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Extended-stay hotel approved for downtown New Haven
NEW HAVEN >> A plan for an extended-stay hotel in the middle of downtown easily got approval Wednesday, while the beginning of a separate project to remediate a large contaminated site in Newhallville was slowed for more information.
The City Plan Commission approved a 108-room hotel at the corner of Crown and High streets, as well as the additional conversion of a home at 15 High St. into four apartments that developer Randy Salvatore of RMS Companies hopes can get started this summer.
The hotel is expected to to be pitched to the many people who come to the city to participate in academic and research projects connected to Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital.
Salvatore, one of the major developers in New Haven, plans to purchase the property from Mod Equities, which got approval for a similar plan two years ago.
The estimated $8 million hotel is in an area that has seen an almost complete makeover on Crown and now George streets with new apartments filling this section of downtown.
Salvatore made some internal changes to the Mod Equities plan, adding a restaurant to the ground floor and consolidating the hotel’s meeting space and other amenities, also on the ground floor. The fully furnished hotel rooms with kitchenettes will be on the second through sixth floors.
On a separate project, Salvatore said he hopes to hear in a month on the availability of state funds for affordable housing money for 30 percent of the 140 apartments on Gold and Prince streets he is planning to build as part of a $100 million deal with the city.
“If everything goes as planned we will be starting in the next 30 days or so. We are getting good feedback from the state. That is the last piece, so we are excited,” Salvatore said.
The 140 apartments are on property in the Hill that has been undeveloped for decades until the Salvatore plan was hashed out over a long period of time.
He said his company is also now getting conceptual plans together for commercial/residential properties that are part of the Hill project on Washington Avenue, Church Street South and next to St. Anthony’s Church.
Salvatore said his Novella apartments on Chapel and Howe streets are still on the market.
“We are talking to some people. Nothing is finalized yet. The good thing for New Haven is there has been a strong demand. That says a lot for New Haven. Strong national demand is what has been coming from all over the place,” Salvatore said.
As for the Newhallville project, Double A Development Partners in December bought the contaminated 13 acres in Newhallville that was once the bustling manufacturing site owned by Olin Mathieson Corp.
A representative came to City Plan Wednesday asking for a special permit to store a large amount of clean soil on the site, which is bound by Munson Street, Shelton Avenue and Argyle Street, that it plans to use once it has an approved remediation plan in place.
The arrangement is to take 26,000 cubic yards of material that is being removed from Yale University’s replacement of the Gibbs Lab on Whitney Avenue and bring it to the Munson site to be used at a later date.
Staff calculated that it would take some three months to move the soil, a total of 2,500 truckloads, some 38 trucks a day the short distance from Whitney Avenue to Munson Street. The soil would be stored along the Munson Street side of the project and measure 480 feet by 120 feet and stand some 28 feet high. Sacco said for the most part the large mound of soil won’t be visible.
David Sacco of TPA Design Group, speaking for the developers, said it would probably take about a year before the large site was remediated and ready for any development. In addition to the three months it will take to move the soil, it could take another three at least to demolish the dilapidated buildings on the site before the contaminated soil is removed and replaced with the clean.
The commission felt uncomfortable approving a permit without knowing more specifics on how long it will be before the soil is put to use on its new site.
The decision was made to keep the public hearing open on the issue until next month. In the meantime, they want the out-of-state developers to come to that hearing with a realistic timeframe on its plans and some guarantee that the pile won’t sit there for decades.
Jesse Hameen, who owns property adjacent to the site, was concerned that overgrown vegetation on the site near his home would be taken care of.
The former Olin property could support more than 200 homes, according to preliminary plans with the city’s economic development office, and could be transformative for that neighborhood.