Yale students will soon have new off-campus housing options when four upscale apartment units finish construction above the new art supply store Artist and Craftsman on Chapel Street, near the New Haven Green.
Pike International — a major local real estate firm that owns off-campus buildings such as the Baker’s Dozen house and the Men’s Rowing house — is funding the building of the apartments at 817 Chapel St. Project designer Fernando Pastor said this particular initiative is part of a larger series of refurbishments along the entire Ninth Square district — the area along Chapel Street south of the New Haven Green. Pike has led the charge on many of these building renovations.
“The whole fabric of the neighborhood is improving,” said Barbara Hawes, assistant manager of Artist & Craftsman.
The space for the new apartments previously housed Karma, a nightclub, and Golden Rock, a pizzeria. After these two businesses closed, Pike acquired the property in 2012. While the building — constructed in the 1940s —will soon feature apartment units, Pastor stressed that the original façade and parts of the original ceiling and floor will be kept.
“We use the bones of a historical building and make it modern,” Pastor said. Because the building will be categorized as “mixed use,” Pastor said that the renovations will include new safety precautions.
Pastor said other developers had offered plans to tear down the building and put up a new five- to seven-story building. Pike instead plans to use the third floor of the building, which previously featured unused office space, to build the new apartment units. Pastor stressed that this particular project is not an example of gentrification, considering that the buildings were already abandoned.
Pastor said he instead sees the new developments as part of a recent nationwide trend of people migrating from the suburbs into the city to live closer to their workplace. He said these new apartments could potentially be attractive to Connecticut residents looking for a place in the Elm City.
According to Pastor, Yale undergraduates and some faculty members already occupy Pike’s apartment units adjacent to 817 Chapel St. He added that he is confident that the company will soon find tenants for the new apartment building units. He noted that Pike generally does not experience difficulties filling its properties in New Haven — which has a high occupancy rate of 98 percent.
Although Pike owns over 1,000 apartments in New Haven, making the company the city’s largest residential apartment owner, Yale students who have lived in their buildings have reported poor customer service and management.
Sylvie McNamara ’16, a Pike tenant last year, said she did not receive a single response from Pike after multiple requests to have her heater fixed in January.
Songhee Bae DIV ’15, a former tenant, said Pike’s rapid expansion could be a reason for their poor service.
Despite the student criticisms, Hawes said Pike has helped make Ninth Square a “destination” area for New Haven residents and tourists alike.
“Pike mission is revitalization on a local level supporting local economy,” said Christina Rossetti, director of operations at Pike International. “We work very hard to preserve the already existing beauty of New Haven.”
The units’ monthly rent spans from $2,000 to $2,500.