Former Edgerton School property plans revealed
New London — The owners of the former Edgerton School property unveiled the latest iteration of a proposed affordable housing development on Monday — a 72-unit complex they hope to start building in 2018.
The team of Peabody Properties and Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative Inc. presented conceptual plans for the Cedar Grove Avenue development to members of the New London Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. The housing authority had initially enlisted the affordable housing specialists to build replacement units for the 124 families living at the federally subsidized Thames River Apartments on Crystal Avenue.
But plans for a 124-unit complex stalled after a rejection from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. The latest plans are a compromise reached as the result of a court appeal. A court hearing is scheduled for July 20 in which ratification of an agreement by a judge is expected. The developer's attorney, Mathew Greene, said a judge needs only to confirm that there was not “fraud or collusion involved,” in the agreement reached with the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“It’s been a long process and I think we’re all sick and tired of going over the same thing. I want to see something happen. Let’s get it done,” said housing authority commissioner Kathleen Mitchell.
The housing authority has meanwhile moved forward with an application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to secure Section 8 vouchers for residents on Crystal Avenue and eventually tear down the high-rises. The vouchers would allow the residents to move to a new HUD-approved residence.
The partnership with Peabody and the HUD application are separate actions, but both are related to a court order to upgrade or build new residences. The court order was the result of a class-action lawsuit filed by Attorney Robert Reardon on behalf of the residents complaining of the dismal conditions there.
Even though the Crystal Avenue residents are likely to be settled elsewhere before the Edgerton School project is completed, Elizabeth Collins, Peabody’s vice president of development, said those residents will have an opportunity to move into the new complex during the initial lease offering.
Collins said that Peabody, which would privately own and operate the development, called The Edgerton, plans 10 buildings totaling eight two-bedroom units, 50 three-bedroom units and 14 four-bedroom units, along with a community center. The community center would accommodate outside entities such as the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Connecticut and TVCCA.
Most of the units would be three stories, with flats on the bottom level and two-level units on the top two floors.
Greene said the development would generate an estimated $125,000 in annual taxes for the city.
The units are not subsidized but rather a mixed-income project built in part with low-income housing tax credits with state requirements that residents earn under the area’s median income level. At least 10 percent of the complex will accommodate families that earn less than 25 percent of the median area income. Rates for the units have not yet been set.
Peabody plans to maintain a property management supervisor, a maintenance supervisor and resident services coordinator.
The development will have 162 parking spaces with 28 offered to the city for use by visitors to the adjoining Veterans Field, which is currently under construction.
Greene said the plans will first be presented to the Inland Wetland & Conservation Commission before moving on to the Planning and Zoning Commission for site plan and special permit approvals.
Affordable Housing President Michael Mattos said the plans will be presented to neighbors of the Cedar Grove property during a Thursday meeting at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn. Neighbors had fought against the initial plans, but Mattos said he hopes to dispel any misinformation people might have about the project.
“We want the reality and perception to line up,” Mattos said.