City Housing Authority ends contract with HOPE VI team

The New Haven Housing Authority ended its contract Tuesday with the developing team that twice failed to obtain the $35 million HOPE VI revitalization grant for New Haven’s West Rock neighborhood.

As the contract states, the Housing Authority must pay $200,000 to West Rock Associates Development Group, which consists of Telesis of Connecticut, AVA LLC, and Cambridge Associates. Telesis had previously earned 10 of 11 HOPE VI revitalization grant applications nationwide.

“The [Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners] has voted, and the developers have agreed to end the agreement,” said Robert Solomon, the Housing Authority’s interim executive director.

Solomon said the developers spent $575,000 for their work over the past two years. Housing Authority officials have previously said that HOPE VI grant applications cost $125,000.

“Thanks to good negotiations by our lawyers, we only have to pay $200,000,” Solomon said.

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said Wednesday he was disappointed the city had to jettison the developers.

“I’m just unhappy we didn’t get the HOPE VI grant,” he said. “We went up the the plate twice, and we swung twice, and we didn’t get it twice.”

The mayor expressed hope that, with a new developer, a new plan could be drafted for the neighborhood.

The developers previously said that without the HOPE VI grant, $8.5 million in city funding would be necessary to continue with the neighborhood’s redevelopment. The city’s inability to provide the funds contributed to the contract’s end.

But plans for revitalizing the West Rock neighborhood continue. The authority has sent out a request for proposal for a new master plan for redeveloping the neighborhood, Solomon said.

Solomon expects the authority will select a new master plan within 30 days.

“We’re probably going to look for someone to assist us, but we’re not sure about in what specific way,” Solomon said.

–Marc Wiznia

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