NEW BRITAIN – It was an exciting and groundbreaking Tuesday afternoon, literally, for both Jasko Development and the City of New Britain. The duo hosted the unveiling of the architectural rendering for The Brit, a brand-new mixed-use development downtown.
“This development, this project, is going to be nothing short of transformative for downtown,” said Jack Benjamin, director of planning and development at Jasko. “I look out in the crowd today and there are a lot of faces around who have waited and worked for years if not decades to see something like this materialize.”
This will be just the second project of this magnitude to be done in the past 40 or 50 years.
“The first new ground up construction that we had was Columbus Commons,” Mayor Erin Stewart said. “To do a project of this magnitude takes somebody who has a unique vision to be able to see it through because it is really difficult to find someone who says, ‘yeah, I’m going to demolish that block and build new from the ground up.’”
Jasko Development took possession of the property about eight months ago. At the end of August Jasko began demolition of the former Burritt Bank and Jasko and the city officially broke ground at the site Tuesday. Work will begin on the new development in the next two weeks.
“We expect to be completed hopefully this time next year if everything moves quickly, that’s weather permitting,” said Avner Krohn, chairman and CEO of Jasko Development.
Krohn brought up a few associates to help with the unveiling of the rendering.
“I want to thank my wife, she puts up with a very crazy developer,” he said with a laugh. “Without our in-house team at Jasko, like our design team, this project doesn’t happen. We need a great team to put it all together and come to fruition. I want to thank our lender Ion Bank; I want to thank our equity because without them the team this project never happens.”
This is Jasko Development’s fifth project in downtown.
“It’s by far the largest and clearly the most significant project that they’ve done to date,” said Gerry Amodio, executive director, New Britain Downtown District. “And we’re all pretty familiar with the quality that they do, promises kept, product provided in the time they say it is and a staff that I call my friends and family at Jasko. “
The Brit will be six stories consisting of retail space on the first floor and 107 luxury apartments above.
“I know (Krohn’s) not from the city, but the way he treats his projects you would think that he was,” Stewart said. “He invests smartly here, too, with the projects that he’s already done like the Andrews building. He’s increased the quality of the housing that we have available here and I think that’s important while keeping it affordable. I know it says luxury apartments but it’s going to be market rate; I don’t want that to discourage people.”
Krohn says they chose to name the building The Brit to pay homage to the city and to have a young flare, which gears toward the 25 to 35 year old crowd they project will move into the building.
“I think it’s an awesome vibe it’s going to create,” Stewart said.