Hartford Housing Project Facing Major Setbacks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCConnecticut.com

    Hundreds of people are waiting to move into the Nelton Court Housing units in Hartford; the only problem is the units are not ready to be moved into.

    In Feb. 2010, the Housing Authority of the City of Hartford signed a $22 million agreement with the Simon Konover Development Corporation to design and construct 28 buildings containing 80 low-income housing units.

    Konover contracted the project with KBE Building Corporation.

    Work began on July 11, 2011 with an estimated completion date of April 9, 2013. In June of 2014, the project is still not done, putting the project more than a year behind schedule.

    “There have been various construction issues and we have expressed our concern regarding those issues to the developer,” said Annette Sanderson, executive director of the Housing Authority.

    According to Housing Authority representatives, various non-conformance notices have been issued citing Konover for noncompliance with contract documents.

    The Housing Authority says they have a full time clerk on the project that monitors all work being done and issues daily reports of deficiencies.

    The list of problems plaguing the units only begins with the installation of heat.

    According to the Housing Authority, the initial schedule called for heat to be in place by Oct. 2012, but 25 of the buildings did not have heat until March 2014.

    Housing Authority representative said the lack of heat for two winters has caused “cosmetic cracking.” They are now in the process of assessing if there is structural damage as well.

    Perhaps one of their biggest headaches is the development's sewer system, which is incompatible with MDC systems.

    KBE has a different take on the situation. Representatives said the project delay stems from an extended permit process with the city of Hartford and MDC, as well as additional hazardous material discovered at the beginning of the construction process.

    According to KBE’s vice president and general counsel Robert Dunn, the company has “no record from the owner of significant cracking or structural damage with any building.” Dunn also said the sewer system design was “reviewed and approved by the MDC” and installed in the presence of an MDC inspector.

    The question now is, who is on the hook for all the additional work?

    According to KBE, that responsibility falls on the Housing Authority, but the Housing Authority thinks otherwise.

    “We expect for the developer to be responsible for making corrective actions and we do not expect the housing authority to be impacted by those corrective actions,” said Sanderson.

    KBE representatives said they have requested meetings, but the Housing Authority has not arranged them.

    But the Housing Authority said it continues to push Konover to generate and implement a remedial course of action, including a thorough recovery schedule that depicts a final completion date.

    The Housing Authority insists it will only accept work installed and completed per the contracted documents and it will not allow residents to live in substandard units.

    According to Sanderson there is already a packed waiting list, but the Housing Authority does not believe the work at Nelson Court will be complete until 2015.

    Konover had not returned a request for comment as of the time of publication.