160 rental units planned for College Street



NEW HAVEN — If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

A long-delayed development plan for a seven-story mixed-use building at the corner of College and George streets has been given the go ahead by the City Plan Commission after several revisions dating back to 2006.

Robert Landino, CEO of Middletown developer Centerplan Companies, is behind the proposed $50 million building at 188 and 196 College Street and 285 George Street, which will feature first-floor retail space, 160 residential rental units and 160 parking spaces in an underground garage. Centerplan’s original 2006 proposal for a 19-story luxury condo high-rise was scrapped after the housing market crashed, and further financing challenges put the kibosh on a revised plan for a $100 million, 225-room boutique hotel with street-level retail in 2008.

The new building will occupy the entire block from George Street to Crown Street, the same footprint as the original 2006 plan. The project was given zoning variances including those allowing for smaller side and rear yards, and less open space than is usually required to allow the project to fit on the site.

For the underground garage is planned 11 car lifts that will fit two cars in one space by lifting one on top of the other, accounting for 22 cars.

The existing storefronts at the corner of Crown and College streets will be demolished to make way for the new building. Previously existing businesses were evicted after the initial project was approved. Longtime tenant Cooper’s Dress Shop left for Orange in 2008 after 46 years at the location (and nearly 60 years total in New Haven). College Wine, a liquor store occupying the corner storefront, also moved out.

The People’s Art Collective, a non-profit artists group that organizes events and workshops, has been occupying the ground-floor space since last year. The former TK’s American Café, which sat at the opposite end of the block on George Street, was demolished.

Work on the new building could start as soon as this fall. Architect for the project is Orange Street firm Svigals + Partners.