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Construction Ready to Begin on Multi-Family ‘540 New Park’ Project in West Hartford

Rendering of 540 New Park. Courtesy of Amenta Emma Architects (we-ha.com file photo)

Trout Brook Realty Advisors has closed on the financing for 540 New Park, and construction should begin in February.

Current view of 540 New Park Ave. Courtesy of West Hartford Housing Authority

By Ronni Newton

Construction of West Hartford’s newest transit-oriented project – a $20 million mixed-use, mixed-income, multi-family residential and retail development – is set to begin in February 2021 with completion planned for May 2022.

According to Trout Brook Realty, the development arm of the West Hartford Housing Authority, the closing on the financing was completed last week. The project is being financed with federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the Connecticut Finance Housing Authority (CHFA) as well as additional subordinate financing from the Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH).

Trout Brook Realty Advisors said the property will be developed in partnership with the Washington, DC-based National Housing Trust Communities (NHTC).

The 1.81-acre site – at 540 New Park Ave. in West Hartford – is currently occupied by a long-vacant Acme Auto Parts warehouse which will be demolished. The site is designated as a brownfield, and will be remediated as part of the redevelopment.

According to Town of West Hartford records, demolition permits have already been issued.

Troutbrook Reality developed 616 New Park several years ago, and that property, which was completed in the spring of 2018, has frequently been cited as an example of successful transit-oriented development, not just for the town but for the region. West Hartford’s Plan of Conservation and Development, adopted in 2020, has targeted transit-oriented development as an objective for the New Park Avenue corridor, and 540 New Park – located equidistant from the Flatbush and Elmwood CTfastrak stations – is a key component of that goal.

“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,” West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor said. “This is exciting news, especially during theses challenging times.”

Redevelopment of the long-vacant property, which occupies a prominent site in West Hartford’s most vibrant and up-and-coming areas, will “help continue the resurgence of the New Park corridor,” Cantor said.

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

George Howell, CEO of the West Hartford Housing Authority and corporate secretary of Trout Brook Realty Advisors, said the 540 New Park development will have impact beyond the New Park Avenue corridor, and “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.”

The development will include 52 units, 27 two-bedroom apartments and 25 one-bedroom apartments, with “young, working professionals in their 20s and 30s” as the target demographic.

Forty-one of the units will be designated as “work force” housing – available to those with incomes 60% or less of area median income. Based on 2020 figures, that would mean $43,140 for an individual and $61,560 for a family of four.  Eleven of the units will be market rate.

Projected rents for work force units could be approximately $1,155 and below per month for a one-bedroom and $1,386 and below per month for a two-bedroom, while projected monthly rents for market rate units could be approximately $1,465 for a one-bedroom.

The development has been designed by Amenta Emma, and Principal Anthony Amenta said previously that the design will combine the area’s industrial roots with a modern look that creates a statement for the town. Units 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.

Commercial space is planned for the first floor.

As the West Hartford Housing Authority’s development arm, Trout Brook Realty completed other projects in West Hartford in addition to 616 New Park, including include Elm Grove at 11 Grove Street, Alfred E. Plant at 759 Farmington Avenue, The Goodwin at 189 Newington Road, and The Faxon at 1078 New Britain Avenue.

The mission of both the West Hartford Housing Authority and Trout Brook Realty Advisors” is to create, preserve, and revitalize a wide range of housing and community development opportunities – from market-rate, to work-force, to affordable – that serve a diverse mix of households within Central Connecticut.”

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