Trout Brook Realty Advisors, the West Hartford Housing Authority and others from the community held a ribbon-cutting Tuesday evening for the $10 million mixed-income apartment building in Elmwood.
By Ronni Newton
Residents began moving in back in April, but the official opening of The Goodwin, West Hartford’s newest apartment building, was marked on Tuesday afternoon with a celebratory ribbon-cutting at the entrance to the facility.
The project, which after several lengthy public hearings and some strong neighborhood opposition ultimately received approval from the West Hartford Town Council in January 2013 in a 5-3 roll call vote, was touted Tuesday by all who spoke at the ribbon-cutting as a great example for the future of housing.
Ground was broken in the summer of 2o13 for the $10 million building at 189 Newington Rd., located across the street from the Stop & Shop Plaza.
“This is a significant achievement for housing, and for the neighborhood of Elmwood and for West Hartford,” said George Howell, CEO of the West Hartford Housing Authority and its development arm, Trout Brook Realty Advisors.
Howell remarked that gaining approval for the project was a “brain-damaging process,” but thanked those who provided support and believed in the project through all stages.
Trout Brook Realty Advisors President Bob Wienner called the West Hartford Housing Authority’s first mixed-income project “a step in the direction of breaking down barriers of income and class that often separate us.”
“We’re very proud of it … and we hope to do more of it in the future and we hope you like it, too,” Wienner said.
State Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein touted the project as a “great example of mixed-income housing,” and said it is exactly the kind of project the department wants to promote.
Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor, who supported the project from the onset, said she was so proud to be at the ribbon-cutting. “This is a great place for young people to be,” she said.
“We thrive on our diversity and with diversity we need diverse housing,” Cantor said. “We really were very thoughtful about it and made this project an example,” said Cantor.
Although 15 of the of the building’s units are designated as workforce housing, all 47 of the units in The Goodwin have the same amenities, Howell said. “What you see is what everyone gets,” he said, pointing out that it’s a designated number not particular units and the affordable apartments differ only in the rental rate.
There are five one-bedroom, 36 two-bedroom, and six three-bedroom units in The Goodwin. All units in the three-story air-conditioned building are equipped with stainless steel kitchen appliances, front-loading washers and dryers, and a wireless thermostat that can be operated remotely by a smartphone. The two- and three-bedroom units have 1 1/2 bathrooms.
In addition, the entire building has free WiFi. A parklike area behind the building will eventually be landscaped and will have a grill for residents to use, Howell said.
There is also a social room available for use by all residents, and displayed on a shelf in that room is an original piece of Goodwin pottery – crafted by the company for which the building is named.
The workforce housing units, which according to Howell already have a waiting list of well over 1,000 applicants, are available to households that earn at or below $43,750 which is 50 percent of the Greater Hartford area median income. Rental rates for the workforce housing units are approximately $850 for one bedroom, $1,000 for two bedrooms, and $1,150 for three-bedroom units.
The Goodwin is now 45 percent occupied, and Howell expects it to be full by the end of August. The average age of those who occupy the market rate units is 31, and the average income of those residents, who include doctors, attorneys, engineers, teachers, nurses, pharmacists, actuaries, and physical therapists, is $74,475, Howell said.
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