Versace and Lancome are a bit of a stretch for downtown Hartford storefronts, but new renderings show the vision of developers who want to convert two buildings at the corner of Pearl and Trumbull into one with 200 apartments.
The developers of the proposed, $43 million project are asking the Capital Region Development Authority for $14 million in funding. The balance would come from $22 million in bank financing, a $500,000 brownfields remediation grant and $5.2 million in developer equity.
The lead developer is Pennrose Properties of Philadelphia, which has converted office buildings in Pennsylvania and New Jersey into apartments. Pennrose’s local partners include Martin J. Kenny, who built the neighboring Trumbull on the Park apartments; Alan Lazowski, the chief executive of Hartford-based LAZ Parking; and Sandy Cloud, who redeveloped the old University Club on Lewis Street.
The developers say at least three banks — Bank of America, PNC and TD Bank — have shown interest in providing financing for the project.
The apartments would all be market-rate, although Kenny said lower floors of the taller, 12-story building at 95-101 Pearl would lease for lower monthly rents. That’s because their views of Bushnell Park and the rest of downtown would be limited, Kenny said.
Nearly 90 percent of the units would be studios and one-bedrooms, which officials say are the most in demand in the city. The rents would, on average, range from $900 to $1,040 for the studios and from $1,100 to $1,400 for the one-bedrooms.
Parking would be provided in the nearby Trumbull on the Park garage and be connected to the new apartment building. Parking isn’t include in the rental rates, but would be offered at a discount, Kenny said.
Versace and Lancome aside, there will be retail space on ground-level, including basement space that was the Sean Patrick’s bar in the 1980s.
There have been calls to demolish the two, 1960s-era structures, including by The Courant’s Tom Condon, and replace the long, largely-vacant buildings. But the developers say that would push the apartment project’s cost up to $65 million.
“People have asked, “Why aren’t we knocking down the two butt-ugly buildings and starting new,” Kenny said, at a meeting late last week with the CRDA’s housing committee.
Instead, the developers are proposing connecting the two buildings with a common lobby, with the main entrance through 111 Pearl, which is closest to the corner. A penthouse level would be added to 111 Pearl and a decorative tower as a focal point.
A sky deck, with clubroom, is proposed for the top of 95-101 to take advantage of views of Bushnell Park.
Because the buildings are so different architecturally, the struggle is to makes sure the building meld together as one, Kenny said. The windows in both buildings are in bad repair, the developers say, so they will be replaced in a similar style.
Also under consideration is staining the brick to better blend the exteriors, the developers say.