Mayor Bill Finch, Urban Green Principal Eric Anderson and city and elected officials Thursday afternoon launched the groundbreaking to revitalize two historic buildings in Bridgeport’s Downtown North, 179 Middle Street and 1184 Main Street. The combined restoration of the Jayson-Newfield properties will feature 104 apartments and 8,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. Anderson transformed the old City Trust Bank and Arcade buildings Downtown into apartments and retail.
City Communications Director Brett Broesder has more:
Link to new video of Jayson (179 Middle St.) and Newfield (1184 Main St.): bit.ly/1yDiZ6T.
“In Bridgeport, we’re making smart investments in the future,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “One example of this is our improving downtown. We still have a lot of work to do, but it’s getting better every day. Downtown North currently serves as a reminder of broken promises from the past. Today, we mark the beginning of construction in Downtown North’s revitalization. It will result in more high-quality housing options, which are near public transit and hundreds of new jobs coming to the city.”
The project will be financed by a combination of the following sources: HUD 221(d)4 debt; CHAMP support from the State of Connecticut; Bridgeport HOME dollars; EPA Revolving Loan Fund; federal and state historic tax credits; and developer equity.
The Newfield Building (Originally Built: 1910)
The Newfield Building is a five-story, steel-frame and masonry building constructed in two phases between 1871 and 1907. The Building is located on the northeast corner of Golden Hill and Main Streets in Downtown Bridgeport’s North Historic District.
The Building is an example of nineteenth and twentieth century transitional Italianate/Queen Anne-style commercial design and occupies 63,384 square feet of space (in addition to a basement) on a 9,000 square foot lot. The Building spans 62 feet along the eastern side of Main Street, 66 feet along the western side of Middle Street, and 167 feet along the northern side of Golden Hill Street.
The bulk of Newfield’s internal structure requires replacement. The brick, metal and wood details of the building’s public façade will be maintained and refurbished. All interior finishes will be replaced.
The ground floor will contain approximately 8,000 square feet of commercial space with significant frontage along the Main Street commercial corridor as well as the residential entrance. Floors 2-5 will contain 48 new residences; 16 studios and 32 1-bedroom units.
The Jayson Building (Originally Built: 1893)
The Jayson Building is an historic, 4-story structure containing 57,454 SF located on Middle Street, immediately adjacent to and North of Newfield. The 10,649 square foot footprint encompasses the entire lot with 132 feet of frontage along the western side of Middle Street.
This relatively well-preserved example of a 19th century livery stable has a number of interesting historical features including original exterior masonry details, brownstone lintels and windowsills, and a brownstone pediment at a public-facing gable. While much of the existing structure will be retained and/or augmented all of the interior finishes will be replaced.
Upon completion, The Building will have residential apartments from Floors 1-4. In total, the building will house 56 units: 40 studios and 16 1-bedrooms.
An affiliate of Urban Green has executed a master lease for the entirety of the ground floor retail. The retail sub-tenants will be affiliated with food and bicycle retailers Urban Green operates, the first of which was opened in 1999. These existing retailers include: Prune, Contrada and The Spinster Sisters, all restaurants in either New York or California and Hastings Velo and NYC Velo, both bicycle stores.
The development of Block 912 is a nearly perfect example of the type of project the State of Connecticut has begun to take a more active interest in pursuing. Important characteristics include:
Ø Proximity to public transportation; the site sits within a five minute walk of both the Bridgeport Metro North and Amtrak rail station and the newly expanded regional bus depot.
Ø 100% of the units will be affordable to households earning 50-100% of area median income, i.e. the units are all “work force” units.
Ø The housing to be created will be designed to attract and retain younger tenants, a cohort that Connecticut loses at an alarming rate.
Ø Strengthening Connecticut’s cities by removing blight and adding households to existing downtowns.
Block 912 JV expects to close construction funding in two phases with the first closing–approximately $3MM of RLF, HOME & Developer Equity–in the Summer of 2014. This initial closing will allow the complete environmental clean-up and building stabilization of the project prior to the second closing, which will allow the balance of the building to be completed. Construction is projected to run approximately 16 months–with substantial completion after 12 months, which is the trigger for the residential leasing effort. The buildings should be 100% occupied within 24 months of the construction loan closing.
Block 912 represents Urban Green’s third phase in Bridgeport’s Downtown Bridgeport, with the first two phases located on Main Street, including 144 Golden Hill Street, an 8-story office building converted to apartments, office and retail space located directly across Main Street from Block 912.
Historic Tax Credit Overview
The project is eligible for approx. $4.6MM in Federal Historic Tax Credits and $5.1MM in Connecticut State Historic Tax Credits. Both Part I and Part II approvals have been received from SHPO/NPS. Because Connecticut is set up as a “certificate program” there is no recapture risk on the State credits.
Construction timeline is estimated at 12 months for substantial completion with 4 months for 100% completion with certificate of occupancy. Construction documents are complete and have been submitted for permit. Urban Green’s goal is to be placed in service 4Q 2015 or 1Q 2016.