The Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA) recently announced that it had acquired 207-213 Garden Street, an 11,000 square foot mixed-use building strategically located at the corner of Ashley and Garden Street, one of the principal gateways into the Asylum Hill neighborhood. This building, a longstanding nuisance to the neighborhood, has declined precipitously over the last several years and is currently vacant except for a pizza shop and package store on the ground floor. NINA plans to undertake a substantial renovation of the entire building.
NINA will begin by restoring the façade of this historic 1926 structure. The façade improvements will be combined with site improvements, streetscape improvements along Garden Street, and the creation of off-street parking at the adjacent lot at 219 Garden Street. A second phase will involve the creation of new retail on the ground floor and the substantial renovation of the building’s two upper floors for commercial and/or residential uses.
Lynda Godkin, chair of NINA’s Board of Directors, noted that the purchase of 207-213 Garden Street represents the culmination of a linchpin of NINA’s strategy: to gain site control of blighted and nuisance properties in the neighborhood and be the catalyst for their renaissance. She praised the perseverance of NINA’s board and its staff. “We have reached an important milestone. Years of hard work and patience have paid off. With the involvement of nearby residents, NINA now can establish a new anchor property for the corner of Ashley and Garden Streets, one that will continue the transformation of that part of Asylum Hill. We all recognize that we now can be the catalyst for significant change in the neighborhood,” Ms. Godkin said. “We are eager to get this project underway.”
The building will be renamed the Zunner Building in honor of George A. Zunner, Sr. (1861-1936), the most prolific architect in Hartford history. Zunner designed this yellow-brick structure as well as over 600 other structures in Hartford ranging from single-family homes to Perfect Six apartment buildings and mixed-use structures like 207-213 Garden Street.
The revitalization of the Zunner Building will build on NINA’s other redevelopment work in the area including the restoration of over a dozen historic homes that has helped earn Asylum Hill the designation as one of the best neighborhoods in America for first-time homebuyers to purchase an historic property (This Old House Magazine).
“As a longtime resident of Asylum Hill, we congratulate NINA on this achievement and support their efforts to strengthen our neighborhood,” said Mary Ellen Curran, director of philanthropy at The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. “NINA’s work is instrumental to the revitalization of one of Hartford’s historic neighborhoods.”