Transportation Hub At Storrs Center Development Opened Monday

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

The transportation center at the $220 million Storrs Center development opened today, designed to accommodate motor vehicles, buses and bicycles, it was announced today.

The Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center at Storrs Center opened Monday. Photo Credit: Paterson/Mansfield Downtown Partnership.

The Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center at Storrs Center opened Monday. Photo Credit: Paterson/Mansfield Downtown Partnership.

The Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center provides the home base for the buses that serve the University of Connecticut’s main campus and also will be the hub for bus service to Boston, Providence and other cities in the region.

Read more about Storrs Center here.

The Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center includes 660 parking spaces; racks, showers, lockers and storage for bicycle commuters; public restrooms and a video wall with information about Storrs Center and other area activities.

A portion of the parking spaces are reserved for tenants in Storrs Center, a mixed-used development just beyond the southern end of the UConn campus.

The center also will provide access to rental cars and charging stations for electric cars.

A grand opening will be held April 14.







Developer Acquires Hartford’s Capewell Factory For Apartment Project

by Categorized: Hartford Redevelopment Date:

A previous version of this post incorrectly reported CIL purchased Hartford Square North.

With financing now lined up, the developer planning a $26 million conversion of the old Capewell Horse Nail Co. factory into apartments said it has acquired the property in Hartford’s Sheldon-Charter Oak neighborhood.

The Corporation for Independent Living, a non-profit housing group, took title to the decaying factory building late Tuesday, CIL’s president and chief executive Martin M. Legault told me this afternoon.

Abandoned Capewell Horse Nail Factory Co. slated for apartment conversion. Photo by Rick Hartford/

Abandoned Capewell Horse Nail Factory Co. slated for apartment conversion. Photo by Rick Hartford/

CIL acquired the property at no cost from Boxer Properties of Houston. The transfer of Capewell was part of a deal in which CIL purchased the adjacent Hartford Square North   West office complex from Boxer last summer for $4.7 million.

Boxer foreclosed on the Capewell factory in 2010, after a previous developer, John Reveruzzi, failed to convert the building to apartments.

CIL just needs federal environmental officials to sign off on a $1 million proposed plan to clean-up PCBs, once used as a coolant but are now banned by the federal government, Legault said.

Legault told me CIL tentatively hopes to close its financing package on May 15. Construction of 75 apartments, beginning with the environmental clean-up, could begin within two or three weeks of the closing.

The financing includes a $5 million, second mortgage from the Capital Region Development Authority’s housing fund, which was approved by state Bond Commission in February. United Bank is providing a $9.2 million first mortgage and a $5 million bridge loan.

Federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits total $9 million.

The majority of the apartments are studios and one-bedroom units. The rents range from $1,050 for a 700-square-foot studio and $1,375 for a 860-square-foot one-bedroom to $2,000 for a 1,725-square-foot two-bedroom unit and $2,600 for a 1,850-square-foot, three-bedroom unit.

The apartments are expected to be ready for occupany in January, 2016.

Connecticut Office Of Florida Law Firm Relocates To Hartford

by Categorized: Downtown Hartford, Hartford Redevelopment Date:

The Connecticut office of a Florida-based law firm has relocated from Simsbury to downtown Hartford, it was announced this morning.

The firm, Tampa-based Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, has moved into the One State Street tower. A spokeswoman told me the firm has leased 15,000 square feet for 10 years and is relocating 21 employees — a dozen attorneys and 9 support staffers.

Spokeswoman Kate Barth said the space will accommodate future expansion in Hartford.

In addition to Connecticut, the firm has offices in Florida, Georgia, New York and Washington D.C. According to its web site, the firm has more than 370 attorneys and focuses on litigation practice. The firm specializes in class action, national trial practice, white collar representation.

The firm was created in a merger last fall of two firms, Carlton Fields and Jorden Burt.

Today’s announcement comes a month after accounting firm Cohn Reznick confirmed that it was also relocating from the suburbs to downtown Hartford. Cohn Reznick will consolidate offices in Glastonbury and Farmington into space at Metro Center on Church Street.



Anthony Cicchetti, managing shareholder of the Simsbury office, said in a release that the firm’s concentration in the insurance and financial services industries made the move to Hartford “a very natural and important step for us.”

“We are also excited about Hartford’s resurgence as a corporate center,” Cicchetti said. “We are pleased to be able to contribute to the growth and new vitality of Hartford’s central business district.”

Cheshire Outlet Center Developer Signs High-Profile Partner

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Factory outlet store powerhouse Tanger is partnering with the developer of an upscale outlet center in Cheshire where at least 60 stores are planned.

