Hundreds of students and professionals have settled themselves into the Elm City’s new high-end apartments — signaling success for recent investors.
In the past two years, several developers have added hundreds of units, priced with studios going for roughly $1,500 per month, at or near downtown and capitalized on a tight housing market and growing population of educated professionals.
Now almost all of these new developments are approaching full capacity.
College & Crown: A Centerpiece — a 160-unit apartment building next to BAR — is now 82 percent occupied after opening last fall, said Leigh Podchaiski, senior community manager. She added that the developers aim to reach 95 percent capacity by the end of this year.
At Winchester Lofts, only 13 of the 150 apartments are still available for lease, said leasing consultant Emily Warren. Meanwhile at the Novella, which opened last year, only eight of the 136 units are up for rent, according to its website.
Warren added that Winchester Lofts owner Forest City now plans to develop the other half of the former gun factory, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
“We were a little slow at the beginning,” she said. “But we’ve done very, very well. There’s no date set yet for the second phase, but the developers and corporate will have to start making the plans.”
Having received a state grant for affordable housing in 2013, Winchester Lofts also allocates roughly 20 percent of its units for families with lower incomes than those that would be able to afford the apartment’s market value. An apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms ranges in cost from $2,000 to over $3,000 per month. To qualify for lower rent, families apply to a waitlist and then are granted a lease once a unit becomes available, Warren said.
For College & Crown, many of their customers are young professionals working downtown, Podchaiski said. They are often employed by Yale, Yale-New Haven Hospital and Alexion — a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical that relocated to New Haven this January, she said. Several couples are even empty nesters retired from Yale.
The smaller apartments also tend to be more popular, she added.
“The studios are the hottest tickets,” Podchaiski said. “Everybody wants those.”
In the upcoming years, several more high-end housing projects will be in the works. Stamford-based developer Randy Salvatore will build roughly 140 apartments near the Yale School of Medicine. Meanwhile, the Petra and Spinnaker developments behind State Street Station will add 540 more apartments as well, though construction has yet to begin.
Salvatore’s project will designate 30 percent of its units as affordable housing.
Though the Elm City’s housing supply has increased in recent years, there is still a high demand, said Noel Petra, who is building the 299-unit Petra project. In the second quarter of this year, the vacancy rate reached three percent, up from 2.1 percent at the end of last year, according to data from REIS, a firm that provides real estate data.
The Winchester Repeating Arms Company manufactured guns for the Union during the Civil War.