NEW BRITAIN – Developer Amit Lakhotia will transform a five-storey, approximately 125,000 square foot former Stanley Black & Decker office building into more than 100 apartments.
At a construction kick-off ceremony on Tuesday, Lakhotia told a gathering of community leaders that he wanted the complex to be ready for lease within a year.
Avon Towers LLC paid $2.5 million for the building in February, and Lakhotia’s plan is to create market-priced apartments there.
The brick building on Myrtle Avenue was most recently the headquarters of Stanley Black & Decker, and before that it was one of the lines of Stanley Works factories that stretched along much of of Myrtle.
After a series of major new residential developments downtown, city officials said this project would help spread out density.
“Today’s ceremony truly represents the start of not only a new housing project in the city, but (also) a further commitment from the city and one of our key developers to revitalize the Myrtle Street corridor,” development manager Jack Benjamin said Tuesday afternoon. .
“For decades, industrial buildings in areas like this have truly languished without private investment,” said Benjamin, who credited financial incentives under New Britain’s adaptive reuse area for making this type of feasible project. “Amit’s work here will bring an element of livability back to the Myrtle Street hallway.”
The Lakhotia building is a block away from where other developers have promised a billion-dollar energy complex and data center. This project is in another section of the former Stanley Works industrial complex, and part of the preparation several years ago involved the demolition of around 10 dilapidated factory buildings, some of which date back to the late 1900s. 1800.
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For 20 years, Myrtle looked “almost like a Stanley Works grave,” said Mayor Erin Stewart.
“The New Britain city is experiencing a renaissance unparalleled in decades. Block by block, the transformation is tangible. There’s no denying it’s happening,” she said. “We’re not trying to be the next Fairfield or the next Greenwich, under any circumstances. But we’re trying to reinvent ourselves, continuing to be an affordable, healthy and safe place to live, work and play.
Stewart said the location will make the project attractive to future workers at the planned Energy Innovation Park. EIP LLC said the project will eventually create 2,000 jobs, and part of Lakhotia’s strategy in renovating the building at 480 Myrtle St. is to have apartments nearby when that happens.
“The developments you’re going to see in this corridor of Myrtle Street over the next decade are really going to be monumental. The 480 Myrtle Street development is just the first of what you will see happening later,” she said.
The building was built in 1947 and renovated about 20 years ago.
“We dedicated the building to a resident of New Britain who did great work against slavery and for world peace. We call the building the Burritt,” Lakhotia said, drawing applause from the crowd. .
Elihu Burritt was a well-known author, lecturer, and abolitionist in the 1800s. The library at Central Connecticut State University is also named after him.