is leading an effort to redevelop a key corner in the city’s North End with new residential, office and retail units.
7 Summits Realty CEO Rohan Freeman on Tuesday said his firm is looking to secure public and private funding to build a four-story mixed-use development on vacant city-owned land at the corner of Albany Avenue and Woodland Street. The $20-million proposal includes 50 apartment units and retail/office space.
Freeman’s firm has committed $1.5 million to the project and is seeking the remaining $19.5 million from several potential funders. They include the quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA); the city of Hartford; Trinity Health of New England; the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
The Hartford Redevelopment Agency awarded the project to 7 Summits this summer, but Freeman has been looking to revitalize the corner of Albany Avenue and Woodland Street for years.
Freeman, a Jamaica native now living in Hartford, began meeting with community members more than two years ago about how to overhaul the unused property to meet the needs of the neighborhood.
Public input, he said, will continue to play a large part in the type of retail and office tenants selected for spaces.
“This process has been very open and also has strong support from the community leaders and organizations,” Freeman said. “They are 100 percent on board and are pushing this very hard. We don’t want to disappoint the community and the folks who have supported us throughout this process.”
According to plans, the top two floors of the 80,000-square-foot building would include a mix of 50 studio and one-bedroom apartments, and the second floor is likely to house one office tenant in about 20,000 square feet. The majority of the street-level space would be used for retail, in addition to a portion earmarked for office use.
Tenants would have access to 122 parking spaces behind the building and another 30 spaces across the street.
Work at the site could begin as early as June with eight to 10 months of construction on the first phase, focusing on the retail units, being completed by fall 2020. The offices and apartments would then be completed by early 2021.
Freeman, who was recently named to the Connecticut Business & Industry Association’s board of directors and also owns his own engineering firm in the city, said the community has expressed interest in bringing a financial institution, diner or lunch/dinner restaurant to the development. The area already has an abundance of takeout eateries, he said.
Although Freeman has a clear vision for the project, he still needs to figure out who is going to shoulder the majority of the $20 million price tag.
Freeman said he planned on securing financial partners by now, but he’s still hopeful funders will begin to step forward in the coming weeks to keep the planning process moving.
“I think we have gotten positive feedback from the people we have spoken to,” he said. “We are turning over every rock, it’s not a simple project. Everyone is on board in terms of making this happen.”
Full article: https://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20m-mixed-use-development-eyed-in-hartfords-north-end