For New Haven’s Hill to Downtown community plan, it has been a long time coming, but it’s finally beginning to take shape.
The Hill to Downtown district is bounded by the Route 34 connector and Church Street, from the Yale Medical School and down to Union Station.
Tuesday was the official groundbreaking for the first phase of the development, which will turn a piece of land on Gold Street into a four-story building with 110 apartments and retail on the ground floor.
“New Haven is definitely an attractive place. There’s a lot of cultural and entertainment options in New Haven,” said developer Randy Salvatore.
Thirty of the apartments will be affordable housing, and for Salvatore, this is just a start.
Across the way, he has plans to renovate the old Welch Annex School into 30 more apartments, and he recently got approval to put up two more apartment buildings with 194 units at Congress Avenue and Lafayette Street, currently two parking lots.
“That’s what excited me about this particular project, is the opportunity to create something from parking lots, yet in an area that’s so accessible, whether it’s the train station on one side, Yale Medical School, Yale hospital a block over this way and right across Route 34 you’re right in the center of New Haven,” Salvatore said.
More than 50 years ago, construction of the Route 34 Oak Street connector fragmented the area, separating it from the hill and downtown neighborhoods.
Now the plan will transform more than 11. 5 acres of neglected properties and surface lots.
“We’re likely to draw people who work in other places like Stamford, New York to come and live here because we’re so close to the train station, and people who live here downtown can walk to work,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.
While the projects are not connected, there’s the future of the old Church Street south housing complex, which is getting prepped to be taken down and eventually redeveloped as well.
“Whatever happens in that area will benefit what we’re doing here, and whatever we’re doing benefits that. So I think 1 plus 1 makes 3 in that case,” Salvatore said.
“You’ll come back here in 4 years and there will be a neighborhood,” said Matthew Nemerson, of New Haven’s Economic Development.
Salvatore is pretty ambitious. He said the hope is to have this first apartment building up and with people living there, by the end of the year.
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