Affordable units near completion
NEW CANAAN — Tenants are expected to move into the first of two contemporary four-story affordable housing buildings near the end of September, in spite of “supply chain issues.”
The building of the first structure, which is one of two that will replace the 10 structures at Canaan Parish at 186 Lakeview Ave., has faced challenges. “We have and continue to suffer through the same supply chain issues related to COVID that everyone has been hearing about,” Scott Hobbs, chairman of the New Canaan Housing Authority, said Wednesday.
The project, which will house one, two and threebedroom apartments, is “now down to just a few vital items that will hopefully arrive in accordance with the most recent promises by suppliers,” Hobbs said.
As soon as the current Canaan Parish residents are moved into the new building, the demolition of the existing apartment will begin so that the construction of the second building can commence.
Construction during the pandemic has not been easy. “We are constantly dealing with manpower issues” as crews suffer from COVID-19 scares and cases, Hobbs said.
In February, Hobbs said that he had expected the first building to be complete in late August or early Setpember. But the “supply chain issues add to the normal challenges associated with such an undertaking. We greatly appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we reach this milestone.”
The New Canaan Housing Authority is overseeing the project on the New Norwalk Road and Lakeview Avenue, which will increase the number of livable units from 60 to 100 while reducing overall building footprint.
The construction depends on gas connections from Eversource and the company is facing shortages of meters and regulators, Hobbs explained.
“They believe that they have everything that they need, but we will not really know for sure until hookups happen by next week,” he said.
Eversource is also “shorthanded as they have sent crews to help in Louisiana,” the chairman of the New Canaan Housing Authority said.
The generator used to power the emergency devices, such as alarms, lighting and the elevators, was ordered at the beginning of the year. It has been delayed multiple times. Now, it is expected to arrive in October, and “we have scrambled to put together a temporary power solution.”
Appliance manufacturers “have been having notorious issues” getting parts, but his team has found substitutes and he believes “we are in good shape.”
They have also had to find new suppliers for window treatments due to supply shortages.
AP Construction and our owner’s representatives, Heritage Housing, “have done a fantastic job constantly modifying the schedules to ensure that we can do as much as we can whenever we can,” Hobbs said.
Property managers Westmount “have begun coordinating the move in process with the moving companies and our residents,” Hobbs said. “Westmount have done a great job,” and “everyone is excited to be able to see the finish line.”
The smaller footprint is expected to leave more room for green space and community areas for tenants, according to presentations made at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in 2018. The buildings are planned to open up onto a shared grass courtyard and walkways.
The present parking lots have been said to be the only outdoor play space for children and the new construction will have additional outdoor areas to give room for a playground, according to presentations.
The plans also call for an onsite office, a community gathering room, a catering kitchen and parking under and around the buildings, according to Hobbs. One of the buildings will have common space for tenant gatherings.