In Wake Of Fire, Developer Reiterates Commitment To Converting To Condos
November 18, 2005
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, And TINA A. BROWN Courant Staff Writers
A fire Wednesday night at the 102-year old Capewell Horse Nail Co. factory downtown did not do significant damage to the building and does not threaten its planned conversion to 92 condominiums, the building's owner said Thursday.
"We're still going forward," developer John Reveruzzi said. "The fire doesn't have a direct negative effect to this point on going ahead with development."
Reveruzzi plans to spend about $23 million to turn the factory into living space with units ranging in price from $185,000 to $395,000. About 25 people have placed $500 deposits as reservations on future units, he said. In September, Mayor Eddie A. Perez pledged $2 million in city money in an attempt to jump-start the project. Reveruzzi is required to come up with the rest of the financing within 18 months, or the city can take over the property.
"The city's funding has been a big help in bringing in investors," Reveruzzi said.
Vagrants camping in the Capewell building were probably responsible for the blaze on the top floor, Hartford police Capt. Edward Casares said.
He said the fire occurred in an area of the vacant building where homeless people stored blankets, cardboard and newspapers. The fire swept quickly through the top floor, but the rest of the building is sound, Casares said.
It has not been determined whether the fire was intentionally set, but the investigation continues,Casares said.
The fire was similar to one that damaged the second floor of the building two months ago, Casares said.
"Even though we've got it as secure as we could make it, they seem to be breaking back in," Reveruzzi said. "Somebody was in there, it was a little cold, they started a fire to keep warm and it got out of hand."
The brick building was relatively unscathed by the flames, he said; it is the interior partitions that fuel the fires. Reveruzzi said he now is considering knocking them all down.
"That may have a positive effect on the whole building," he said.
Fire damage is certainly a concern for the building, but so is water damage from firefighting.
"That's my big concern," Reveruzzi said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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