A rendering of the proposed, Outlets at Cheshire. Courtesy of WS Development.

A rendering of the proposed, Outlets at Cheshire. Courtesy of WS Development.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. will partner with WS Development on The Outlets at Cheshire, a development of 10 buildings and about 500,000 square feet of retail space.

The Cheshire center would be the third for Tanger in Connecticut. It already operates an outlet in Westbrook and is now developing a second at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

The outlet project, to be located at the interchange of I-691 and Route 10 just past I-84, also is the second in the state in a month to mark a major development milestone.

Three weeks ago, Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. confirmed it has signed a “letter of interest” with a Michigan developer to build an $85 million factory outlet center on Rentschler Field in East Hartford. The center could open by the summer of 2016.

“We have a long history of creating best in class open air shopping centers in New England and beyond, and we are excited about the opportunity to incorporate Tanger Outlets into our vision for a dynamic development of which Cheshire will be proud,” said Dick Marks, of Chestnut Hill, Mass.-based WS Development.

The outlet center would be built on a portion of a 100-acre, undeveloped tract. Later stages could include residential, a hotel and medical offices.

WS has secured necessary town approvals, but the developer still needs state permits, according to Cheshire town officials. Construction could begin later this year or early in 2015. The center could open in time for the 2015 holiday shopping season, town officials said.

Find an update on this story here.




Financing Set For Downtown Hartford’s Largest Apartment Conversion

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The $85 million financing package for the largest downtown Hartford apartment project  — the conversion of the former Bank of America tower — closed this afternoon.

Former Bank of America tower in Hartford slated for apartments. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/

Former Bank of America tower in Hartford slated for apartments. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/

Construction of 286 rental units in the 26-story tower on Main Street is expected to begin soon.

“The deal is closed,”  Michael W. Freimuth, executive director of the Capital Region Development Authority, said. “The financing is in place. Construction will begin soon.”

The financing includes the $7 million sale of the building to developer Bruce Becker by its current owner, Grunberg Realty, according to Jay W. Wamester, a broker at commercial real estate firm Colliers International in Hartford. Colliers represented the seller and procured the buyer.

Becker could not immediately be reached for comment this afternoon.

The conversion is the fifth in downtown Hartford to get underway in the past six months. It joins others on Ann Uccello Street, Allyn Street, on Constitution Plaza and at Front Street.

The CRDA has $60 million in funds it is investing to help finance downtown apartment projects. State and city officials believe more people living in downtown will boost long-sought after vibrancy beyond the work week.

The largest portion of the financing package is a $37 million loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. CRDA, which has a $60 million fund earmarked for housing development in downtown Hartford, contributed a $10.2 million loan and a $7.5 million equity investment.

In addition, other major sources of funding are $17 million in federal historic rehabilitation and energy tax credits; $5 million in state historic rehabilitation tax credits and $3.9 million loan from the state Department of Housing.

Earlier this year, Becker said he was hopeful the first apartments could be ready for occupancy by Labor Day. Early in 2013, Becker had hoped the first units would already be ready for occupancy.

The deal was complex, drawing its financing from nearly a dozen different sources. Becker also blamed uncertainty over the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit program — now cleared up by the Internal Revenue Service — as contributing to delays.


New Home Construction In Connecticut Shows Promising Signs

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Housing permits dipped in February, but new home construction for the first two months of this year is still well ahead of 2013, a new report today shows.

Towns and cities issued 604 permits for single-family houses, condominiums and apartment units in the first two months of this year, compared 480 in the same period in 2013, the report from the state Department of Economic and Community Development shows.

February’s construction activity fell to 171 units, down from 244 for the same month a year ago. But January was exceptionally busy with 533 units, up from 236 in 2013. January’s construction also was the strongest in a decade for that month.

New home construction was struggled to gain momentum in Connecticut. In 2013, permits slipped 3 percent, compared with the previous year.

The report released Wednesday is based on a survey of 128 municipalities in the state conducted monthly by the U.S. Census Bureau. Once a year, the Census surveys all 169 towns for an annual count.



Litchfield Vineyard and Winery On The Market for $1.5 Million

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This is an updated version of a post that appeared earlier today. This version includes the correction that Senew is the sole owner of the vineyard.

A highlight on the Connecticut Wine Trail — Litchfield’s Haight-Brown Vineyard — is up for sale, and includes the state’s first winery.

Owner Amy Senew listed the 9-acre property at $1.5 million. The winery produces whites, reds and Connecticut apple-based wine.

The Haight-Brown Vineyard, the first winery in Connecticut, is on the market for $1.5 million.

The Haight-Brown Vineyard, the first winery in Connecticut, is on the market for $1.5 million. Photo Courtesy: William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, Washington Depot.

