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    $4,700 Downtown Penthouse Suite

    (3/9/2010) from Courant.com

    New Haven Apartment Tower: $4,700-A-Month Penthouse


    The Hartford Courant

    March 9, 2010


    The developer of the city's most ambitious apartment building ever has begun taking deposits on units — including one for a $4,700-a-month penthouse.

    As of Monday, the leasing agent for Fairfield developer Bruce Becker had accepted deposits for 13 of 500 units in the 32-story project known as 360 State Street, including a 30th-floor penthouse with outdoor terrace, Becker said.

    Located just east of the city green, the 700,000-square-foot, $180 million mixed-use apartment building is among the biggest housing construction projects underway in Connecticut and a rare instance of large-scale commercial construction in a weak economy.

    Aimed at the upper end of New Haven's rental market, the building will also include 50 below-market-rate units, including some eligible for Section 8 subsidies. The first residential tenants are scheduled to take occupancy Aug. 1. The complex will have a 24-hour doorman — rare, if not unique, in New Haven.

    A full-scale grocery store is now expected to open on the building's ground floor by the end of the year, according to Becker, who continues to guard the identity of potential food retailers. Becker had struggled to find a grocer for the project, although his development agreement with the city requires one. A nearly finalized lease with at least one grocer fell through.

    "The success of the project will be influenced by the quality of the grocery," he said.

    Becker is now negotiating with a retailer he described as "the dominant grocer in the region." Stop & Shop is the biggest grocer in New England. He would not confirm or deny that he was referring to Stop & Shop.

    Becker is also considering a hybrid food retailer that would be part traditional grocer, part natural foods co-operative, modeled after operations in Burlington, Vt., and Northampton, Mass.

    He has been talking with City Seed, the New Haven nonprofit group that operates a series of outdoor farmers' markets in the city.

    Studio apartment rents at 360 State Street will start at $1,220, Becker said Monday as he officially opened a leasing office on Chapel Street, across from the 338-foot-tall building. The top three floors — 30 through 32 — will have 14 penthouse units. (There's no 13th floor.)

    Prices are not absolutely fixed and will fluctuate with demand, he said.

    In December 2008, Becker said that some of the penthouses would rent for $6,000, but he has since revised that estimate downward.

    A lawyer, a business executive, a retiree and a Yale graduate student are among the prospective occupants who have placed $350 deposits on units at 360 State Street, according to Bozzuto Management Co., the leasing agent.

    Becker led U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd and federal housing officials on a tour of the property Monday.

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has provided about $5 million to help subsidize the below-market-rate units.

    About 15,000 people live in central downtown New Haven, according to Mayor John DeStefano.

    When fully leased, 360 State Street is expected to add another 1,000.

    On a visit to the 30th floor with clear views of New Haven harbor, Becker suggested that Dodd might like to rent a penthouse unit.

    "This could be yours," he said to the senator, who is planning to leave Congress at the end of his term.

    "Next year, not now," Dodd said, apparently in jest.

    Copyright © 2010, The Hartford Courant

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