After a decade of efforts to rehabilitate the run-down Florence Virtue Homes cooperative in Dixwell, renovations on the complex are now complete.
Mayor John DeStefano Jr. officially opened the 129-unit housing cooperative on Orchard Street Thursday, cutting the ceremonial ribbon at a ceremony attended by about 60 people, said James Foye, the mayor’s spokesman.
Other notables who helped with the project were in attendance as well, including state Sen. Toni Harp, Board of Aldermen President Jorge Perez and former New Haven Mayor John Daniels.
Originally built in 1965, the Department of Housing and Urban Development-financed cooperative later fell into disrepair. After several years of effort, the residents finally acquired a construction plan and sufficient funding to renovate the buildings two years ago, Foye said.
“It took over a decade to get everything started, but they’ve really done a marvelous job,” Foye said.
Over 120 residents occupy the complex, many of whom were among the original leaders who worked to save the structures from demolition.
During the construction process, 21 buildings underwent rehabilitation in four stages. Residents could occupy the individual structures upon their completion.
The renovations took $12 million, half of which came from government sources, including the city of New Haven, the state Department of Economic Development, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and HUD. Private donations provided the rest of the funds.