Senew and her former husband, Courtney Brown, purchased the property in 2007 from Sherman Haight, a wealthy Litchfield resident who carved the vineyard out of a much larger, 165-acre tract he owned. When it opened in 1975, the vineyard was known as the Haight Vineyard.

Senew, who took over sole ownership in 2010, told me today that she always had another full-time job and that operating the vineyard came on top of that. She decided to sell because she wanted more leisure time, and now that she had remarried, the couple is considering moving south at some point.

“There was a time when I wanted to be at the vineyard every weekend,” Senew said. “Now, the beach looks pretty good.”

More Photos of the Haight-Brown Vineyard.

When Senew and Brown bought the vineyard, they pledged to keep it running. Senew told me today that the finances were in tough shape when she and Brown took it over. Senew said she didn’t have any background as vintner, but she did in sales and marketing.

“It was a little gem in the rough,” Senew said. “Today, our revenue is five times what it was when we took it over. We’ve had double-digit growth every year.”

Renovations included new floors, doors, roof sidings, porches, patios as well as investments in new fields, trellises and other equipment.

Senew, who also lives in Litchfield, said she knows it could take a couple of years to sell the vineyard, and she has no interest in selling it to a developer.

In order to open the vineyard, Haight, the owner of a textile printing company and part-time farmer, had to petition for legislation that eventually allowed wineries in the state and sales to the general public.

Haight offered his first wines — Chardonnay and Reisling — in 1979. Today, the winery also produces such wines as Chardonelle, Marquette, Foch, De Chaunac and Seval Blanc.

The property is split into two lots of equal size and includes a 6,816-square-foot retail space with rooms for small gatherings and wine tastings. A farm shop sells wine, cheese, chocolates and other gourmet foods. Bottling rooms, coolers and a storage room also are included.

Senew said the vineyard also leases land in the area for growing grapes.

The winery was the first in the state to offer educational classes, including how to pair wine with cheese and chocolate.

John Sniffen, of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Washington Depot, has the listing.

Former Local News Anchor Now Selling Real Estate

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Janet Peckinpaugh, the longtime television news anchor and one-time candidate for U.S. Congress, is launching a new career: selling real estate.

Peckinpaugh has joined William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty’s Essex office.



“She has had an amazing and successful career spanning television news, politics and managing her own business, and we look forward to seeing her apply her many talents to the real estate business,” said Maureen Swarts, brokerage manager for William Pitt Sotheby’s in Essex.

Peckinpaugh’s career has spanned three decades, most of it in Connecticut in television news. Most recently, she anchored broadcasts at WVIT-TV and previously, she reported and anchored for ABC and CBS affiliates in Connecticut.

Prior to television news, Peckinpaugh worked in radio as a political reporter covering the White House and Capitol Hill.

After retiring from television news Peckinpaugh founded Peckinpaugh Media Group, a public relations and television production firm, that represented such clients as the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and Cox Business.

In 2010, Peckinpaugh ran unsuccessfully for Congress to represent the second district.

Meriden Apartment Complex Sells For $27.5 Million

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Newbury Village, a 180-unit apartment complex in Meriden, has been purchased for $27.5 million in a joint venture by two realty companies.

The purchase by Phoenix Realty Group and PCCP, LLC values each unit at roughly $153,000 each.

The complex, built in 2005, now is scheduled for a series of improvements, including new landscaping, a redecorated pool area, new kitchens, gym and clubhouse accommodations.

The property, purchased from Winthrop Realty Trust, is being rebranded and renamed Alvista Willow Brook.

Jeffrey Dunne and Patrick Carino of  the New York Institutional Group of CBRE, the commercial real estate services firm, and Mike Stone of CBRE/NE’s Hartford office represented the seller and procured the buyer.

Downtowns Could Win State Grants For Improvements

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Small towns in the state could win grants up to $500,000 for renovating their downtowns to attract new businesses and boost job growth.

Applications for the second round of grants under the state’s Main Street Investment Fund are now being accepted by the state Department of Housing, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today.

The program targets building renovations, improved street lighting, sidewalk construction, recreational space or other renovations.

“Improving and upgrading our town centers to ensure that they are liveable, walkable communities will lay the foundation for sustainable economic activity.” Malloy said.

To be eligible, the towns must have 30,000 or less residents or those that qualify for the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program.

In July, Malloy and Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein awarded $4.9 million in the first round of grants from the investment fund.

Municipalities interested in applying should visit to download the application form. For more information, call Dimple Desai, the housing department’s development director, at 860-270-8012.

The deadline to submit is May 30.