Duff: Washington Village, Wall Street Place set to start building

NORWALK, Conn. – Two major Norwalk redevelopment initiatives are going forward, state Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) and Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Friday, meaning that state, federal and private funding has been secured for Phase One of Washington Village and for POKO’s Wall Street Place.

The Norwalk projects were announced along with 14 other affordable housing projects across the state that will build and rehabilitate a total of 694 affordable rental apartments. It is estimated that the projects will support an estimated 1,319 jobs and generate $186.9 million in economic activity and $14.4 million in net state revenue.

The news about Washington Village came one day after federal officials toured the site as the final part of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods grant application review. Norwalk is one of six finalists in the competition. Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan said that the grant would go to help fund Phase II, and would support educational and neighborhood initiatives.

The plans drawn by Trinity Financial call for new construction on two vacant parcels in the South Norwalk neighborhood. The project is the initial phase of a larger multi-phase redevelopment effort that will replace the oldest public housing in the state with a new 273-unit, mixed-income community. In the first phase, 58 units are targeted for households with incomes below 60 percent of the area median income, in addition to 22 market rate units.

Both projects competed successfully in a recent funding round for the federal Nine Percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits (9 percent LIHTCs), Duff’s release said. The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) administers the 9 percent LIHTC program, which is a federal tax incentive program designed to stimulate private investment in affordable housing. The credits provide equity for developers to acquire, rehabilitate and/or build low- or moderate-income housing through the allocation of federal tax credits that may be sold to corporations or investor groups to raise capital for a project.

POKO’s successful LIHTC application was first reported Wednesday here on NancyOnNorwalk.

Wall Street Place would consist of a new mid-rise, mixed-use building with 36 apartments and 60,000 square feet of commercial and retail space on the first floor. The effort is the result of many years of planning, and is seen as a linchpin for ongoing efforts to rejuvenate downtown Norwalk, the release said.

The project needs to get extensions from the Redevelopment Agency and the Zoning Commission. Mayor Harry Rilling and Councilman Jerry Petrini (R-District D) have been in talks with Ken Olson, president and CEO of POKO Partners LLC.

Plans call for a new mid-rise, mixed-use building with 36 apartments and 60,000 square feet of commercial and retail space on the first floor. The approved plan includes 850 parking spaces. Wall Street Place is intended to recreate the “uptown” part of the urban fabric that was once the heart of the city, the press release said. The apartments will be for households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income.

Funding for Washington Village is described in the release as being $1.89 million (LIHTC equity: $20.1 million), $9.86 Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) funds, $2.8 million TD Bank mortgage.

Funding for Wall Street Place is described in the release as $864,014 (LIHTC equity: $8.64 million), $3.5 million in DOH Capital Funds, $3.4 million CITI Bank First Mortgage.

Sheehan said last week that Olson did not have the bank funds yet. On Friday he said Olson has a letter of commitment from his funder, which also provided the pre-development loan.

“These two projects have been many years in the making, and I am very happy to announce that they are moving forward today,” Duff said in the release. “The construction of Wall Street Place will create opportunities for many new businesses downtown, and bring in new residents to patronize them. This project, along with other efforts like renovation of the Globe Theater, will breathe new life into downtown unlike anything we have seen in a generation. There is a great need for more and better affordable housing in our community, so the redevelopment of Washington Village is very good news. I thank Gov. Malloy and his administration for supporting both of these efforts.”

“The funding we’re announcing today will result in approximately $73 million in private investment for Connecticut’s housing stock,” Malloy said in the release. “Leveraged with our recent commitment of about half-a-billion dollars to create and preserve affordable housing in the state, these projects will foster economic growth, revitalize neighborhoods, raise the quality of life for everyone, and provide more affordable homes that are so important in keeping young people in Connecticut.”


2 responses to “Duff: Washington Village, Wall Street Place set to start building”

  1. John Hamlin

    We all keep hoping that the Wall Street Place project gets moving. I think many of us don’t really think rebuilding Washington Village as planned is really a smart move or one that will enhance the greater community or the one it is intended to serve. I would bet that we will see progress on Washington Village before Wall Street, the project that Norwalk really needs.

  2. the donut hole

    Put the affordable housing in Wilton, Westport, Darien, New Canaan. Time they had their fair share.

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