June 1, 2007
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer
It's a pretty picture.
With more than 40 stories of residential units built atop the old home of the downtown YMCA, a glass tower of luxury homes alongside Bushnell Park, it's the kind of image that enthuses city enthusiasts.
But for now, it's just a picture.
"It's conceptual," said Chuck Coursey, a spokesman for developer Lawrence R. Gottesdiener. An illustration of the project was recently posted on the website of Gottesdiener's company, Northland Investment Corp. "It's what we'd like to do there, but we're still working with the city to see what can we do there."
Gottesdiener is in the early stages of planning the roughly $120 million Jewell Street project. He's also known as the developer of the Hartford 21 apartment tower, the owner of the Goodwin Hotel and tower, the future operator of both the Hartford Civic Center and Rentschler Field and the man who wants to bring the NHL back to Hartford
As his staff continues to lease out the 262 apartments at Hartford 21 - they recently rented their 100th unit, making the tower 38 percent occupied nine months after it opened - Gottesdiener is slowly working with the city to get between $5 million and $10 million in funding for the Jewell Street project. The original plan included 200 condos and 100 apartments. The current plan targets only those people who want to buy: 250 condos and 30,000 square feet of retail.
"At this stage, it's all condos," Coursey said. "There's a lot of rental product on the market right now. There's not a lot for sale. What we're finding from a lot of people at Hartford 21 is that there are people that do want to own something downtown.
Emphasizing that the project is still in its earliest stages, Coursey said that the architects aren't yet sure how many floors will be built, didn't know how much the project would cost and wouldn't put a timeline on the development.
But he wasn't shy about the vision. "These are going to be the nicest owner-occupied apartments in town," he said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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