Hartford’s Capewell Factory Could Become Apartments Or Condos

by Categorized: Downtown Hartford, Hartford Redevelopment Date:

Plans to convert the former Capewell Horse Nail  Co. factory in Hartford into housing have stumbled for more than a decade, but the project got a $2 million boost this week, winning a state brownfields clean-up grant.

The Corporation for Independent Living, a non-profit that works to expand housing alternatives, has secured an option to purchase the 1900s factory in the Sheldon-Charter Oak neighborhood from owner Boxer Properties.

There is a new push to convert the former Capewell Horse Nail Co. factory into housing. Photo by Rick Hartford/rhartford@courant.com

There is a new push to convert the former Capewell Horse Nail Co. factory into housing. Photo by Rick Hartford/rhartford@courant.com

Martin M. Legault, CIL’s president and chief executive, told me today that CIL is in talks with the city about two potential options for the $24 million project: 80 rental units or 67 condominium units, plus about 5,000 square feet of retail space.

“This is the last large blighted property in the area that needs to be addressed,” Legault told me. “It is the highest and best use: market-rate housing.”

Legault estimated that it will cost $3 million to do an environmental clean-up of the old building.

In addition, plans to convert 101 Pearl Street in downtown Hartford into 110 rental units won a state brownfields grant of $500,000 to remove lead and asbestos.

The Capewell factory, at the corner of Charter Oak Avenue and Popieluszko Court, is just down the street from where CIL is building new single-family attached houses for low- and moderate income families Those houses are targeted to buyers who earn 80 percent or less of the median income for the Hartford area.

The last push to develop housing at Capewell was by developer John Reveruzzi. That effort stalled in 2006 when a major investor, New Boston Fund, backed out of the deal.

The Capewell project would include a minimum of 80 percent market-rate units, with the balance being affordable to low- and moderate-income families, Legault said. The affordable units at Capewell would be targeted for families who earn 100-120 percent of area’s median income, he said.

Financing must still be secured, but some funding will be sought from the Capital Region Development Authority, Legault said.  The CRDA is approving loans for housing projects in and around the downtown Hartford area.

A vintage Capewell Horse Nail Co. advertisement from the early 1900s. Courtesy of the Tomas J. Nenortas Collection.

A vintage Capewell Horse Nail Co. logo from 1913. The buildings in the courtyard area no longer exist. Courtesy of the Tomas J. Nenortas Collection.

The Capewell company was organized in the 1880s and improved the technique for cold rolling steel into horseshoe nails. The factory’s Romanesque Revival square tower and high pyramid-shaped slate roof is one of the last of its kind in Hartford.

Downtown, Martin J. Kenny, a member of the partnership that wants to develop 101 Pearl and the neighboring 111 Pearl into apartments, told me today the cost to remove lead and asbestos is estimated to cost $1.5 million.

Kenny said the partnership, which also includes parking magnate Alan Lazowski, developer Sandy Cloud and Timothy Henkel Sr., a Philadelphia-based developer, is close to finalizing contracts to purchase both buildings.

 

 

 

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