NEW BRITAIN – While the pandemic shut down many city businesses for a few months, it did not stop the progress of the new developments that were underway.
“One of the things we we’re a little concerned with was we have a multitude of apartment complexes being retrofitted, like 222 Main, 57 Court, 27 Main, and another one on Walnut Street, but they’re all going on. There’s been no shutdown,” Economic Development Director Bill Carroll said. “Thankfully this covid didn’t put a hold on those developments.”
One of the new developments recently completed is the Bespoke Apartments located at 132 Main St. This renovation of the historic Andrews building consists of 20 new one-bedroom apartments.
“With how the apartments were put together, it doesn’t seem like this whole situation had any effect on it at all,” said Kevin Brisset, vice president for Property Management at Jasko. “We have been leasing it up pretty quickly compared to some of the other projects.”
Though the prices for the apartments range from $1,275 to $1,425, Brisset said so far they are at about 50% occupancy. They are also in the works to fill the commercial space on the first floor, but it is not final as of yet.
“We are actually working with a group of New Britain residence right now that are in the cooking industry that would like to start their own company, so they’re in the mix of putting all the paperwork together to take over the space,” Brisset said.
The anticipated Columbus Commons Apartments, located at 125 Columbus Blvd., was another new development that has recently been completed. On the site of the former police station, the complex consists of 80 one and two bedroom apartments. Despite the pandemic, Dakota Partners started leasing in March and had 900 applications.
“We moved in the last tenant this week and are 100% occupied,” said Katie Cardillo, marketing director, Dakota Partners. “There was great interest in Columbus Commons. It has only been open for about 60 days; that’s obviously a good sign for a place that hasn’t been marketing for that long. They are extremely nice apartments.”
Sixty four of the apartments were labeled as affordable while the others were priced at market value.
“The tenant rent for the affordable one bedroom ranges from $780-$961 per month, depending on the income band. The market rate one bedroom units are between $1,220 and $1,270,” Cardillo said. “The tenant rent for the affordable two bedroom range from $918-$1,136 per month depending on the income band. The market rate two bedroom units are between $1,326 and $1,612.”
Cardillo says they are still in discussions with several groups (including restaurants, retail stores and hair salons) for the commercial space on the first floor.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic has put many small businesses in a financially challenging position, causing them to be much more cautious and diligent with their strategy,” Cardillo said.
Carroll believes it is extremely important for the city that these new developments are completed and filled.
“Once those are filled it will be a different looking downtown as far as patrons are concerned,” Carroll said. “So we’re very thankful that people are doing these developments and moving forward and not letting this pandemic hold them up.”