Construction of the new multi-family complex will begin by the end of June following the closing of the financing by Lex-Laz West Hartford, LLC on Friday.
By Ronni Newton
The largest construction project in recent West Hartford history is set to commence later this month following the closing on the financing Friday for One Park Road, a $70 million redevelopment of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chambéry property at the southwest corner of Park Road and Prospect Avenue.
The developers, Lex-Laz, LLC and Corridor Ventures, announced Friday that the financial closure had. been completed and construction mobilization will begin next week, with plans to complete the project by the summer of 2023.
“I am very pleased to hear of the closing today,” Mayor Shari Cantor told We-Ha.com Friday. “This is a very important project for Park Road, the town, and the region. I am grateful for the significant investment by Lex -Laz and Corridor Ventures, and looking forward to seeing this long-awaited project come to fruition.”
One Park Road will include 292 apartment units, a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and studio apartments, at least 10% of which will be designated as affordable housing for at least 20 years, for residents who earn less than 80% of the area median income.
“The re-imagined property will bring much needed multi-family homes to the Park Road business district of West Hartford, while maintaining much of the green space and preserving the Sisters’ history and ensuring their homes and presence in the neighborhood for many years to come,” the developers stated in the announcement of the closing.
The West Hartford Town Council, which approved several incarnations of proposals for transforming the historic Sisters of Saint Joseph property, also made a historic move by granting a tax abatement to the developers in a vote last summer, which the developers requested after they were ultimately unable to obtain historic tax credits through the National Park Service.
It has now been nearly nine years since the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chambery, who have occupied the 22-acre property since 1898, determined they lacked a safety net and needed to downsize. They decided to seek development proposals for an “adaptive reuse of the property” that would preserve its historical elements and ensure a place for at least some of the Sisters to live.
The chapel is one element of the original property that will be preserved, and will remain a prominent fixture used as amenity space –including a fitness center, community hall, yoga room, cycling area, workstation, and lounge space for the new community. A pool and pool house will also be constructed in the courtyard area.
The Sisters of Saint Joseph will have ownership of the “west wing,” a 36-bedroom condominium complex on the property which also includes other facilities for their use, “a peaceful, contemplative courtyard between buildings for quiet reflection,” and they will be permitted to live there for as long as they like.
“Our community of Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chambery is grateful that after ten years of hard work, we are moving forward with Lex-Laz and the restoration and redevelopment of our home,” Sister Barbara Mullen, Provincial, said in a statement.
“One Park Road will preserve the beauty of the existing building, provide a home for our current Sisters, preserve open spaces and the cemetery, and be a benefit to West Hartford and the Park Road Neighborhood,” Mullen added.
The principals of Laz-Lex West Hartford, LLC include Marty Kenny, founder and principal of Lexington Partners and Alan Lazowski of Laz Investments. Corridor Ventures of Avon, CT, is led by Dan Joseph and Hagan Brown, who are principal investor in the entity. Joseph and Brown are also principals of LaSalle Road Partners, which owns several properties in West Hartford Center.
“Laz and I both feel that the One Park redevelopment is one of the most transformative projects in West Hartford since Blue Back Square” Kenny said. “It will be an economic shot in the arm for the Park Road Business District and provide a meaningful link for further revitalization of Hartford’s Parkville district to the immediate east of the property.”
“One Park Road will provide much needed housing for young professionals and empty-nesters looking to downsize,” said Lazowski. “The residents will provide important new customers for Park Road’s restaurants, businesses and the Playhouse and will add to the neighborhood’s vitality and vibrancy.”
“Corridor Ventures is excited and proud to invest in One Park Road and West Hartford,” said Joseph.
“West Hartford is one of the most successful communities in the Northeast, and Park Road is one of the town’s most up-and-coming, vibrant neighborhoods,” added Brown. “We are excited to join Lexington and Laz in this venture and hope to collaborate on more opportunities in the future.”
InnoConn Construction Management of Hartford is the general contractor for the project and Barton Partners of Philadelphia is the architect of record for the project.
According to Friday’s announcement, “the financial support of the principal lender Liberty Bank along with Holyoke, MA based People’s Bank was supplemented by the approval and placement of the largest Connecticut C-PACE loan in the history of the program. The C-PACE loan is from CT Green Bank facilitated by Castle Green Finance. C-PACE provides the project develop with access to affordable, long term financing for qualifying clean energy and energy efficiency upgrades that lower energy costs.”
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