Horace Bushnell Complex To Be 'Stripped Down, Reconfigured'
By JENNA CARLESSO
December 26, 2012
HARTFORD —— A project to renovate nine historic brick buildings on Vine Street has gotten a boost thanks to a $500,000 contribution from Connecticut Light & Power.
Officials expect to begin the $15 million project in April. Nine three-story buildings at 4-40 Vine St., known as the Horace Bushnell Apartments, will undergo significant improvements.
The 89-unit complex will be "stripped down" and "reconfigured," said Emily Wolfe, a spokeswoman for Sheldon Oak Central Inc., which controls the entity that owns the apartments. When completed, she said, there will be fewer units — 74 total — but each will feature better quality and design.
Four of the nine buildings in the complex are condemned and boarded up, and only 32 units are currently occupied, Wolfe said. The units will be renovated and restored, and improvements will be made to security features and lighting in the buildings.
The project will eliminate all of the four-bedroom units and increase the number of three- and one-bedroom apartments, Wolfe said, helping to meet a demand for more units of those sizes. The buildings also will include two-bedroom units.
In addition to the CL&P contribution, the project is being funded by a combination of federal low-income housing tax credits, federal and state historic tax credits and state Housing Trust funds. The city is contributing rental subsidies for 23 first-floor apartments, which will be occupied by elderly people, Wolfe said.
The funds from CL&P will be used to enhance walkways and recreational space outdoors and for landscaping efforts, she said.
One of the renovated buildings will feature space for tenant activities and private conferences, a fitness area, a community room, a management office and a resident coordinator office.
Upon completion, eight of the units will be designated for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, 15 units will be set aside for "very low-income" households, 15 units won't carry income restrictions and 23 will be dedicated to senior housing, Wolfe said. Income limits for the remaining 13 units vary by unit, she said.
The project is expected to take about a year. The Horace Bushnell Apartments, built in the 1920s as workforce housing, take up nearly the entire block of Vine Street between Albany Avenue and Mather Street and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Project organizers described the renovations as a crucial piece of the neighborhood's revitalization efforts.
"The project occupies a key corner on Albany Avenue and Vine Street," Wolfe said. "Albany Avenue is a busy retail corridor and Vine Street is an important link to the neighborhoods to the north and Keney Park.
"A number of institutions nearby have recently made significant investments in the immediate neighborhood, including the new YMCA, the expanded Community Health Services Center, the new Upper Albany Branch of the Hartford Public Library and Artists' Collective. … The rehabilitation of HBA will help solidify and sustain these public and private investments."
Added Dorothy Strelchun, president of Charter Oak Central's board, in a statement: "It will have a major positive impact on Upper Albany, a neighborhood with huge untapped potential because of its lively commercial district, historic homes and many institutions and amenities."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at