New Britain, CT – Connecticut state and city officials joined WinnDevelopment executives in New Britain recently to break ground on a $85 million project to transform a historic manufacturing complex near the city’s downtown into a 154-unit apartment community for affordable housing and workforce households.
The adaptive reuse project will convert the four remaining buildings in the 115-year-old Landers, Frary & Clark plant into 79 one-bedroom, 59 two-bedroom and 16 three-bedroom apartments geared toward young professionals, middle-income households and fixed-income seniors. The historic exterior of the brick buildings will be preserved, while the interior space is adapted into apartments for households earning 30, 50, 60 and 80% of Area Median Income.
“We’re pleased to partner with state and local officials, as well as private funders, to preserve and convert this historic remnant of New Britain’s industrial past into a modern apartment community that will serve the working households fueling the city’s future,” said Larry Curtis, president and managing partner of WinnDevelopment.
Numerous public and private partners are providing financing for development of the 200,000sf complex, which will be known as Ellis Street Commons when it is ready for occupancy in early 2025. The construction effort will generate an estimated 196 jobs and $33 million in economic impact in the New Britain area.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2022, the development site was once home to Landers, Frary & Clark, one of the first manufacturers of electric appliances in the U.S. The company ended production in 1965 and the current development site has remained largely vacant for decades.
Located within walking distance of New Britain’s downtown and mass transit services, the site consists of a 6-story structure and a single-story wing. The structure is connected by a closed skybridge to an adjacent building that is part of the same historic complex.
The completed building will feature a 150-kilowatt solar array to provide energy for the community, as well as electric vehicle charging stations. To enhance the project’s ongoing energy efficiency and significantly reduced carbon emissions, the design will ensure improved thermal performance through new windows and insulation, and will feature high performance ventilation, Energy Star appliances, low-flow plumbing and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.
Amenities will include a fitness room, community room, game room, flex workspaces, outdoor seating areas, 230 parking spaces, and on-site leasing, maintenance, and management offices.
Keith Construction is the general contractor, with JCJ Architecture serving as the architect. Collective Design Associates and Langan Engineering and Environmental Services are providing engineering services.
The Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) provided $4 million in funding through the FLEX Funding Program and an additional $3.85 million in federal funds though the National Housing Trust Fund. DOH will also provide 11 Section 8 vouchers for future residents. The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) provided tax credits, tax-exempt bonds and Opportunity Funds for the project. In addition, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development provided a Brownfield Loan to support environmental remediation work at the former industrial site.
The U.S. National Park Service and Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) provided federal and state historic tax credits. The City of New Britain Department provided $950,000 in HOME Funds to support the development. Bank of America is providing a construction loan and more than half of the project’s funding through its investment in the federal low-income housing and historic tax credits generated by the development.
BlueHub Capital, a nonprofit community development financing organization based in Boston, has provided a bridge loan, while Eversource is purchasing the state historic tax credits involved in the development, as well as providing energy rebates related to its environmental sustainability features.