Preliminary plans have been reviewed by the Design Review and Advisory Committee for redevelopment of the Sisters of Saint Joseph property at the intersection of Park Road and Prospect Avenue in West Hartford.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford’s Design Review and Advisory Committee (DRAC) held a study session last week to review plans submitted by Lexington Partners LLC for the redevelopment of the Sisters of Saint Joseph property at the intersection of Park Road and Prospect Avenue, and a site plan application is likely to be submitted in the next month.
The 22-acre property has been owned by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chambery since 1898.
“Everyone is very excited,” Director of Community Development Mark McGovern said at the Town Council’s Community Planning and Physical Services Committee meeting Wednesday morning.
Back in January 2016, the Town Council unanimously approved a Special Development District for the Arcadia Crossing project, to be developed by Center Development Corporation at that same site. The project, Arcadia Crossing, was to include 310 apartment units, a 270-space parking garage, and a variety of common area amenities as well as a “west wing” – a 36-bedroom complex and other facilities for the Sisters of Saint Joseph – who would continue to own that property and live there for as long as they like.
The units for the Sisters of Saint Joseph were developed, and the sisters moved into their new housing more than a year ago, but Center Development Corporation was unable to secure financing for Arcadia Crossing.
The preliminary plans now submitted by Lexington Partners LLC are for 294 apartments on the Sisters of Saint Joseph site, through renovation of the existing property as well as new construction. The project has yet to be named, McGovern said.
Lexington Partners LLC, a multi-family residential developer based in Hartford, has an extensive portfolio of projects in the region, several of which include rehabilitation of historic structures into rental or mixed-use properties. Projects include The Tannery in Glastonbury, which includes 250 luxury apartments and a restaurant on the site of a former mill; Windsor Station, a 130-unit apartment complex across the street from the Windsor Train Station; Trumbull on the Park in downtown Hartford; and the 78-unit garden apartment complex Mallory Ridge in Bloomfield.
The plan for the Sisters of Saint Joseph property is slightly smaller in scale than what was approved by the Town Council for Arcadia Crossing – 335,219 square feet in total rather than 370,000 square feet. The mix of units includes 158 studio apartments, 99 one-bedroom units, 33 two-bedroom units, and four three-bedroom units. About half of the Arcadia Crossing project would have been two-bedroom units.
Economic Development Specialist Kristen Gorski said that Lexington Partners LLC has not yet indicated planned rental rates for the apartments.
Garage parking will be much more limited under the Lexington Partners LLC plans, with only 60 covered parking spaces as opposed to 270 in the Arcadia Crossing plans. Fewer parking spaces overall are proposed – 441 rather than 509. The majority of the parking spaces will be in the back of the project, and not visible from Park Road.
A large patio, pool, and other amenities will be located in an interior courtyard.
Gorski said that the façade of the chapel will be preserved, but a significant portion of the interior of that space will be used for 160 storage units.
Minor changes were recommended during the study session with DRAC last week, and once the site plan application is submitted, the proposal will be placed on the Town Council agenda and set for public hearing. Because the Council already approved a Special Development District for the property, what is being proposed is just an amendment to that SDD, McGovern said.
He said that the project could potentially come to a vote prior to the end of the year.
McGovern said that the total value of the planned investment by Lexington Partners LLC in the property has not been disclosed, but that it is definitely “sizable.”
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