Multimillion-dollar condo complex closer to reality in New London
New London — Plans are moving forward for a $40 million condominium complex on Howard Street — a project with the potential to become the first new construction in the Fort Trumbull Municipal Development area.
Renaissance City Development Association Executive Director Peter Davis said a development agreement has been drafted between RCDA and principals of a project being called Shipway 221.
“This could be the first out-of-the-ground Fort Trumbull project. It’s a huge deal,” Davis said. “It’s a big deal for the city and the RCDA, as well as the state.”
Shipway 221 is conceived as a series of three buildings with ample parking and a host of amenities to attract millennials while specifically targeting employees at the nearby Electric Boat. It is located on two parcels of land totaling about 5.4 acres.
Project Manager Anthony Silvestri said the phased project would begin with a 70-unit, four-story structure with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units with an average price of $200,000. Parking would be located on the ground level of the structure. Other buildings would follow, with a total upwards of 180 units, he said.
The complex would include things like an indoor and outdoor pool with cabanas, a rooftop lounge area and barbeque area, movie theaters inside and out, a bike storage area, sunken fire pits, bar with climbing wall and community gathering and entertainment areas.
The project is being financially backed by the Tagliatela family, who have funded both the ongoing City Flats initiative and Harbour Towers project. Silvestri said the idea for the condominiums is to attract more residents looking to live in a lively city environment.
“Any successful downtown starts with the residential development,” Silvestri said. “We’re looking for a buy-in from the community.”
For the RCDA, Davis said the project has the potential to not only contribute much-needed tax revenue to the city but also relieve the downtown of the some of the strains of traffic and parking issues associated with the increase in employment at Electric Boat. The complex is located within walking or biking distance from EB’s New London offices, which employ nearly 4,000 people.
Silvestri said he already has started an outreach initiative at EB, where some of the ideas for the project originated. The name of the project is a nod to the history of the site, which used to be located on the banks of the cove and later was home to Hughie’s Restaurant at 221 Howard St. A shipway is an area where a ship is built and later launched.
The Howard Street land, known by the RCDA as parcels 5C-1 and 5C-2, is the only significant portion of the municipal development area that had not been completely environmentally remediated — and perhaps the most difficult to market because of that fact, Davis said.
The RCDA is using a $400,000 federal brownfields grant to clean up the site, removing some soil and bringing in new soil to satisfy federal Environmental Protection Agency requirements. The Tagliatela family already has agreed to continue any leftover environmental work, Davis said.
Silvestri said that with a development agreement in place, the project potentially could start later this year and be completed in 2018. The RCDA is negotiating with Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for a possible land swap to acquire a small patch of land that bisects the Howard Street parcels.
Once a development agreement is reached, Davis said it would need RCDA, state and City Council approval. While the RCDA owns the property, the state has more than $80 million invested in the Fort Trumbull area, he said.
The RCDA is in talks with two other developers, one interested in a residential complex at the corner of Howard and Bank streets and another who is interested in building a hotel on Fort Trumbull’s largest parcel.
An unveiling of the Shipway 221 plans is scheduled at an Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce-hosted event from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Social Kitchen + Bar on Bank Street.
Editor's Note: This version corrects the role of Peter Davis in the Renaissance City Development Association; he is the organization's executive director.
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