Hartford’s Newest Residence, Capitol Lofts, Already Half Full
The ceremonial grand opening Wednesday of the Capitol Lofts apartments celebrated more than the conversion of a long-vacant building into rentals: In just four months, the 112 units are already 50 percent leased.
“We hope that everybody in this room spreads the word so we can fill up the rest of the 50 percent,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin told those gathered at a reception attended by several dozen, including many involved in the $36 million conversion.
Bronin said the conversion of the former Hartford Office Supply Co. building at 390 Capitol Ave. is sparking other redevelopment in the area — including the opening of Bob Ramen, a restaurant featuring noodle soup.
The Capital Region Development Authority provided $7 million in taxpayer-funded loans for the project, just one piece of a complex financing puzzle that included three tax-credit deals, six loans, private equity and securitizations√ on the secondary loan market.
The project was one of the most complicated pursued by the authority and was delayed for months. Project costs rose after significant settling was discovered in one portion of the building and more extensive asbestos and lead-based paint was found, all requiring additional funding.
On Wednesday, the long-running negotiations over financing were put in the past, and even invited a few jokes during speeches at the reception.
“What you see here today is the result of about three years worth of work, two years arguing and one year building,” Michael W. Freimuth, the authority’s executive director, said, drawing some laughter from the crowd. “… a $36 million enterprise with a lot of characters and actors in the middle of it.”
The apartment conversion project is the second for Dakota Partners Inc., of Waltham, Mass. The company’s first, the conversion of 179 Allyn St. near Union Station into 63 apartments, is 92-percent rented after leasing to its first tenants in early 2015.
“We’re really proud that this building will become part of Hartford’s Renaissance,” Roberto Arista, a principal in Dakota Partners, said during his turn at the microphone Wednesday.
Capitol Lofts has 89 market-rate apartments and 23 rentals for low- and moderate-income families. Rents for the one- and two-bedroom apartments range from $1,050 to $1,899 a month. Rents for the income-qualified units are $757 for one bedroom and $905 for two bedrooms.
Since 2015, nearly 850 apartments have been added in and around downtown in an effort to boost vibrancy in the city beyond the workweek. Occupancy at some of the largest projects — 777 Main, The Grand on Ann, 179 Allyn, Spectra and the Colt South Armory — are in the 90 percent or better range.
Nearly 600 more apartments in downtown Hartford are under construction or on the drawing board.
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