By this spring, the historic Neon Parking Garage will finish its renovation, marking the start of a city development project to bring residential space and new businesses to the Crown Street neighborhood.
Real estate developer Metro Star Properties has purchased lots 254 through 260 on Crown Street, which include BAR Restaurant, Crown Pizza and the parking garage. James Salatto of MOD Equities, who owns multiple buildings in the downtown area, sold the 254 Crown building to Metro Star in September. This building is undergoing renovations that will add two floors to accommodate 24 apartments, which will range in size from one-bedroom to studio-sized.
Robert Smith, executive director and founder of Metro Star Properties, said all of the developments along Crown will be finished by December 2015, adding that the exterior of these lots will be restored and renovated to feature new store fronts and windows.
“We are excited to participate in the continued rebirth of Crown Street which when complete will provide another architecturally rich environment for students to enjoy while living in New Haven,” Smith said.
Amid questions regarding the fate of BAR and the other restaurants on the block, Smith said that BAR will not relocate. Kevin Dingus, a bartender at BAR, said the restaurant’s acquisition by Metro Star has not brought any changes to the business. He added that the appearance of the restaurant will also remain the same to his knowledge.
In addition to the Metro Star-owned developments on Crown, Robert Landino of Centerplan Construction is building a $50 million development at the corner of College Street and Crown Street called “College and Crown: A Centerplace.” The development will contain 160 apartments and will open in early 2015, according to the website.
Sarah Brandt ’17 said she finds the area appealing as a residential area, and would consider moving there given the new developments. Smith, noting the development’s close proximity to Yale’s campus, said the apartments are targeted to University students and employees.
“The Crown street neighborhood provides a desirable balance between Yale and New Haven,” Brandt said. “On one hand, it’s integrated into New Haven culture with iconic businesses like BAR and Louis’ Lunch, but on the other hand, it’s a mere block from Old Campus.”
The former home of wings restaurant S’Wings, 280 Crown St., is included in the development. Although Smith said that he has not yet selected a new tenant for the property, a sign on the door says that S’Wings has moved to a new address at 560 Congress St.