Owners of former Edgerton School scale back housing plans again

New London — The owners of the former Edgerton School property plan to make a third attempt to secure state funding for a planned housing project this year, this time for a scaled-back plan with less than half of the units originally proposed.

The Cedar Grove Avenue property was purchased in 2016 for $600,000 to accommodate a $40 million, 124-unit replacement home for the residents of the low-income high rises on Crystal Avenue. The plan, however, was met with opposition from neighbors and ultimate rejection by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Residents of the Thames River Apartments on Crystal Avenue have since moved elsewhere.

A revised plan to build 72 mixed-income units in town house-style development was approved in 2017. On Thursday, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a modification of the plan that envisions 51 units and more green space.

A representative from site owner FW Edgerton, the team of Massachusetts-based Peabody Properties and Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative, said he thinks slimming the proposal down makes the application for state funding more palatable.

“What we’re trying to do is position our application to be more competitive,” said Michael Mattos, the president and executive director of Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative Inc. “I think we’ve done that.”

FW Edgerton is seeking funding in part through a competitive annual round of financing by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, which manages a low-income housing tax credit program. The deadline for the application comes in November with announcements on funding in the spring.

Mattos said there were no immediate plans to sell the property of the application for funding is denied.

“It’s one of those things where we evaluate it one cycle at a time,” Mattos said.

The new plan for the 120 Cedar Grove Ave. property, combined with three adjoining properties, removes three of the planned multi-unit buildings and expands green space and playground area. The proposal calls for three two-bedroom units, 37 three-bedroom units and 11 four-bedroom units. A 5,000-square-foot community building designed as a multi-functional space was reduced to 3,000 square feet.

The long-vacant property was at one time the proposed future site of a community center. Mayor Michael Passero in 2016 pitched the idea of buying the site for $350,000 in hopes of luring a YMCA to build and maintain a facility there.

Like the original housing project, the proposed purchase was panned by some residents who tried to block the purchase with a petition. And while the city council at the time voted 4-3 in favor of the purchase, three councilors successfully used a procedural move to push the approval past a purchase deadline.

g.smith@theday.com

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