Apartments Proposed For 1880s Hartford Office Building

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An 1880s office building near Hartford’s Union Station auctioned last fall after a foreclosure could soon get a new kind of tenant: apartment renters.

Dakota Partners of Waltham, Mass. is proposing an estimated $14.7 million conversion of  office space on the upper floors of 179 Allyn St. into 63, one-bedroom units, state and city officials confirmed today.

179 Allyn Street, Hartford

Apartments are proposed for the 1880s office building at the corner of Allyn and High streets near Union Station. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

The sale of the six-story, 70,000-square-foot building, at the corner of Allyn and High streets, has not been completed, according to the auction house handling the sale.

Dakota Partners declined to comment on the proposal today.

All of the units would be market rate, ranging in size from about 500 square feet to about 800 square feet, Michael W. Freimuth, executive director the Capital Region Development Authority, told me today.

Monthly rents could range between $900 and $1,100, not including parking, Freimuth said.

Dakota Partners has had discussions with the CRDA about funding for the project. The CRDA is seeking to increase housing stock in downtown Hartford, primarily through equity investments.

In addition to potential CRDA funding, financing would include a bank loan and historic tax credits, Freimuth said.

One challenge will be securing sufficient parking for the proposal, Freimuth said.

City Development Director Thomas Deller told me retail tenants, which now include the Nv Nightclub and the Black Bear Saloon, would remain on the ground floor.

Construction on the building — now nearly 80-percent vacant — could begin later this year, Deller said.

According to its web site, Dakota is a developer of  mostly upscale single-family homes, condominiums and apartment buildings in Massachusetts. Dakota does list one rental development geared to mixed incomes.

Read more about the history of 179 Allyn St. here

Ornamental terra cotta panels at 179 Allyn St., Hartford. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin.

Ornamental terra cotta panels at 179 Allyn St., Hartford. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin.

If the 179 Allyn project moves forward, it would join a growing number of planned conversions downtown including the former Bank of America tower on Main Street and the old Sonesta Hotel on Constitution Plaza.

All three projects are aimed at renters who are looking for smaller apartments with lower rents.

“There is a real demand for smaller units,” Deller said.

Deller said the Allyn Street building — known as The Professional Building — provides an alternative to the other structures, which were built in the 1960s.

The age and rich architectural detail of the building provides for an opportunity for exposed brick walls in apartment units, larger windows and other details, Deller said.

The building, designed by the same architects as Hartford’s Goodwin Hotel, still has its original marble lobby.

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12 thoughts on “Apartments Proposed For 1880s Hartford Office Building

  1. fred

    I live next door at the Hollander. The “music” and the vibrations emanating from the NV, 3 nights a week are obnoxious in my apartment. I can’t even imagine what they are going to be like in the same building.

  2. jory johnson

    Great apartments for young people! Awesome. Wish these were available when I was younger. Demand will be very high for these.

  3. mike

    I was thinking about that as soon as I heard this was to be apartments.

    Ultimately the apartments become the most vocal element, so there is a chance any club might need to do some soundproofing or risk increased rents when their lease runs out.

    I have always loved this building and lamented the fact that everything around it has been torn down. Hopefully some day the parking lots next door will be developed making this building the view out their windows.

  4. LMHtfd

    I guess it could be okay for transitional housing, but the train/bus station being nearby (with attendant noise and lowered air quality) and the quality of life issues in the area on the weekend might preclude anyone wanting to stay there long-term.

  5. ed

    i would only live there if they got rid of the night clubs and brought in businesses that are open only during daytime hours.

  6. Karen

    Not very conducive to a professional crowd who needs their sleep, but maybe an option for those with night jobs?

  7. James

    This is a beautiful building. I was just admiring it this morning from my window at Hartford 21. It looks strikingly similar to the Goodwin, but I didn’t know until reading this article that the architects were the same. Speaking of the Goodwin, it is especially well suited to redevelopment as an apartment building (its original use when JP Morgan lived there). The building’s 124 hotel rooms could easily be converted to 62 or so one-bedroom units.

    1. Rob

      Agreed. I keep hoping to see this one added to the list (or reopened as a hotel) but I’m not sure if the whole foreclosure process has been completed and the building sold to a new owner? Certainly anyone who buys the building will want it fully utilized. Thank God Bin228 held on, but we Pearl St really needs this building brought back to life.

      1. mike

        I think this should be condos. Goodwin that is, because that building is so unique and beautiful that people will want to own pieces of it. I know I would look long and hard at buying into that piece of history.

        I suspect the owner (some bank type entity) will be selling this building, but they may want to hold onto it for a while to make back some of the losses on the foreclosed debt. Its not like its empty, so its probably at least self sufficient.

        179 Allyn should become condos some day for the same reason , but only after that part of downtown is filled in and not so clubby.

        Its one of those special buildings worth owning a unit in.

  8. Matt

    Building is about as old school as it gets. Especially if you ever look in the basement to see how much is powering the thing.

    Regardless of any proposals or conversions, something should be done in there at some point. Short of the ground floor, there’s a few sporadic office rentals in the floors above, and the top floor is entirely empty. And by few I mean few. The rest is all just empty wasted space.

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