Web Sites, Documents and Articles >> Hartford Courant News Articles >

Historic Homes To Get $3.4 Million Renovation

New Owners To Have A Stake On Belden Street

April 11, 2005
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer

Five boarded-up, 19th-century homes on Belden Street in Hartford's North End will be transformed from squatters' domains to homes as a group of developers prepares to close on a sale from the city and begin a $3.4 million restoration project.

Construction on the project is expected to start in May, according to developers.

"This can have a positive effect on the neighborhoods that we work in," said John Reveruzzi, one of the five developers involved in Belden Development LLC that is interested in furthering the thought that homeownership and Hartford go together. "And it affects all the other development we do in the City of Hartford. It's the ripple effect."

Reveruzzi's company, Milano Corp., is joined by Broad-Park Development Corp. Inc., Corporation for Independent Living Inc., Greater Hartford Realty Management Corp., and Hopgood Group LLC. Together they make up Belden Development LLC - essentially the same group that completed the Mortson-Putnam Heights project in the Frog Hollow neighborhood.

The city acquired the vacant Belden Street homes in 2002 through foreclosures. "We took possession of those a few years back with the specific intent of identifying a developer to fix them, put them back in service and provide homeownership," said Bruno Mazzulla, the city's director of housing and community development.

The project aims to revive both the historic homes and the block itself - one that outlived the riots and urban renewal efforts of decades past and that is now a frequent stop for city police fighting drugs and crime.

According to information presented to the Capital City Economic Development Authority, the homes at 22, 28, 32, 38 and 44 Belden St. will each have a large three-bedroom unit, and a smaller two-bedroom rental unit for a total of 10 new units. They will be joined by new homes at 48 and 54 Belden St. - each built on vacant lots that the corporation is buying from the city. These homes, too, will have a combination of owner-occupied and rental housing. Sales prices are expected to range from $157,000 to $174,000.

But the $3.4 million project cost is far from being funded by the estimated $1.1 million in sales when the units are completed. The remaining $2.2 million will come from "gap financing" - grant money from various state and local agencies and nonprofits interested in homeownership.

The two largest chunks of money are $900,000 from the state Department of Economic Development and the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, and $916,125 in state funds from the Capital City Economic Development Authority and the city.

"The most difficult part of a project like this from a development perspective is ... putting together the financing," Reveruzzi said. "Even though the organizations, including the city, are very supportive, it's a long process."

Belden Development will get a fee of about $286,000 to be split among its five partners for what will likely be more than two years of work. "And if there's any shortfall at all, that comes out of the development fee," Reveruzzi said. If the properties sell at a higher value than now expected, the extra money would go not to the developers, but to reduce the "gap," he said.

Mayor Eddie A. Perez has an affinity for both the project and the street - it was one of the first on which he organized tenants back in 1978.

"This is going to balance the street because most of the street is rental, and it's going to have ownership," he said.

"These guys have done it," Perez said of the developers' work at Mortson-Putnam Heights. "This is a team that's worked before. This is about making sure we end up with a quality product."

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 |
Powered by Hartford Public Library  

Includes option to search related Hartford sites.

Advanced Search
Search Tips

Can't Find It? Have a Question?