The next wave of new apartment construction in downtown Hartford got a boost Friday, as the State Bond Commission approved $12.9 million to help finance four projects totaling nearly 300 units.
Of the four projects, the largest — the $24 million conversion of the former Sonesta Hotel on Constitution Plaza into 193 apartments — is likely to begin construction first.
The hotel conversion was approved for a $2 million construction “bridge loan” intended to fill in a temporary funding gap intended to be filled by federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. Tax credit investors have turned more cautious until the Internal Revenue Service sorts out a court ruling that may place new requirements on investors in the program.
Jeffrey D. Ravetz, president of New York-based Girona Ventures, a partner in the hotel conversion, said Friday the bond commission approval was key to the financing package while the tax credit issue is being sorted out. Work on the conversion is expected to begin by late October, he said, and include 54 studio, 125 one-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom units. Of the total, 32 will be affordable.
Other funding approved Friday included:
- $6.5 million for a $14.9 million redevelopment of the former Professional Building at 179 Allyn St. into 63, one-bedroom market-rate units. The funding consists of a $3.25 million loan and a $3.25 million equity investment. Developer Dakota Partners Inc. of Waltham, Mass. also has an option to purchase the former Hartford Office Supply Co. building on Capitol Avenue for conversion to apartments.
- a $3.8 million construction loan for the $4.4 million conversion of 201 Ann Uccello St. — the former Masonic Hall — into 22 market-rate apartments. The developer is building owner Universal Enterprise LLC of Brooklyn, N.Y. The loan must be refinanced within 24 months to an amount no greater than $750,000.
- $575,000 for the $1.7 million conversion of 283-291 Asylum St. into 16 market-rate apartments. The building, owned by DJS45 LLC, whose principal is David J. Squillante of South Windsor, is now occupied by the Burger Baby restaurant on the ground floor.
Michael W. Freimuth, chief executive of the Capital Region Development Authority, noted Friday that all four projects represent conversion of commerical space to residential.
“They represent a variety of different products, price points and scale,” Freimuth said. “Along with 777 Main and Front Street, CRDA has underwritten over 700 units towards its legislative goal of 2,000 additional units downtown.”