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Two new apartment complexes under development in New London

New London — Two new multi-unit housing developments are on the horizon for the city, but the demographics of the would-be renters are very different from each other.

The city’s development arm, the Renaissance City Development Association, is in the final phase of a land swap that will clear the remaining hurdles for a 203-unit building at Howard and Hamilton streets. The development, with a host of amenities, is aimed at executives and the growing market for Electric Boat employees.

Meanwhile, across from an entrance to the New London Mall is a proposed 64-unit affordable housing development on Bayonet Street. Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities, or ECHO, is cobbling together funding from the state and other sources to start the $7 million first phase of the project, which will include 28 units and a community space for the residents.

Felix Reyes, the director of the city’s Office of Development and Planning, said that as excited as the city is to have upscale apartments to boost the local economy, the affordable housing market is also in dire need of inventory. He said he welcomes both.

The Bayonet Street development has already secured zoning approval, obtained local building permits and chosen a contractor for what will be two multifamily buildings to replace two vacant dilapidated single-family homes on the adjoining parcels at 433 and 443 Bayonet St.

Peter Battles, ECHO’s executive director, said the new development fits in nicely with the group’s mission. The nonprofit develops one-and two-family homes for low-income first-time buyers, provides down payment assistance loans and owns and manages rental properties for low-income families and individuals.

ECHO recently partnered with the city to purchase, rehabilitate and resell a series of homes in the city as owner-occupied rental properties. The initiative, called the Hempstead District Homeowners Program, is billed as the successor to the City Flats effort without the condos. A significant portion of the Bayonet Street project, 20 of the 28 units in the first phase, will target lower-income renters.

ECHO received a $500,000 grant from Connecticut Housing Finance Authority’s State Housing Tax Credit Contributions program and $650,000 from a affordable housing program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.

CHFA awarded a total of $10 million in tax credits as part of the program to nonprofits across the state that included the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, Mystic River Homes Inc., Spruce Ridge in Pawcatuck, St. Edmund’s Retreat in Mystic, Community of Hope in Groton and New London-based HOPE Inc., Housing Opportunities for People. The program was created by the legislature as an incentive for affordable housing.

“The HTCC program is an important public/private partnership that provides funding for non-profit developers and brings private investment to affordable housing,” Seila Mosquera-Bruno, chairwoman of CHFA’s board of directors and commissioner of the Department of Housing, said in a statement.

ECHO awaits word on obtaining the remainder of the needed funds for its project from CHFA and state Department of Housing. The City Council earlier this year agreed to waive half of ECHO’s building permit fees to boost its chances of obtaining that funding.

“It’s great for the city, these developments like the multifamily on Howard Street,” Battles said. “I’m all for it, but those are most definitely market rate. It’s not reaching the kind of people we’re interested in.”

g.smith@theday.com

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