Teach­ing mo­ment

Apart­ments in Capi­tol Cen­ter build­ing be­ing mar­keted to ed­u­ca­tors

Hartford Courant (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Ken­neth R. Gos­selin

Down­town Hart­ford apart­ments are be­ing mar­keted to teach­ers.

HART­FORD — Hart­ford’s Capi­tol Cen­ter build­ing has an en­vi­able lo­ca­tion across from Bush­nell Park, yet it stood va­cant for nearly two decades, a ca­su­alty of re­de­vel­op­ment plans that never turned to re­al­ity.

But now a Ne­wark, N.J.-based de­vel­oper is close to fin­ish­ing up a $21 mil­lion con­ver­sion of the for­mer of­fice build­ing at 370 Asy­lum St. into 60 mixed-in­come apart­ments. The apart­ments — stu­dios, one- and two-bed­room units — are be­ing heav­ily mar­keted to teach­ers, from the ele­men­tary level to the col­lege level.

The apart­ments — partly fi­nanced by pub­lic fund­ing — are ex­pected to be ready for oc­cu­pancy Jan. 1.

Here are nine things to know about the de­vel­op­ment:

Why teach­ers?

The de­vel­oper, RBH Group, led the re­de­vel­op­ment of a run­down part of Ne­wark, trans­form­ing it into Teach­ers Vil­lage, a com­mu­nity of teach­ers who in­struct at nearby schools and col­lab­o­rate where they live. The vi­sion for Hart­ford — Teach­ers Vil­lage Hart­ford — is more mod­est but with a sim­i­lar goal: Com­mu­ni­ties of teach­ers will sup­port each other and give cities and towns a bet­ter chance of re­tain­ing ed­u­ca­tors.

The project’s name has been changed from Teach­ers Cor­ner to more closely brand it with the Teach­ers Vil­lage in New Jer­sey.

Are the apart­ments re­stricted to teach­ers?

No. Hous­ing fair­ness laws would not per­mit that. But teach­ers will be given pref­er­ence with a 10 per­cent dis­count off mar­ket-rate rents. (The de­vel­op­ment has 18 units that can be leased at lower rents by ten­ants who meet cer­tain in­come guide­lines, so­called “af­ford­able” apart­ments.)

Teach­ers also are be­ing of­fered other in­cen­tives: a year of free park­ing, which goes for $120 a month, and a month’s free rent. The of­fer is be­ing made be­cause the teach­ers would have to move in the mid­dle of the school year.

How much is the rent?

The start­ing “ask­ing” rents for mar­ket-rate units are $1,100 for lofts, $1,595 for a one-bed­room and $1,980 for a two-bed­room.

What is the teacher mar­ket in the city of Hart­ford?

RBH says the de­mand by ed­u­ca­tors could be sig­nif­i­cant in a city where the pub­lic schools alone em­ploy about 1,700 teach­ers. Will the rents be af­ford­able to teach­ers?

In the city of Hart­ford, the start­ing salary for a first-year teacher with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree was $48,946 for the 2016-2017 school year, ac­cord­ing to the school sys­tem. The av­er­age salary was $76,694.

While it is a ten­ant’s de­ci­sion on how much to spend monthly on hous­ing, a gen­eral rule of thumb calls for spend­ing no more than 30 per­cent of gross monthly in­come — be­fore taxes — on rent.

What do the apart­ments come with?

The apart­ments in­clude stain­less steel ap­pli­ances, Cae­sar­stone coun­ter­tops, cen­tral air con­di­tion­ing, heat­ing and hook-up for in­ter­net and cable. Build­ing ameni­ties in­clude a fit­ness room, “in­ter­net-based” pay laun­dry, some cov­ered, in­door park­ing, a “mul­ti­pur­pose” room, a com­mon kitchen and WiFi.

What about those street-level store­fronts?

RBH is seek­ing ten­ants for two

KEN­NETH R. GOS­SELIN/HART­FORD COURANT PHO­TOS

A model unit at Teach­ers Vil­lage Hart­ford over­looks Bush­nell Park and has a night­time view of the lighted State Capi­tol dome. The apart­ments — partly fi­nanced by pub­lic fund­ing — are ex­pected to be ready for oc­cu­pancy Jan. 1.

The de­vel­oper of Teach­ers Vil­lage Hart­ford also is seek­ing ten­ants for two street-level store­fronts.

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