Could Mean September Start For Condo Work At Hartford Site
April 20, 2006
ByJEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer
The man who wants to turn the century-old Capewell Horse Nail Co. factory into condominiums says he has a private investor for a partner and could start construction at the long-vacant complex in the city by September.
Developer John Reveruzzi said this week he has signed a letter of intent with the New Boston Fund Inc., the real estate investment fund that already owns 100 Pearl Street at Pearl and Trumbull streets. The fund now has roughly two months to complete its due diligence on the building, he said.
Reveruzzi would not comment on the specifics of the agreement, saying it is still in progress. But he did say that the combination of city financial aid, rising residential property values, and the increasing popularity of condominium development in the city made it easier to attract private investors.
"We're not a pioneer anymore," Reveruzzi said. "When we started this project, there really wasn't any other condominium on the drawing board. Since that time ... a couple of other developments have been done in the city, so you're not out there in a totally untested market."
Original plans for the building called for 92 condominiums that would cost $23 million to construct. The units, ranging from roughly 800 to 2,000 square feet, were originally going to sell for between $185,000 and $395,000, Reveruzzi said.
Now, as the two companies formalize their partnership, they will readdress the number of units and their potential selling prices, Reveruzzi said. Prices will probably go up, he said.
Reveruzzi is the latest developer trying to rejuvenate the red-brick factory building just south of downtown. But the building is vulnerable, both to the elements and to those who seek shelter from them. Last November, a fire swept through the structure's top floor and is believed to have been started by people who had made temporary homes there.
Last September, Mayor Eddie A. Perez pledged $2 million in city money, trying to jump-start the project. Reveruzzi had to come up with the rest of the financing within 18 months, or the city could take the property.
Perez said Tuesday he is cautiously optimistic about the project's potential. He called the fund a "significant player," adding that its interest in Hartford is encouraging.
"These are the kinds of deals I want to see happen," Perez said. "Putting a significant outside investor like the New Boston Fund and a smaller developer that has a local track record - that's the kind of thing you want to do. Because the site is important and the market signal it sends would be important."
"It's a critical site, and it's a good test for where we want to be two or three years from now," Perez said.
Reveruzzi is still pushing a bill in the state legislature for historic tax credits, one that he says is crucial to his project, he said.
"Hopefully, in 60 days, we'll have the financing in place, and, hopefully, by sometime in September we'd be in a position to start construction," Reveruzzi said. "But like Yogi Berra said, it's over when it's over. And in this case, it starts when it starts."
Fund officials could not be reached.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at