The East Rock neighborhood will soon see dozens of new apartment units near an area where residents used to donate blood.
Now that the project received approval from the New Haven City Plan Commission at its meeting last Thursday, the American Red Cross building at 703 Whitney Ave. will become a seven-unit apartment building. Nancy Greenberg, who purchased the property for $1.6 million in November 2016, will also construct a 35-unit apartment complex on the lot. It remains unclear when construction on the project will break ground.
“I live about a block away from this and have for about 30 years,” Greenberg said. “I have long admired this historic building, and I was very excited when it came on the market and we were able to purchase it.”
Built in 1902, the American Red Cross building is connected to a structure in its backyard that was designed to house horse-drawn carriages. Greenberg plans to demolish the connecting bridge and convert the carriage house into an amenity space for residents containing a gym, yoga room, conference and screening rooms, as well as room for bike storage.
Greenberg is also planning to construct a parking lot in the backyard of the new apartment complex with a 25-vehicle capacity.
Because the current house is more than a century old, New Haven preservationists want to keep some of the original character intact. During the planning process, Greenberg said she sought feedback from local organizations such as the New Haven Preservation Trust, the East Rock Community Management team and the New Haven Urban Design League. She added that neighboring residents, including former Yale University President Richard Levin GRD ’74, approved of the designs.
Still, Greenberg noted that not everyone’s design plans came to fruition.
“Some people like modern, some people hate modern. Some people love historic, some people think it should be torn down,” Greenberg said. “We believe we preserve the best while creating something really elegant that I will be proud to live next to.”
Ward 19 Alder Alfreda Edwards came to the April 20 meeting and asked Greenberg to continue soliciting feedback from Ward 19 constituents. Since the neighborhood wants a property that enriches the area, Edwards said Greenberg should hold another community meeting. Edward Mattison LAW ’68, chair of the City Plan Commission, said he was sure Greenberg would take the residents’ concerns into account.
Following Edwards’ testimony, Ward 25 Alder Adam Marchand GRD ’99 moved the item, and asked a question that drew visible gasps from Greenberg, her partners and members in the audience.
“Clarifying question: I believe that my colleague asked for this commission to delay action until after the committee meeting, or no?” Marchand said.
Edwards clarified her testimony and said she was not asking for further delay on the approval. The Commission then passed the plan unanimously.
Despite the close of the New Haven chapter with Greenberg’s purchase, the American Red Cross has seven other locations in Connecticut.