A historic manufacturing plant is being transformed into 154 affordable and middle-income apartments in New Britain, Connecticut.
The site was home to Landers, Frary & Clark, one of the first manufacturers of electric appliances in the United States, including the “Universal” brand of appliances as well as percolators, irons, and other items. During both world wars, production at the plant shifted to military items, including gun mounts.
Now, after sitting largely vacant for decades, the 115-year-old complex will go from once manufacturing housewares to serving as housing.
WinnDevelopment is converting the plant into 79 one-, 59 two-, and 16 three-bedroom units. The historic exterior of the brick buildings will be preserved, while the interior space will be adapted into apartments for households earning 30%, 50%, 60%, and 80% of the area median income.
“This year marks our 40th anniversary of developing affordable housing in Connecticut, so the start of work on this development is a great way to celebrate that milestone,” said Larry Curtis, president and managing partner of WinnDevelopment. “We’re pleased to partner with state and local officials, as well as private funders, to preserve and convert this historic remnant of New Britain’s industrial past into a modern apartment community that will serve the working households fueling the city’s future.”
The completed building will feature a 150-kilowatt solar array to provide energy for the community, as well as electric vehicle charging stations. To enhance the project’s ongoing energy efficiency and significantly reduced carbon emissions, thoughtful design will ensure improved thermal performance, through new windows and insulation, and a healthy and comfortable place to live, with high-performance ventilation, Energy Star appliances, low-flow plumbing, and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.
Amenities will include a fitness room, a community room, a game room, flex workspaces, outdoor seating areas, 230 parking spaces, and on-site leasing, maintenance, and management offices.
Numerous public and private partners are providing financing for the $85 million project.
The 200,000-square-foot complex will be known as Ellis Street Commons when it is ready for occupancy in early 2025. The construction effort will generate about 196 jobs and $33 million in economic impact in the New Britain area.
The Connecticut Department of Housing provided $4 million in funding through the FLEX Funding Program and an additional $3.85 million in federal funds though the National Housing Trust Fund. DOH will also provide 11 Section 8 vouchers for future residents.
The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority provided tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, and Opportunity Funds for the project.
The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development provided a brownfield loan to support environmental remediation work at the former industrial site.
The National Park Service and Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office provided federal and state historic tax credits. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The city of New Britain provided $950,000 in HOME Funds to support the development.
Bank of America is providing a construction loan and more than half of the project’s funding through its investment in the federal low-income housing and historic tax credits generated by the development.
BlueHub Capital, a nonprofit community development financing organization based in Boston, has provided a bridge loan, while Eversource, an energy provider for Connecticut, is purchasing the state historic tax credits involved in the development as well as providing energy rebates related to its environmental sustainability features.
Keith Construction is the general contractor, with JCJ Architecture serving as the architect. Collective Design Associates and Langan Engineering and Environmental Services are providing engineering services.
In the past 40 years, WinnDevelopment has converted 42 historic structures in seven states into more than 5,000 housing units. WinnCompanies is one of the nation’s largest multifamily housing managers with 105,600 residential and military apartment homes under management. The company also owns 125 apartment communities in 11 states and the District of Columbia.