$60M redevelopment to include 158 apartments


NEW HAVEN — A nearly $60 million apartment complex will inject new life into the long dormant Winchester Repeating Arms Co. complex.

Winchester Lofts will be a nearly 200,000 square-foot mixed-use building with 158 market-rate and affordable housing units, plus office space. The redevelopment of the old factory at the corner of Winchester Avenue and Munson Street is the second of a two-phase project for further development of the former industrial campus, now home to Yale’s Science Park campus.

The first phase of this development project involved the renovation of 140,000 square feet of adjacent factory space that is now home to the offices of technology finance company Higher One, which relocated there in 2012.

“The Lofts project will clean up more of this underutilized site and bring new quality market-rate and affordable housing while also preserving these beautiful buildings that have long been a part of New Haven’s history and a fabric of the Newhallville neighborhood,” explains city Economic Development Administrator Kelly Murphy.

Twenty percent of the housing at Winchester Lofts, or 32 units, will be designated affordable housing, with half of those for people earning 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), and the other half for those earning 100 percent of the AMI. Otherwise, market rents are likely to be about $1,800 per month.

Winchester Lofts is being developed by Cleveland, O.-based firm Forest City, which is pitching $10.6 million of its money to the project; additional funding sources for the $59.26 million project is coming from loans, state and federal tax credits, and a $4 million Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties (CHAMP) grant from the state’s Department of Housing.

Murphy adds that New Haven’s residential vacancy rates are low, and more housing will allow continued reinvigoration. The developments at Science Park and investments in new sidewalks, street paving and the Farmington Canal Line, she says, has had a ripple effect for the surrounding neighborhood.

“We are seeing additional investments by individual homeowners in buying and fixing up homes, and small commercial investors in buying smaller apartment buildings and investing in them,” Murphy says. “This is exactly what you want to happen.”

Aside from the retail space in the Science Park parking garage, no further developments are in the works, as Murphy points out the city would rather not risk overbuilding leading to vacant spaces.

Forest City has developed, owns and manages properties in 26 states and was attracted to the Winchester project after conducting other adaptive reuse projects of former industrial sites in the Northeast, according to company officials.

The Winchester Lofts are expected to be complete in summer 2014.