Reincarnated from a 100-lot parking garage, 280 Crown St. now houses apartment units available for short-term rentals.
Compass Furnished Apartments — a multi-state business specializing in fully furnished apartments — began leasing spaces in its Metro ARTLab 280 Crown complex this December to clients who want temporary living arrangements, according to CEO Chris Fleming. Frequent renters include people switching homes after being relocated for work, patients going through medical care at the nearby Yale-New Haven Hospital and college students who need nonpermanent housing.
Fleming, who has over 20 years of experience on the job, said he saw New Haven as a city worth operating in.
“Finally, there’s an opportunity in New Haven where people want to live downtown,” Fleming said.
Compass leases the entire complex from Metro Star Apartments, the developing agency adding hundreds of other apartment-units to the Crown Street area with several complexes, such as Metro 260, Metro 297 and Metro 303.
The complex, which was designed around the previously existing parking garage and added two floors to it, hosts 24 units with four studio apartments, 16 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units, Fleming said. He added that the ground-floor level currently serves as an entry space for the complex, but will eventually host a retail store.
Serving the building’s occupants, the complex still has 20 parking spaces from the original parking garage, which is now hardly noticeable from the street.
On average, clients stay in Compass apartments for 65 days, though the actual period of occupation depends on renters’ wants, Fleming said.
Along with beds, couches, televisions and desks, Compass also provides items such as silverware, bath towels and a vacuum cleaner.
Though the complex has already opened, Compass is still at work on branding the apartments by posting local artists’ paintings on walls and integrating its customer-base with the Elm City. This work, Fleming said, will be finished by late-summer time.
In New Haven, Compass joins Airbnb — an online network that connects people to short-term housing — in providing temporary housing. Hundreds of apartments throughout the Elm City are temporarily available with Airbnb, said Matthew Nemerson SOM ’81, the head of the city’s Economic Development Administration.
Though Airbnb provides short-term housing, it does not provide the stability that Compass can, Fleming said.
“[We have] a very consistent and organized lodging experience that is difficult to preserve on Airbnb,” Fleming said. “With a brokered model of landlords, the leads itself to inconsistency.”
Clients at the 280 Crown St. complex can also turn to Compass if problems arise or they want help finding restaurants, getting around town, among other things. Compass deals with quality control, connecting renters to New Haven’s nightlife, heating bills and “everything else,” Fleming said.
Regardless of which company consumers use for their temporary housing, the demand for this mode of housing in New Haven signals that the city’s service economy has advanced and other businesses are relishing in this evolution.
Restaurants near 280 Crown St. and the other Metro Star developments are gearing up their shops for the anticipated influx of people.
Though still working with University Properties on the lease for the building, Jack Donmez hopes to soon convert Istanbul Cafe at 245 Crown St. into a higher-scale Turkish restaurant.
“I’m doing it because New Haven is growing and changing,” Donmez said.
Compass Furnished Apartments is based in Boston and operates in New Haven, Providence, Rhode Island and New York City, among other cities.