New, Smaller Plan For Former Broadcast House Site In Hartford

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The builder who owns the former Broadcast House site in downtown Hartford is scaling down plans for an apartment tower on the property.

Abul Islam now envisions a 10-story, $18 million tower with 40 apartments and 18,000 square feet of commercial space at the Constitution Plaza site, Michael W. Freimuth, chief executive of the Capital Region Development Authority, told me today.

The owner of the former Broadcast House site in downtown Hartford -- now a vacant lot as shown here -- has scaled down plans for an apartment tower. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

The owner of the former Broadcast House site in downtown Hartford — now a vacant lot as shown here — has scaled down plans for an apartment tower. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

CRDA is considering the downsized proposal for $3.2 million in funding, including a loan and a private equity investment. The apartments would be a mix of market-rate and units affordable to low- and moderate-income households.

The commercial space would be occupied by Islam’s firm, AI Engineers, Inc., now located in Middletown.

Islam did not return telephone calls or an email seeking comment.

In addition to possible CRDA financing, Islam hopes to obtain funding from the state affordable housing program, Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties, or CHAMP, Freimuth said.

About half the cost, $8 million, would be private financing.

The tower as now proposed would be about 70,000 square feet in size. The one- and two-bedroom apartments would range in size from 800 to 1,200 square feet. Market-rate rents would be between $1,520 to $2,280 a month.

Islam most recently hoped to construct a 15-story, 195-unit apartment, costing $50 million, also with commercial space. Those plans also called for a mix of market-rate and rent restricted units, plus space for his engineering firm.

The larger proposal also sought funding from a state program promoting affordable housing. A first attempt at securing financing from the state was not successful.

Previously, Islam proposed an office tower, but scrapped those plans because of the city’s weak office market. He also offered the site as a location for the University of Connecticut, as it considered sites in downtown Hartford to replace its regional campus in West Hartford.

Islam purchased the former Broadcast House site in 2008 and demolished it a year later, at a combined cost of $2 million.

 

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “New, Smaller Plan For Former Broadcast House Site In Hartford

  1. Patrick

    I’m guessing this means the site wasn’t one of the final few sites for UCONNs relocation. I know there’s a ton of apartment plans in the pipe for downtown so hopefully this gets done before most of those. That corner is a great location for some apartments and for his engineering company to relocate.

    I’m guessing it’s between Front St and Main St. I would prefer the Main St site for UCONN if it’s down to those two, so then the Thomas Hooker brewery could take Front St.

    1. J L

      I agree completely Patrick. It would be excellent for UConn to build at Talcott Plaza, giving students and faculty opportunities to benefit from and contribute to the downtown environment, and for Thomas Hooker Brewery to associate their thriving brand with the iconic facade of the Times building. I also agree that Mr. Islam’s building should be a priority for the CRDA. He has put his own money into buying and preparing the site for the proposed building, which will bring not only new residents but his successful business to the city.

  2. Joanie W.

    This will be as great as the buildings across from the old state house corner and the Hilton Hotel which are disguised as paved/dirt parking lots

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