Demolition of the former Los Imperios restaurant and bar began on Jan. 3, 2024.
By Ronni Newton
Financing closed on Dec. 8, 2023, and with utilities disconnected and permits in place, the first phase of the construction of The Camelot is now underway at 900-904 Farmington Avenue, just east of West Hartford Center.
A backhoe got to work Wednesday morning, and by late afternoon a majority of the former Los Imperios restaurant had been leveled.
Honeycomb Real Estate Partners is developing the project in partnership with Vesta Corporation, Corridor Ventures, and Vallone Ventures.
The project will bring a total of 44 apartment homes to the property, a combination of new construction and an adaptive re-use and renovation of the now-closed 52-unit West Hartford Inn. All of the units at The Camelot will be classified as affordable housing for residents at various levels of income eligibility, ranging from those earning less than 30% of area median income (AMI) to 80% of AMI. Thirteen of the units will be for those earning less than 30% of AMI.
Lewis Brown, principal of Honeycomb Real Estate Partners, said previously that the construction period is estimated to take 15 to 16 months, Brown said, and he expects the units to be leased very quickly.
Along with demolition, the first step will be the remediation of the site, which at one point in the past contained a gas station – not the gas station next door that is currently in the stage of being renovated. The Town of West Hartford, through the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Municipal Brownfield Grant Program, received $998,000 to assist with the remediation and environmental rehabilitation.
In addition, the project was able to secure a $3 million grant through an affordable housing fund established by the Town of West Hartford in December 2022. The Town Council unanimously approved the allocation of $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support the goal of increasing its stock of affordable housing.
In June 2023, the Town Council also agreed to support the development of this milestone project by approving a fixed tax assessment of the property. The resolution allows the assessment of the property to be fixed at a value starting at $1,000,000 and increasing to $1,143,389 in year 10, but will still provide the town with more tax revenue for the property than is currently being received.
The 24 apartments in the renovated building will include 20 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units. The 20 apartments in the new portion of the project will all be two-bedroom units, and that building will include community space and amenities on the ground floor.
“The new community will feature modern kitchens, energy efficient heating and cooling, a fitness center, community rooms, and resident outdoor space just steps from all that West Hartford Town Center has to offer,” Brown said in the announcement of the closing last month.
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