At today’s meeting of the Real Estate Financing Association of Connecticut, a panel of developers and officials focused on the outlook for housing in downtown Hartford in the coming months.
- HB Nitkin Group, the developer of Front Street, expects to begin construction on the project’s second phase — 115 market-rate apartments — in early fall, according to Peter Christian, Nitkin’s director of development.
The timetable for the $35 million project has been pushed back slightly from the early summer groundbreaking projected by state officials last month. Financing is roughly divided between private equity, a bank loan and funds from the Capital Region Development Authority.
The project includes 35,000 square feet of street-level retail, Christian said.
In the first phase of Front Street — the entertainment district — Capital Grille has started construction in its space and Infinity Music Hall & Bistro has obtained construction permits from the city.
- The city of Hartford is in the middle of a front-to-back review of its zoning regulations, including those affecting housing development in the downtown area, according to Thomas Deller, the city’s director of development.
Some changes have already been made that encourages the growth of housing downtown, a key priority for city. Regulations now allow housing without a special permit, eliminating one layer of approval. Also, owners of existing buildings don’t have to have parking plans approved by the city.
“We want to get out of the way,” Deller said.
- Plans for converting the building at 111 Pearl St. into housing are still evolving, but developer Martin Kenny hopes to add a penthouse level. The conversion, paired with one next door at 101 Pearl, now envisions 81 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space, including the space once occupied by Sean Patrick’s bar, Kenny said.