Government Real Estate

West Hartford Housing Projects Receive Millions in Federal Low-Income Tax Credits

Drone photo of Phase I construction of West Hartford Fellowship Housing. Courtesy of West Hartford Fellowship Housing

Two West Hartford projects have recently received a total of more than $3 million in federal Low-Income Tax Credits from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.

Rendering of The Elle, to be constructed at 1244 North Main Street. Courtesy image

By Ronni Newton

Two West Hartford projects that will increase the number of affordable housing units received a substantial share of the $10.1 million in federal 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) awarded by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority at its board meeting late last month, filling critical needs in the overall funding of the developments.

The Elle at North Main, Trout Brook Realty Advisor’s 49-unit community and redevelopment of the former Congregation Agudas Achim synagogue at 1244 North Main Street in West Hartford, has been awarded $1,168,000, and the West Hartford Fellowship Housing Redevelopment Phase II has been awarded $2,103,000 in tax credits, CHFA announced following its April board meeting.

The Elle was approved 8-1 by the West Hartford Town Council in October 2023, and once financing is completed Trout Brook Realty Advisors will begin construction of the project – repurposing a former and long-vacant synagogue at 1244 North Main Street into 49 units of housing, 80% of which will be deed-restricted at various levels of affordability, and which will be managed by the West Hartford Housing Authority.

“The Elle at North Main is a 49-unit new construction development in a very high opportunity area of West Hartford, a town with less than 10% affordable housing. The site is located on a bus line and is within two miles of the Bishops Corner commercial area which includes grocery stores, other retail establishments, restaurants, banks, a library, and post office. Ten units will provide supportive services for clients of DDS,” CHFA said in their announcement.

Rendering of rear of The Elle at 1244 North Main Street. Crosskey Architects. Town of West Hartford website (we-ha.com file)

“We are so grateful and proud to receive a LIHTC award from CHFA for The Elle,” Jill Corrado, CEO of Trout Brook Realty Advisors and executive director of the West Hartford Housing Authority said Wednesday in a statement. “This was a very competitive process among several deserving new communities and shows CHFA’s confidence in our ability to create high-quality homes that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and families in West Hartford.”

Corrado said the award is a critical component of the financing for The Elle, with other sources expected to include mortgage financing through CHFA as well as funding through the State of Connecticut Department of Housing, State of Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development through the Town of West Hartford, and American Rescue Plan Act funds through the Town of West Hartford and Eversource. The financing plan is expected to be completed by the fall of 2024, with site work and construction to follow and planned completion of The Elle in the spring of 2026.

The Elle will include 24 one-bedroom units, 23 two-bedroom units, and two three-bedroom units. The mix of affordable units will be six units at 60% AMI (area median income), 20 units at 50% AMI, and 13 units at 30% AMI, with 10 remaining units at market rate. Rents for the affordable units will be set depending on the family size and income, and in accordance with Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) income and rent restrictions.

Drone photo of Phase I construction of West Hartford Fellowship Housing. Courtesy of West Hartford Fellowship Housing

Phase I of the redevelopment of West Hartford Fellowship Housing had a groundbreaking in November 2023, and construction is now underway, and the recent LIHTC award will provide critical financing opportunity for the second section of the four-phase project.

The redevelopment of WHFH has been in the planning stages for many years, and was extensively reviewed, and unanimously approved, by the West Hartford Town Council in September 2019. In May 2022, $1.8 million of federal low income tax credits were awarded to the project, paving the way for an investment of $18 million to help complete the capital stack to fund Phase I of the project. The most recent award equates to approximately $19 million in equity from private investors, which will help make development of WHFH’s Phase II possible.

In its announcement of the award, CHFA noted: “The second of a four-phase, 300-unit elderly housing redevelopment, West Hartford Fellowship Housing Redevelopment Phase II is awarded credits in the Preservation Classification. The phase, which will include the rehab of 68 existing units and construction of nine new units, is across the street from a library and senior center, and is in walking distance to a post office, grocery stores, pharmacies, department stores, various medical clinics, and is located on two bus lines.”

West Hartford Fellowship Housing, which is a nonprofit provider of affordable housing for the elderly and disabled, is in the midst of its four-phase project, with an estimated overall cost of $100 million, that will involve replacement of 23 of the existing 24 buildings, and the size of the community will grow roughly 40%, from a current 213 units to 300. The first phase will add 43 additional units, while the second will replace 68 units and add another nine.

Overall, the new units will not only be 80-110% larger than the current apartments, but will also contain modern appliances and other amenities, and multi-story buildings will have elevators. The current layout is not conducive to accessibility, including the location of laundry facilities in a separate building. The apartments are small, have limited resources for connectivity, are not energy efficient, and there is no program space.

“Our redevelopment is only possible due to the support of Governor Lamont, The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, and The Department of Housing.  We are grateful for this award as it will provide our residents with 21st-century amenities in their homes,” WHFH Development Corporation Board President Clare Kindall said in a statement. “We are grateful to the Town of West Hartford’s commitment to affordable housing.  Our state delegation, Mayor Cantor, Deputy Mayor Wenograd and the entire Town Council have been unwavering in their support for our redevelopment. We are excited that Phase I is well underway and we will be ready to start Phase II construction as soon as our Phase I buildings are complete.”

Phase I is expected to be completed by the spring of 2025. Residents currently living in the buildings slated for redevelopment in Phase II will then be relocated, with plans for that construction commencing in the summer of 2025. The first two phases will have a combined total of 142 units of affordable housing.

WHFH Chief Executive Officer Mark Garilli, who is leading WHFH through its redevelopment phases, said, “Every day our mission drives us to create opportunity and make a difference in the lives of those we serve. This award provides the vehicle for us to do just that. I am so honored to serve with such a dedicated team of volunteers, staff, and professionals who relentlessly keep the momentum going.”

Overall, the $10,083,854 in tax credits will generate $92 million in private investment in affordable housing supporting the development of 428 units of family and supportive housing in Cheshire, Farmington, Naugatuck, Simsbury, and West Hartford, CHFA said.

“We are proud to recognize the outstanding affordable housing developments receiving LIHTC awards this year,” CHFA Executive Director Nandini Natarajan said in the announcement. “The Board’s approval of these awards today signifies our continued commitment to creating and preserving high-quality homes that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of families and individuals across the state.”

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