On Wednesday evening, Trout Brook Realty Advisors invited the public to provide input regarding plans to build a mixed-use development on the former Pontiac dealership site in West Hartford.
By Katie Cavanaugh
Trout Brook Realty Advisors hosted a charrette at the Faxon Branch Library on Wednesday evening in order to share their plans and get the public’s input on a new mixed-use development proposed for the former Pontiac dealership site located at 616 New Park Ave.
The blueprints of the building’s interior and exterior were displayed around the room and the project’s planners, architects, and engineers were present to answer any questions that the public had regarding plans for the site. Attendees had the opportunity to write questions, comments, and suggestions on sticky notes and attach them to the blueprints for the team to look at and consider when going forward.
This project is projected to cost $19 million, and would consist of market-rate and workforce housing along with a retail space on the first floor of the building.
George Howell, CEO of the West Hartford Housing Authority and Trout Brook Reality Advisors, is spearheading the project. He said he is excited to utilize an otherwise vacant plot of land in West Hartford and turn it into a something positive for the community. “It’s about taking advantage of an opportunity in what’s been a vacant property for longer than I’ve been here and making it a special place,” said Howell.
According to Howell, the housing development is going to be geared towards young, working professionals who are looking for an affordable place to live in West Hartford. “We’re reaching out to young professionals and folks that are looking for a place to live in West Hartford that is reasonable,” said Howell. “We’re looking at millennials.”
One advantage of living in the development will be its easy access to public transportation. The building is planned to be built a stone’s throw away from the Elmwood CTfastrak Station on New Park Avenue.
“Because of CTfastrak there’s an opportunity for folks who work in Hartford not to have to drive,” said Howell. “Did I pursue this project because of CTfastrak? No. But will we take advantage of it? You bet we will.”
Amenta Emma Architects was chosen to design the new development. Architect Myles Brown was present at the presentation. He said they began working on the project last August.
“We’re trying to fit into that industrial feel while also giving the building the residential feel of being in a neighborhood,” said Brown. Brown described the design as being edgy, with a modern, urban feel, and large windows that bring in natural light.
“I think it’ll really liven up the street,” said Brown.
West Hartford residents left their questions and comments among the blueprints, but there was a general feeling of excitement among those present. “I think it’s exciting. I think it would be great for Elmwood,” said West Hartford resident Alicia Healey.
According to Chuck Coursey, the spokesperson for Trout Brook Realty Advisors, this gathering was the first step in the project’s progression. “The first step of a project like this is to give the community an idea of what’s going on and get their input,” said Coursey.
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