(3/3/2010) (from New Haven Register)
NEW HAVEN — Dr. Anees Chagpar, meet 360 State Street.
The executive director of the Breast Center at the Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven, Chagpar needs a place to live when she moves here from Louisville, Ky.
A gleaming, $190 million, 32-story residential tower — the city’s largest residential development in years and its second-tallest building — could be the place.
The 500-unit building’s first tenants moved in Saturday as Chagpar toured one of the 58 two-bedroom units.
She loved what she saw, particularly the jaw-dropping views from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the $2,600 per month apartment.
“It’s just so modern,” she said of the building, named after its address. “Some of the other buildings I have looked at are a little on the dumpy side.”
One and a half years after breaking ground, the building still needs finishing touches, but the developers, Becker + Becker of Fairfield, were anxious to open for business ahead of Yale University students arriving next month.
Two people moved in Saturday, but 50 new tenants will arrive this weekend. There have been 108 reservations made so far, including four in the past two days.
The building has 61 studios, 515 one-bedroom units, 58 two-bedrooms and 15 three-bedrooms.
Julian Nieves, one of the first people to reserve an apartment, agreed about the appearance of the building.
“The building looks great,” he said. “It’s in an excellent location, and its less expensive than living in Boston or New York.”
Julian rented an apartment about four months ago. He said he had his eye on it since the project broke ground.
Twenty units are set aside for Section 8 housing, in addition to 27 “affordable units” whose residents will be decided by lottery. Those units, which are all studios, will be available to people making between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income, or $43,360 to $67,368 a year for a family of one and $43,360 to $76,992 for a family of two.
The developer has pledged to support the Section 8 housing vouchers for 15 years. Vouchers are up to $44,800 for a family of one and $51,200 for a family of two.
“Bruce Becker, the developer, put the project together because New Haven had a housing need,” said 360 State Street General Manager Lauren Lennox.
The building was able to open to tenants a day early because of the way they built the complex. In some rooms, there are diagonal steel trusses that are painted white and angled across the windows. The process allowed builders to save on steel and build faster, so rooms could be available to residents sooner.
“Everybody really believed in us, and it’s great because we delivered the building early and everyone knows how construction can go on for so long,” said Lennox.
Construction on the bottom floor will continue until at least January, when the Elm City Food Co-Op market will open on the bottom floor. The plan is for the market to incorporate locally grown food.
“We are currently working with CitySeed (farmers market) to try to tap into what the community needs are,” said Lennox.
Devil’s Gear Bike Shop, currently located on Chapel Street, is another business that will be moving to the building. Construction just started for the bike shop last week and it is expected to open later this month.
Mass-transit and bicycle use is emphasized at 360 State Street, which is located across the street from the State Street train station.
Only 18 of the 50 residents who are moving in this weekend have cars. The building will also offer rental Zipcars as soon as the garage is open. The parking garage will have storage for 50 bicycles.
The structure is also one of the “greenest” buildings in the state. A 400-kilowatt fuel cell will provide 92 percent of the total energy demand and 100 percent of the hot water. It’s the largest application of a fuel cell in a residential building in the world.
More businesses are expected to move into the ground floors.
“There is another space in the works for a different business,” said the concierge, J. Fitzgerald. “Since this building opened, it seems like we are finding spaces we didn’t even know existed.”
Su-Chen Chin, who owns Phil’s Hairstyles LLC, went to the building Saturday morning to look into retail space so she could add one more salon to the three already in New Haven.
“The appearance looks good, and we really want to add one more location,” she said.
Lennox said the units won’t fully be occupied in New Haven’s second tallest structure for another two years.
“We are just really excited that our residents have the confidence in our team to reserve early,” she said.
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