Hollander Foundation Center Progressing

The next downtown residential project to begin renting is going to be the Hollander Foundation Center at 410 Asylum Street. The drywall is up inside and work crews are making steady progress towards their August 2009 completion goal. Common Ground, the project developer, is currently looking for retail tenants for six ground floor retail suites. Rental applications for the apartments will be available later in the spring.

Hollander Foundation Center

Plans for 410 Asylum have changed dramatically over the years. Vacant since 1995, previous owners considered a number of possibilities before beginning proposing demolition. In response, the Connecticut Historical Commission obtained an injunction against the demolition. They successfully defended the resulting lawsuit, brought by the owners, as the federal court upheld the property’s inclusion in the High Street Historic District on the National Registry of Historic Places. Eventually the structure was donated to Common Ground for redevelopment.

Even after Common Ground took over, there was still some debate within the City about its appropriate use. All parties agreed that ground floor retail with residential above was ideal, however the City and other local developers expressed concern about bringing “supportive housing” to such a prime location. The building is located on the north end of Bushnell Park with unobstructed views of the Connecticut State Capital Building, which could theoretically make it quite valuable.

But all that is in the past. Construction has been going on for over a year - check out the field report photos - and is nearing completion. Jennifer Hawkins, a very helpful representative of Common Ground, notes that “The building will be a mix of historic restoration with modern “green” features.” It will be LEEDs certified (the first in Hartford) and will be a smoke free building.

Hollander Foundation Center

When complete, there will be 70 apartment units. Of the total, 56 will be income restricted units in a mix of studios (~494 sqft), one bedrooms (~564 sqft) and two bedrooms (~926 sqft). They will only be available to applicants with income at 60% of area median income. Depending on the number of family members, this translates to tenants earning between $34,000 and $43,000. The rent for those units will be set at approximately 30% of income, and include all utilities, access to basement laundry facilities and outside parking.

The other 14 units will rent at market rate and are all two bedroom units (~969 sqft) with in-unit laundry and indoor parking (utilities not included). Rent has not yet been finalized, but initial indications are that it will be about $1,600 per month. The basic floor plan for the apartments can be seen on the 8th page of this marketing document. You can also see the plans for the six retail spaces on the ground floor. Note that some of the information in the PDF may have changed - the figures I have quoted in the text have all come from a recent series of exchanges with Ms. Hawkins.

Common Ground is planning to have a model apartment available for viewing in May, and to begin accepting rental applications in the June/July timeframe. For now, they are collecting names of interested perspective tenants. For more information, or to be added to the list, call 888-399-8848.

The completion of the Hollander Foundation Center will be an exciting event for Hartford. Not only will it formally announce the arrival of Common Ground, but it will also allow our downtown population to continue to grow. Perhaps most importantly, the project has rehabilitated a vacant historic building and integrated it back into the community. It represents one more step in our slow march to revitalize Hartford’s downtown.

Update: Rents for the affordable units are fixed monthly rates, rather than based on individual tenant income as originally stated.

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