Sept. 23, 2010 (from New Haven Independent)
The rehabilitation of the 80-unit Dwight Cooperative apartments on Edgewood Avenue moved forward Wednesday, as the City Plan Commission formally approved an agreement designed to rescue the foreclosed property that had been falling into eye-sore status.
Garfield Spencer (at left in photo), who owns the Bridgeport-based First National Development Corporation, has been selected to do the work. The project will be called Dwight Gardens.
Spencer comes to the job with a troubled track record—click here and here to read previous stories about Spencer and his past projects.
Under the proposed agreement, the federal Housing and Urban Development Department would transfer the foreclosed 1960s-era low income cooperative to the city for $1. In exchange, the developer has to make $4.1 million in repairs within 24 months.
To make that happen, the city is loaning the developer $1 million in capital funds to assist with relocation and other costs. In return, the city will accept a mortgage from the developer for $2 million. And the Housing Authority of New Haven will chip in $344,000 loan and provide 40 project-based Section 8 housing vouchers.
Commission chairman Ed Mattison asked for an update on the project.
Livable City Initiative Director Erik Johnson (at right in photo) replied that 57 of the 80 units remain occupied. “The developers are working on “in-site relocation” of the rest of the tenants, he said, “so no one is displaced as the work goes on.”
The buildings require extensive roof repair and mold remediation among other problems to be solved.
East Rock Alderman Justin Elicker said, “It sounds like the proposal is necessary.”
In a formal letter to the Board of Aldermen for acceptance of the agreement, Johnson wrote that the Dwight rehab will provide “a significant impact to the area, especially with an approximately $30 million dollar full rehabilitation of a new elementary Charter School located directly across the street.”
When the rehab is completed, the agreement calls for Winn Management to run the complex. Winn has an exemplary record managing several Housing Authority of New Haven sites, including the authority’s flagship development, Quinnipiac Terrace.
The commissioners voted unanimously in the positive, which in effect was a recommendation to the Board of Aldermen to accept the agreement.
Asked how he liked doing business thus far in New Haven, Spencer said he was rushing off to another appointment.
“The city has been exemplary,” he said.