New Haven city leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of a new mixed-use development project located on the corner of Audubon and Orange Streets.
Audubon Square will have 269 studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments wrapped around a parking garage with 716 spaces.
“This was the New Haven Register site,” the city’s Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson said.
But it has been a parking lot since the newspaper building was torn down in the 1980s.
“I just can’t say how excited I am that this is coming to life,” longtime downtown New Haven Alder Frances “Bitsie” Clark said.
Clark developed the nearby Audubon Street into an arts center for the city.
“I’ve been living on Audubon Street for the last thirty years and I’ve just been praying for something to happen in this terrible parking lot,” she said at the groundbreaking.
Now, Norwalk-based Spinnaker Real Estate Partners is transforming the site into a seven-story apartment building with amenities like a fitness facility, media room and swimming pool.
“We’re really pleased to be in one of the premiere cities in the state, if not new England,” said Clayton Fowler, Spinnaker’s Chairman and CEO.
About 65 local construction workers were on the site Thursday, according to the contractor, but that number will ramp up over the next few months.
Once complete, the apartments will come at a price.
“Let’s just say the one bedrooms will be slightly under $2,000 a month, a 2-bedroom will be $2,000 to $2,500, three bedrooms closer to $3,000, which is what everybody else is getting around here,” Fowler said.
Mayor Toni Harp told NBC Connecticut she is not worried about the projected rents being too expensive to live at Audubon Square.
“It will change the income mix in our city and I think it will be good again for our arts culture, our retail, it will help drive the economy of the city,” Mayor Harp said.
Another benefit of the location is the proximity to the renovated State Street Station where commuters can hop on the new Hartford Line trains, the mayor said.
“They now will have an opportunity to live near the rail station and walk to the rail station,” she said.
Fowler said he hopes the construction will be complete for leasing to begin by the end of January 2019.