Showing no signs of gun shyness, the number of apartment units in a building that previously housed a former gun factory is planned to increase.
After a successful initial phased opening of 150 apartment units in 2014, the Cleveland-based Forest City Realty Trust now plans to develop the upper quadrant of Winchester Lofts, a high-end apartment complex near Science Park. Previously, the location was the site of Winchester Repeating Arms Company factory. The existing studios go for roughly $1,500 per month and are geared towards professionals and graduate students.
Although the upper quadrant has been out of operation for roughly 30 years, the state is offering a $2 million grant to the party that agrees to develop the remaining part of the building. Yet according to New Haven economic development administrator Matthew Nemerson SOM ’81, Forest City will wait several more months to continue testing the direction of the housing market in the city before officially taking on the new development.
“I think Forest City has been very happy with the first phase,” Nemerson said.
He emphasized, however, that the second phase of the project would require much more work, given that oil and other debris remain to be cleared from the upper quadrant.
Emily Warren, leasing consultant for Winchester Lofts, said Forest City is indeed planning on turning the rest of the Winchester factory into more apartment-units, but that its developers and corporate board still have to start making official plans.
Neither Warren nor Nemerson had a specific timeline for when the Forest City plans might be finalized.
According to Nemerson, a primary reason the Elm City attracts developers is because it is the only urban center in the surrounding area, as well as the most urban area between New York City and Boston.
Not all aspects of downtown New Haven, however, are ideal for developers. Nemerson said because many of the city’s residents are students affiliated with Yale University, leasees only live in the building for a few years before they depart, leaving the developer to find a new patron.
This new addition is just one of many high-end apartment complexes in the Elm City that have recently been repurposed from existing structures.
This September, the City Plan Commission approved plans to accept a proposal from Michael Zauberman of Newcastle Connecticut, LLC to convert the 112 year-old Swedish Lutheran Bethesda Church and its nearby parish house to six apartment-units, according to the New Haven Register.
Just one month before, the Corsair apartment complex opened a 235-unit establishment on State Street, five blocks from the Bethesda Church. Before the conversion, according to the New Haven Register, the site was home to manufacturers of barrels, cement pipes, textiles and Corsair airplane propellers, the building’s namesake.
The Winchester Repeating Arms Company factory in New Haven closed its doors in 2006.