NEW BRITAIN - Construction crews have been busy at a Columbus Boulevard site as fences, steel girders and a foundation take shape as part of the Columbus Commons project.
The first phase of construction kicked off in October 2018. The $58 million transit-oriented-development project is on the site of the former police station at 125 Columbus Blvd.
The project is being led by New York-based Xenolith Partners and Massachusetts-based Dakota Partners.
“We are excited that construction for phase one of Columbus Commons is well underway,” Mayor Erin Stewart said. “This project has been several years in the making and we look forward to seeing a new generation of residents call downtown New Britain home. This historic project will be a catalyst for continued growth in our community.”
In 2017, the city broke ground on the project, which will include two six-story buildings with 160 mixed-income residential units and first-floor retail space. The buildings, A and B, will be constructed separately. Building B is the first one that it’s being worked on because it will be directly facing the street.
As the foundation of Building B was being put in place, remediation of the ground soil was done.
A recent Facebook post by the mayor has generated some criticism as some people are worried the residential aspect of the project will be similar to Section 8 housing.
Stewart’s response to the comments indicates that young professionals are the market for the buildings. Stewart’s comments also emphasized that rent will be on a sliding scale, depending on the individual’s annual income.
The state Department of Economic and Community Development granted the city $2.7 million, which assisted with demolition and the environmental cleanup of the property. DECD also awarded the city $724,000 in Brownfield remediation funds in 2018.
Construction of Building B is expected to be finished by this fall. It is expected to be fully occupied by the summer of 2020, after which construction of Building A will start.
Staff writer Skyler Frazer contributed to this story.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.