Developer to be considered for area near Berlin train station

Published on Sunday, 8 July 2018 21:19
Written by Charles Paullin

@CPaullinNBH

BERLIN - The Town Council is expected to vote on a recommendation on the developer for about 3.8 acres of town-owned property near the train station, planned for mixed-use residential and retail development.

Newport Realty Group, LLC, of the Plantsville section of Southington, is the developer to be voted on for transient-oriented development at 889, 903 and 913 Farmington Ave.

Newport was recommended by a committee consisting of Town Planner Marek Kozikowski, Assistant Planner and Zoning Enforcement Officer Maureen Giusti, Town Manager Jack Healy, Economic Development Commission Chairman David Cyr, and Christopher Coppola, a member of the EDC.

They made their recommendation after receiving five proposals in response to a Request for Qualifications for the project released by the Economic Development Department at the end of 2017.

Economic Development Director Chris Edge and Coordinator Jim Mahoney recused themselves from the committee because of a relationship they had with one of the firms submitting a proposal.

“The committee feels that by choosing a local developer that does not rely on public financing, the project can be molded to better suit Berlin’s vision for the train station/Farmington Avenue downtown area,” wrote Kozikowski, in documents prepared for the council.

The Newport Realty Group proposal calls for 650-square-foot, one-bedroom units and 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom units, 60 of them market-rate, totaling about 64,000 square feet of residential space.

The proposal also call for 2,500 square feet of retail and office space and 116 parking spaces, 25 of them covered.

The development would be three buildings, with a maximum of three stories.

Expected completion of the $7.6 million project would be between December 2020 or July 2021.

Newport Realty Property is a joint venture partnership of Mark Lovley, president of Lovley Development, of Plantsville, and Tony Valenti, principal of New England Hotels, of Waterbury. The two have experience in buying, renovating and managing commercial properties and owning two Hampton Inn hotels in the state.

Penrose and Corvus Capital Partners LLC submitted the other two proposals.

The committee reviewed the submissions over the course of two days in January. Several stakeholders were interviewed to get their perspective on the project’s downtown impact, according to the council documents.

The land was purchased by the town for a new police station, but $21 million and $16 million versions of the plan were defeated at referendum and by a vote of the council, respectively, over budget concerns.

A study by urban planners CivicMoxie recommended the mixed-use residential and retail buildings, saying a police station would not be a good fit for the sites.

As part of the RFQ process, the town reserves the right to reject any and all responses, and advertise for new ones.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers of Town Hall, 240 Kensington Road.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or cpaullin@centraltcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Sunday, 8 July 2018 21:19. Updated: Sunday, 8 July 2018 21:22.