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West Hartford Transit-Oriented Development Receives Award

616 New Park, West Hartford. Robert Benson Photography (courtesy photo)

616 New Park in West Hartford received a ‘Best in Class’ CREW CT Award.

West Hartford Housing Authority Executive Director George Howell (center) at the CREW CT Blue Ribbon Awards presentation. Courtesy photo

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The mixed-use 616 New Park project, developed by non-profit Trout Brook Realty Advisors for the West Hartford Housing Authority (WHHA) and designed by Amenta Emma Architects, received the Best in Class award in the Transit Oriented Development category at the 24th Annual CREW CT Blue Ribbon Awards Showcase held at The Bushnell in Hartford on Wednesday, April 24.

The CREW CT chapter annual Blue Ribbon Awards Showcase is an opportunity for professionals in the local and regional commercial real estate industry honor and celebrate another year of successfully completed projects.

This pioneering mixed-use community, the first to be located immediately adjacent to a CTfastrak rapid transit stop in West Hartford, CT provides mixed income housing attractive to everyone from seniors to millennials.

The 54-unit project, with one- and two-bedroom units, is priced both at market rate and at rates attractive to a workforce earning at or below 60 percent of the area’s median income. Eleven units are designated as supportive housing for veterans. The first floor is intended for retail development compatible with restaurants and shopping venues nearby, and will soon become the second location of BiCi Co, a social enterprise organization that will sell and service bicycles and bike accessories, and provide employment and enhanced workforce and skill development opportunities.

Architectural designers at Amenta Emma were challenged by the developer to create a dramatic design to capture the interest of people interested in living in an urban community adjacent to mass transit. The client also desired the highest level of amenities, making it competitive with products in other markets. The exterior is simple, a blend of materials that pays homage to the neighborhood’s commercial and industrial roots. Inside, large windows allow lots of natural light. Vibrant color schemes serve as wayfinding elements on each floor. Artwork and wayfinding graphics were developed to honor Connecticut’s transportation history.

“This is a very special project. It really becomes the underpinning for the rebirth, the growth, and the substance of the New Park neighborhood,” said George Howell, CEO of Trout Brook Realty Advisors and executive director of WHHA. “Everything about it is dramatic without overdoing it. The project has a keen sense of place. We are part of the revitalization of the neighborhood. It is our mission, the core to what we are.” 

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