2022-07-07

New Apartment-Building Phase Underway | New Haven Independent

16 min read

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Spinnaker Real Estate Partners RenderingOne hundred thirty-five new apartments will stand at the corner of Orange and Grove streets next year, as part of the second phase of The Audubon complex.

Two blocks away, a hotel planned by the same developer remains on hold as the hospitality industry’s Covid-19 downturn continues.

“We’re constantly inquiring with lenders and banks about what the market is like for hotel construction. It’s still lukewarm,” Spinnaker Vice President Frank Caico said of the 80 Elm St. project.

Caico provided these updates Tuesday evening to the Downtown-Wooster Square Community Management Team.

Renters have been living in the first phase of The Audubon, a 269-apartment complex with a garage at its center. Construction started on the first phase in 2018 and was done by 2020. These apartments are now 90 percent leased, Caico said.

The second phase of construction fills out the Grove Street side of the block with 135 more apartments and ground-floor retail space. Caico expects construction to continue through the rest of this year and for apartments to be ready for tenants by the spring of 2022.

Neighbor Kevin McCarthy asked at Tuesday evening’s virtual meeting to hear Spinnaker’s strategies for filling that retail space, particularly during the Covid-19 economic downturn.

The restaurant industry is still a good bet, Caico revealed. The street-food-focused eatery El Segundo has moved into the restaurant space in the first phase of The Audubon and seems to be thriving.

Early conversations with restauranteurs and a few other retail companies about the Grove Street spaces has Caico feeling cautiously optimistic.

The South Norwalk-based developer also has approval for a third phase, a townhouse-style building planned for 29 Audubon St. This would put another 66 apartments on what is now a parking lot (pictured above). All told, the complex is expected to cost $160 million.

The Audubon as it stands now is a high-end complex, with a pool, a rooftop terrace, and a sleek coffee bar in the lobby. The Audubon’s leasing website shows studios starting at $1,776 a month. The largest apartment size currently available are one-bedrooms rentable for up to $2,392 a month.

A Boutique Hotel?

One Spinnaker project not moving along is the hotel planned for 80 Elm St. Newly-elected management team chair Ian Dunn asked about the hotel’s status during Caico’s presentation. The site is currently a dirt hole next to the city Hall of Records where a bank once stood.

While lenders still do not want to support a hotel project, Caico expects to see some change in that attitude by the end of the year. He hopes to restart the hotel project by 2022 or 2023.

In the meantime, Spinnaker is considering changing which hotel fills out the six-story building planned for the site. The company is in talks with a more boutique brand for the hotel, rather than the Hilton Garden Inn originally approved. Otherwise, the 80 Elm building plans remain the same.

Tags: Spinnaker, Audubon Square, Frank Caico, Downtown-Wooster Square Community Management Team

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posted by: ShadowBoxer on March 17, 2021  1:20pm

I could be wrong, but my supposition regarding why so many people are undercounted is because the vast majority of students, especially grad students, do not change their legal residential addresses. 

Imagine for a moment growing up on One Main Street, Madison, Wisconsin, and then graduating from UW and attending Yale Law.  There is really no incentive to change one’s address from WI to CT. 

CT is also a reliably blue state during national elections, so unlike when I was in college, most grad students know their vote is a “wasted” vote nationally.  Smarter students from swing states actually make the calculation to remain a “resident” of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin b/c they know their vote is “worth more there.”  (This does point to increasing obsolescence of the Electoral College).

Locally, students do not care about local races, which are reliably blue anyway.  (This speaks to a larger problem that most “races” are gerrymandered and not competitive but I digress yet again).  Does anyone remember the name of the last Republican to run for Mayor of New Haven?

One need only stroll through the parking garages or East Rock to see a plethora of out of state plates…

Thus, most grad students do not legally change their residences to reflect the census requirement that:

“People are counted at their usual residence, which is the place where they live and sleep most of the time.”

But it may be a good thing if they did, so that states w/ a more educated population have more representation in DC, but while Nate Silver would probably second that sentiment, Yale alum JD Vance might not.

posted by: ge.wat_NYC on March 18, 2021  10:48am

pdr423, I’ve mentioned this elsewhere…. the real reason NH is seeking to push affordable housing on to places like Woodbridge is because NH wants to reinvent itself by doing what places like NYC did in the 1990s: push the poor out, and bring in the affluent – thereby making the tax roles greater as property values go up, and bringing down crime at the same time.

It’s a win win for the cities, and those displaced wind up getting a taste of suburban life, which must be a culture shock to some I would imagine, but then again maybe not.

What is affordable housing anyway ??
Is it $600 – $800 a month rents ??
Homes for $150 K
Condos/Coops for less than $100 k with all the bells and whistles ??

I’m just curious… because I am well aware of the stigma that comes with affordable housing.
Does it include vouchers ?? Section 8/title 19 ??

My city is looking to do all market rate [what the hell does that mean ??] apartments like across the river has been doing for quite sometime now, although I can’t help but wonder just how many apartments are truly needed here along the New Haven Fairfield county line – is our population really going up by that much ??

If NH is to remain the land of opportunity for extremely well off non-profits, then NH needs to generate their revenue elsewhere, and there’s no better place to start than by soaking the homeowner.

If property values go up, tax revenue goes up too.

It’s that simple.

That’s why apartment complexes like these in the article get the green light.

I’d be curious what the prices will be in there once I am ready to retire, as my main retirement goals include no longer having to drive a car.

posted by: anonymous on March 18, 2021  1:19pm

PDR: The housing market is almost 100% determined by the private market. Developers will only build something if they can turn a profit.

Unless Biden and Congress pass a budget that includes a 10,000% increase in housing subsidies (something I would love to see), then building more new housing is the only realistic way to get more affordable housing in our area.

https://cityobservatory.org/the-end-of-the-housing-supply-debate-maybe/

Requiring developers to include affordable housing is nice in theory, but if it’s too aggressive it could slow the supply of new housing and thereby make prices rise for everyone.  Subsidies are a great idea overall, but we should keep in mind that the $300,000 the government spends to subsidize the cost of a new housing unit could also be used for things like infrastructure or brownfield remediation that make it easier for developers to add supply more quickly. Another approach is to roll back zoning and parking requirements, so that developers can easily build large housing complexes in Woodbridge, for example.

Generally speaking, the new units of today become the affordable housing of tomorrow.  For example, the hundreds of large homes near Saint Raphael’s hospital were built for the “top 1%” of the 1880’s, but they are now relatively affordable as multi-family apartments.

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