Few units filled at 360 State

No caption.
No caption. Photo by Amir Sharif.

Looking down Chapel Street, it’s difficult to miss the 34-story tower soaring above its neighboring five-story red bricks. Though the building, named after its address at 360 State St., may appear plain and unassuming, it sticks out like a cowlick in both its size and its long list of superlatives.

Last week, the building joined the ranks of the nation’s most environmentally friendly developments, becoming the third building in Connecticut to be certified LEED Platinum. The $180 million project — designed and developed by Connecticut-based Becker+Becker, co-founded by Bruce Becker ARC ’85 SOM ’85 — will include the second tallest building in New Haven, as well as one of the most expensive. But as advertisements go up around the city in preparation for the building’s completion in late summer, few in the city are signing up: So far just 19 of the 500 units have been reserved.

So far, few have reserved units at the imposing 360 State St. development.
So far, few have reserved units at the imposing 360 State St. development.

“It’ll take time for the building to absorb its units,” said Alex Twining ’75 ARC ’77, an urban developer in New York and Boston. “But I think in the long term it’ll be a success.” Jack Hill, the owner of Seabury-Hill Realtors on Wooster Street in New Haven, said while he has no affiliation with 360 State, he expects the apartment to do well because it offers unique features not found elsewhere in the city. He added that 19 reservations of 500 seems reasonable at this time.

“That’s about what I’d expect,” Hill said. “Our season is just starting now.”

Lauren Lenox, the general manager of Bazzuto Management Company, which is heading up the leasing and marketing end of the project, is part of a team that has been working to place ads and generate interest in the project from a small leasing office that opened across the street last month. Introducing the building, Lenox said 360 State’s lobby will boast original artwork by both local and national artists and its facade has been embellished by renowned Yale School of Architecture ornament professor Kent Bloomer ’59 ART ’61. This is all in addition to the private amenities available only to the residents, which include a health club, a concierge service and a daily-refreshed table of cookies and coffee in the building’s lobby.

“The concierge will be able to set up dinner reservations for you and even book you a car if you need a car,” Lenox said. “This is a very sleek and modern building.”

The sales pitch, accompanied by a marketing campaign targeting train stations, has already snagged a reservation for one of the building’s penthouses, at the going rate of $5,100 per month. While Lenox refused to comment on the background of the prospective residents, she noted last week on a tour of the building that many who had shown interest were commuters to and from New Haven.

Twining said while he understands the necessity to appeal the building’s high price point to commuters, he said he didn’t know if the commuter market was “deep enough” to fully rent out 360 State’s hundreds of units.

Indeed, as desirable as the building’s bells and whistles may be, eight New Haven residents interviewed said they are not falling for the glitz.

Niki Berger GRD ’10 said that the building’s long list of comforts do not appeal to her as she doesn’t need a lot from an apartment on Chapel Street.

“It’s just way too expensive for me,” said Berger, who currently she pays around $900 per month for her downtown apartment, while an equivalent apartment in 360 State would cost approximately $1,700.

Similarly, Rachel Brown, a New Haven resident and mother of two, said while she liked the sound of the luxuries, there is no way she could call 360 State Street her home address.

“It all sounds really fancy and good,” she said, standing at the bus stop on Chapel Street a few blocks east of campus last Wednesday afternoon. “But I don’t need to pay an extra couple hundred a month to have someone call restaurants for me. I cook myself.”

Brown currently owns a one-bedroom apartment in the Dixwell neighborhood, which she said not only fits her tight budget better, but also satisfies her needs. She added that her mortgage bills and utility costs combined would still not be more than the cost of the same two-bedroom apartment in the building, which Lenox said currently runs at approximately $2,600 per month.

But Becker, the project’s developer and architect, said the building should not be thought of as a “luxury tower.”

Instead, he emphasized that the project will offer 50 units of affordable housing, which will be identical to full-price suites.

A few blocks away from the development at Walgreens on York Street, 50-year-old Meriden, Conn., resident Fred Coburn said he couldn’t imagine himself living in the building.

Coburn, who works as a nurse’s assistant in Yale-New Haven Hospital said he would like to move to the city, where he works and does most of his shopping, but he was forced to live in the suburbs because New Haven apartments don’t accommodate middle-income people. And by the sound of the extras included in the 360 State’s rental bill — from the private theatre to the concierge desk — Coburn said he wasn’t sure if the building was keeping New Haven’s residents in mind.

Renters are scheduled to be able to move in as early as Aug. 1.

