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Apartments Proposed For 1880s Hartford Office Building


February 25, 2013

An 1880s office building near Hartford’s Union Station auctioned last fall after a foreclosure could soon get a new kind of tenant: apartment renters.

Dakota Partners of Waltham, Mass. is proposing an estimated $14.7 million conversion of office space on the upper floors of 179 Allyn St. into 63, one-bedroom units, state and city officials confirmed today.

The sale of the six-story, 70,000-square-foot building, at the corner of Allyn and High streets, has not been completed, according to the auction house handling the sale.

Dakota Partners declined to comment on the proposal today.

All of the units would be market rate, ranging in size from about 500 square feet to about 800 square feet, Michael W. Freimuth, executive director the Capital Region Development Authority, told me today.

Monthly rents could range between $900 and $1,100, not including parking, Freimuth said.

Dakota Partners has had discussions with the CRDA about funding for the project. The CRDA is seeking to increase housing stock in downtown Hartford, primarily through equity investments.

In addition to potential CRDA funding, financing would include a bank loan and historic tax credits, Freimuth said.

One challenge will be securing sufficient parking for the proposal, Freimuth said.

City Development Director Thomas Deller told me retail tenants, which now include the Nv Nightclub and the Black Bear Saloon, would remain on the ground floor.

Construction on the building — now nearly 80-percent vacant — could begin later this year, Deller said.

According to its web site, Dakota is a developer of mostly upscale single-family homes, condominiums and apartment buildings in Massachusetts. Dakota does list one rental development geared to mixed incomes.

If the 179 Allyn project moves forward, it would join a growing number of planned conversions downtown including the former Bank of America tower on Main Street and the old Sonesta Hotel on Constitution Plaza.

All three projects are aimed at renters who are looking for smaller apartments with lower rents.

“There is a real demand for smaller units,” Deller said.

Deller said the Allyn Street building — known as The Professional Building — provides an alternative to the other structures, which were built in the 1960s.

The age and rich architectural detail of the building provides for an opportunity for exposed brick walls in apartment units, larger windows and other details, Deller said.

The building, designed by the same architects as Hartford’s Goodwin Hotel, still has its original marble lobby.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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