The Hartford Housing Authority (HHA) and The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB), will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking completion of the first phase of the five-year, $73 million redevelopment of the former Dutch Point Colony public housing site on Tuesday, January 30 at 10:00 am, at 137 Wyllys Street, in Hartford’s Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood.
Dignitaries in attendance will be Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, HHA Interim Executive Director Jorge Flores, members of the board of the Hartford Housing Authority, HUD New England Regional Director Taylor Caswell, and Congressman John Larson’s Chief of Staff, Elliot Ginsberg.
The Dutch Point revitalization program is the result of a collaborative effort among HHA, TCB and the Coalition to Strengthen the Sheldon/Charter Oak Neighborhood (CSS/CON). This public-private partnership is the force behind replacing an aging and obsolete public housing development with a state of the art mixed-income and mixed-financed community that will ultimately include both renters and homeowners.
“I am extremely proud of the collaborative efforts of CSS/CON, the Community Builders, the Hartford Housing Authority and the local, state and federal authorities who have come together to complete this phase of the total project,” says Congressman John B. Larson. “It is a proud example of the value of HOPE VI federal resources to transform a 1920’s barracks-style housing development into a model urban mixed-income community. I applaud the efforts of all the partners in achieving this success and look forward to future ceremonies upon the completion of phases two and three of this significant neighborhood asset.”
The ribbon cutting marks the completion of Phase I of a three-phase, 198 unit comprehensive redevelopment plan utilizing public and private investment as a catalyst for the economic renaissance of the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood.
Phase I consists of 73 affordable rental apartments in 15 newly-constructed or renovated buildings. The Dutch Point project is being constructed in two rental phases and one homeownership phase. Upon completion of all three phases, the New Dutch Point will encompass 71 units of homeownership housing and 129 rental units.
Rental Phase II, starting construction in Spring 2007, will construct and renovate 54 rental apartments, and build a 2,600 square foot community center and a small park. The Homeownership phase will also break ground in 2007, and will build 71 townhouses and condominiums, of which 30 will be subsidized for sale to low and moderate- income buyers, and 41 will be sold at market rate.
“The Community Builders congratulates Dutch Point residents, CSS/CON, HHA, the City of Hartford and local service providers for creating this great and positive change in the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood.” says Susan McCann, Northeast Development Director for TCB.
“Our government funders and private investors deserve credit and thanks for delivering the financial resources necessary to bring Phase I to completion. The project’s success is particularly gratifying because the project was built by the people who live here: more than 41% of the workforce on Phase I were Hartford residents, while minorities and women made up a remarkable 63% of labor force. Over 80% of Phase I subcontracts were awarded to Hartford-based businesses. Over $6.8 million (59.5%) of Phase I subcontract work was performed by minority-owned businesses, and women-owned firms accounted for over $1.5 million (13.9%) of the subcontract work.”
The project is funded by a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, awarded to HHA in 2003. Total financing for Rental Phase I is $19 million, and the overall project is expected to cost $73 million.
The New Dutch Point incorporates the design philosophies of the New Urbanist movement in creating a new neighborhood from the former barracks-style “superblock.” The site has become a pedestrian-scaled, traditional urban neighborhood, with three-story and four-story buildings fronting onto two new streets. In place of undifferentiated open space between units at the old Dutch Point, the New Dutch Point promotes “defensible space” ideas, allowing residents to control their own spaces more effectively.