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‘540 New Park’ Project Receives CHFA Federal Tax Credits, Groundbreaking Expected this Year

Rendering of 540 New Park. Courtesy of Amenta Emma Architects

Trout Brook Realty Advisors’ lastest project in West Hartford, 540 New Park, has received federal tax credits from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, paving the way for a planned groundbreaking by the end of 2020.

Former ACME Auto at 540 New Park Ave. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

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A transformative and transit-oriented project in West Hartford, 540 New Park, Trout Brook Realty Advisors’ proposed $20 million mixed-use, mixed-income residential and retail development, has been awarded federal tax credits from Connecticut Finance Housing Authority (CHFA) and additional subordinate financing from the Connecticut Department of Housing.

540 New Park will be built on the two-acre former Acme Auto Parts site and is equidistant from the Flatbush and Elmwood CTfastrak stations.  The existing vacant warehouse on site will be demolished to make way for the development. Trout Brook Realty Advisors will develop the property in partnership with National Housing Trust Communities (NHTC) of Washington DC.

“Projects such as 540 and 616 New Park Avenue [are] a manifestation of this administration’s emphasis on transit-oriented development. By investing in affordable housing we invest in community, we invest in economy, we invest in people. I look forward to this project’s completion” said Department of Housing Commissioner and CHFA Board Chair Seila Mosquera-Bruno.

“The federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program provides financing for affordable multifamily rental properties, like 540 New Park and 616 New Park, which was awarded LIHTCs in 2016. Housing that provides economic integration and access to transit can change peoples’ lives,” said Nandini Natarajan, CHFA’s Chief Executive Officer. “540 New Park has the added economic benefit of remediating a brownfield site and repurposing it for housing that will energize the neighborhood,” she added.

“West Hartford is committed to providing a variety of housing options for our residents and 540 New Park is just the latest example of a new, quality product that is financially accessible to our hardest working residents,” added West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor. “This is exciting news, especially during theses challenging times.  540 Park will also take a long vacant property in one of West Hartford’s most vibrant areas and help continue the resurgence of the New Park corridor.”

Designed by Amenta Emma Architects, the mixed-use project strives to be a model urban living community. “540 is designed to have the contemporary feel, look and amenities of a city center in an area of renewal,” Amenta Emma Principal Anthony Amenta said. “With our material choices and design, we looked both to capture the former industrial essence of the area and to make a statement that this is the new look for West Hartford.”

Much of the first floor of the stylish exterior is glass, displaying activity in retail spaces, a fitness room, community room, and lobby. The building’s exterior includes a gathering area and lush landscaping. Homes will have an open feel with high ceilings, large windows, and open living-dining-kitchen area. Interior materials and amenities in the apartments will be fresh and modern including plank floors, stainless steel appliances, and modern lighting and plumbing fixtures.

“As Trout Brook Realty Advisors’ second mixed-use Transit Oriented Development (TOD), 540 New Park will serve as an economic catalyst for the area, not only providing new customers for area restaurants, stores and businesses but also encouraging further investment and development in Elmwood,” said George Howell, CEO of the West Hartford Housing Authority and corporate secretary of Trout Brook Realty Advisors. 

The proposed 52-unit (27 two-bedroom, 25 one-bedroom) development will include a mix of market-rate and work force housing, and is expected to attract young, working professionals in their 20s and 30s. The proposal also calls for commercial use on the first floor of the building. 

Forty-one work force units will be available to those with incomes 60% or less of area median income, or, based on 2020 figures, $43,140 for an individual and $61,560 for a family of four. Eleven units will be market-rate.

Projected rents for work force units could be approximately $1,165 and below a month for a one-bedroom and $1,386 and below a month for a two-bedroom, while projected rents for market rate units could be approximately $1,425 a month for a one-bedroom.

Groundbreaking for 540 New Park is expected later this year, with completion in early 2022.

Trout Brook Realty Advisors completed the development of the neighboring 616 New Park in the spring of 2018.  The 54-unit mixed-income and mixed use property, also designed by Amenta Emma Architects, is directly adjacent to the Elmwood CTfastrak Station. It is currently fully occupied and BiCi Co., a 3,250 square foot combined bicycle repair and retail store, coffee shop, and fitness studio plan to open soon.

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