The Lehman Brothers printing plant has stood in disrepair on Foster Street, south of East Rock Park, since it was abandoned in 2008. But the old factory will soon be demolished and replaced with new condominiums.
Lehman Brothers Inc — not to be confused with global financial services of nearly the same name — was founded in 1910 and had produced high-end printing products, such as engravings and fine stationery until the business declared bankruptcy and closed up shop in 2008 (the same year, coincidentally, that the homonymous investment bank went under). Representatives from Ocean Management, a New Haven development firm, presented their plans to reconstruct the dilapidated printing plant at a meeting with the East Rock Management Team last Monday night. The plan includes 30 condos, comprising both apartments and two-story town homes at the site of the old factory.
“There are a lot of people who want to live in New Haven and live in fine homes,” said Matthew Nemerson SOM ’81, economic development administrator for the city of New Haven. “We need to have an environment where people can afford to live here, while landlords can still make money on their housing.”
Asked if the condos would increase prices for local renters, Nemerson stressed that, despite an uptick in new housing developments over the last several years, rent costs across the city of New Haven have not increased. He mentioned that a goal for new housing developments in the city is to maintain affordability.
Nemerson said the condos have the potential to bring numerous economic benefits to the city, including new construction jobs, revenue from the purchase of building permits, new tax revenue and new residents who will spend money in the city. The city’s job market would be positively affected by the influx of new residents, he said.
“For every new family, there is a multiplier of six new jobs in the first year,” Nemerson said.
But the construction of the condos may be affected by New Haven zoning laws. The area around Foster Street is under RM-2 zoning regulations, according to Tom Talbot, deputy director of zoning for the city. In the RM-2 zoning district, Talbot explained, buildings must have “one dwelling unit” per 2,000 square feet of property.
Talbot said he was unsure whether the condo’s plans violated zoning laws, but that if there were any discrepancies, Ocean Management could apply for a Planned Unit Development, which would allow them “to not fully comply with all rules and lot standards.” Planned Unit Developments are used when projects, such as this one, cover multiple areas of land. Talbot said the company has yet to apply for a Planned Unit Development.
Wayne Garrick, the architect in charge of the project, said at Monday’s meeting that Ocean Management plans to apply for a Planned Unit Development, according to the New Haven Independent.
Nemerson mentioned that the city will look to begin the condo development, as well as other housing projects, in the spring and summer. Over the next few months, the city and Ocean Management will work to finalize plans for construction.
The condos will be built on 191, 197 and 199 Foster Street.
Nick Tabio | firstname.lastname@example.org