The City Plan Commission approved a proposal last Wednesday for Metro Star Properties to build 12 studio apartments on Crown Street, setting construction plans into motion.
James Salatto of MOD Equities, a local real estate company that owns multiple buildings in the downtown area, sold the building to Metro Star, another Connecticut real estate company, in September. Robert Smith, executive director and founder of Metro Star Properties, said construction will begin in June and end by December 2015.
“Relatively speaking, this is a small project, just 12 units, and should fit into the neighborhood discreetly,” Smith said in an email.
The apartments will be located on the second floor of the 254-260 Crown St. building. The property will maintain its current configuration, with no building or floor additions made during the construction process, according to Smith.
He added that both businesses at 260 Crown St., BAR Pizza and the adjoining Bru Room, have expanded slightly in recent months and will remain intact.
The Neon Garage, which is located in the same building and closed earlier this year for renovations, is set to reopen this spring. The garage will operate out of the building’s first floor. Danielle Gannon, manager at BAR Pizza, said she thinks the increased foot traffic to the area once the apartments open will have a positive impact on her business.
The apartments will each contain 750 square feet, skylights and open ceilings, according to Smith.
“The architecture preserves and incorporates the building’s old structural components including large steel girders and riveted steel columns,” he added.
Aside from the apartments at 260 Crown St., Smith is also working on an apartment development at 280 Crown St., the former home of S’Wings.
City Hall Spokesman Laurence Grotheer said these developments are a part of the 2,000 residential units in stages of planning, permitting or construction in the city — crucial steps to help address the city’s vacancy rate, one of the lowest in the state.
“There is a housing crunch in New Haven; when these new units come along, [they] will help address that,” Grotheer said.
Grotheer added that this apartment complex’s proximity to restaurants, shops and performance venues will help improve New Haven’s status as a “walkable, likeable city.”
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 include 160 apartments, according to its website.
Ward 22 Alder Jeannette Morrison, who represents the Dixwell area and four of Yale’s residential colleges, said she believes the incoming housing developments in the Crown Street area will be a positive advancement for the city so long as the housing is made affordable for a variety of people.
Morrison added that the incoming colleges will bring hundreds of new students in 2017 who might seek off-campus housing or choose to stay in New Haven. Because of this, the new housing should be affordable to students, she said.