Comments

  • Not my style

    I have an apartment in a wonderful residential nab close to downtown and pay a LOT less. IMO, the developers should try to appeal to the sort of people who have already shown interest – consultants and pied-a-terre dwellers. But for people that live in New Haven, I think there’s a much smaller market for that kind of apartment.

  • State and Elm

    360 State Street is within a few doorways of my grandmother’s third floor walk-up ghetto apartment at Elm and State Streets, a walk-up without electricity mind you (now a vacant lot) which she lived in till the age of 70 in 1960. I believe her rent was $40.00 (that’s forty) a month and she had to move when they raised it to $50.00, a price she could not afford on $60.00 a month Social Security and a half-time job as a receptionist at the Medical Building (now the Shubert Theater)for $20 a week.

    Paul Keane
    The Anti-Yale

  • Not THAT poor !

    CORRECTION: My grandmother’s State and Elm Street third-floor walk-up was not without “electricity” in 1960, it was without “hot water”. We weren’t THAT poor—but close.

    PK
    The Ant-Yale

  • Keep the lux in New Haven…

    Let’s be honest… I can’t think of a single place in New Haven I really WANT to live in. The Taft is a dump, the Eli not much better, and the condo I’m renting on Chapel is far from perfect. The rent at 360 State may be high, but you get what you pay for. Finally, those who can afford it will have a nice little spot to hang their hat.

  • y11

    Wow, this is an enormous surprise.

  • The Count

    I’m not sure if “Y11″ is showing sarcasm or genuine surprise. As for myself, it’s just another reason the “can’t do” mentality permeates New Haven and the Southern Connecticut region.

  • give it some time

    If this building rents out, it will signal an important turning point for New Haven, into an attractive destination that people want to live and visit. All of us at Yale have an interest in reaching that turning point.

  • Move-From-NY

    Hi,

    So I’m most likely starting a new job at YNHH, and I’m curious to know what are the safest areas in New Haven?

    I’ve been keeping my eye on this address for the last month and a half. When I told my family that the advertised prices keeping going down they assume that it is in a bad (unsafe) location?

    Any veracity to their assumptions?

    Thanks.

  • ’10

    I went to hear the spiel at their office on the corner of Orange and Chapel. The person ahead of me apparently was not phased by the $1700~ rents, but asked if the block was going to be “cleaned up.” It is probably the scuzziest block on Chapel store front-wise, but she was not shy about saying she meant the people on the block. Bleh. To #8, it isn’t any more unsafe than anywhere in New Haven, but there are –gasp– ethnic others milling around thanks to the bus stops and hip hop shops nearby.

    Anyway, it is a moot point for me. Yale pays pretty good stipends to humanities grad students, but I can’t justify using 75% of my income on rent! Good luck filling the place! Luxury cost in a non-luxurious block doesn’t seem to jib so well….

  • bright idea

    Maybe Yale could rent a large block of these empty units at a good rate to resolve it severe housing crunch. Doubling or triple up in one of these units wouldn’t be much more expensive than staying in Jonathan Edwards, etc.

  • Steve

    Having grown up in New Haven through the 90s and now living in outer Brooklyn- that address is fine for downtown. You’ll be safe. Just keep your bearings at night- but that is like anywhere. It is close to Wooster Square, too.

  • Ben Beekowitz

    My office, SeeClickFix, is at the corner of Chapel and State. We have never felt unsafe here.

    If you don’t like class diversity and urban living then 360 might not be for you. If you want to live in a beautiful city across from the train and near other young people and night life then…won’t you be our neighbor?

    And they have a pool…Holler!

  • tomago

    A story missed by the staff is the tax assessment on the property which was a blatant bait-and-switch perpetrated by the City of New Haven. The original estimate given to the Board of Alderman was $1.4 million, which somehow ballooned to $5.7 million upon completion.
    As far as the neighborhood, one can more readily purchase crack across the street than coffee around the corner. The luxury of a concierge that can reserve a table at Buffalo Wild Wings belies the out-of-scale fees that 360 State Street commands.
    It’s no surprise that only 19 out of 500 units have been reserved, as the developers should have been smart enough to know that putting a lace doily on a bowling ball doesn’t transform it to “objets d’art”…especially if it’s in the middle of a bowling alley.
    I, for one, will invest heavily in plywood, as the owners at 360 State Street will need every sheet available to cover the windows on that huge empty elephant by the end of 2013.
    One wonders what our mayor will do when the citizens of New Haven will be expected to foot the bill on this albatross…perhaps it’s “LEED Platinum” status will qualify it for a federal bailout…you can believe the developers are already investigating that prospect.