Hartford Business Journal

January 31, 2022

Issue link: https://nebusinessmedia.uberflip.com/i/1446108

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 31

19 HARTFORDBUSINESS.COM | JANUARY 31 2022 that aims to create 80,000 new jobs. The administration plans to pump $100 million into the challenge grant program within five years, resulting in 3,000 jobs. The challenge grants allow municipalities, regional councils of governments and economic development agencies to apply for up to $10 million for projects improving the vibrancy and appeal of communities. The state aims to grant at least half its funds to projects in distressed municipalities. Applicants also get extra points for proposals that involve: ■ transit-oriented projects ■ using existing properties in downtowns and major hubs ■ upgrading infrastructure essential to future development ■ upgrading mobility for pedestrians, cyclists and the disabled ■ upgrading amenities in community spaces ■ creating housing that supports affordability, accessibility and the local workforce. Another big selling point for the state is projects that partner with private funders, including developers. "These applications are much stronger the more private-sector participation they include," Daum said. Sustainable, attractive development Enfield is also among the applicants, seeking $4 million to upgrade Higgins Park, according to the Journal Inquirer. When completed, the park will include fitness stations, playscapes, walking trails, a basketball court, pool, splash pad and band shell. Hartford also applied, seeking millions of dollars in challenge- grant support for mixed-use redevelopments of the former Fuller Brush Co. headquarters at 3580 Main St., which is owned by major city landlord Shelbourne Global Solutions, and the former Arrowhead Café at the corner of Main and Ann Uccello streets. Windsor developer Greg Vaca has partnered with Torrington construction firm PAC Group for the Windsor project. He envisions returning a corner of Windsor's downtown to high-density residential, transit-oriented development that prevailed in Northeast urban centers New $100M state grant program aiming to jump- start economic development gets strong response Developer Greg Vaca outside a downtown Windsor retail plaza, which he plans to redevelop into 100 apartments and retail space. HBJ PHOTO | MICHAEL PUFFER By Michael Puffer mpuffer@hartfordbusiness.com T he town of Windsor recently signed off on a $2.5 million state grant request, seeking support for a private redevelopment of a downtown strip mall into 100 apartments and ground-floor retail. Windsor officials expect the transit- oriented development to breathe new economic vitality into the downtown, providing housing for a growing workforce and taking full advantage of nearby passenger rail. It is one of 52 applications submitted to the state's new Connecticut Communities Challenge Grant program ahead of the Jan. 14 deadline. "I am thrilled with that response and I'm happy with that number," said Alexandra Daum, deputy commissioner for the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). "It is certainly competitive enough that we are going to be able to identify extremely strong projects." Announced in October, the challenge grant program is one of the first initiatives springing from Gov. Ned Lamont's ambitious five-year, $750 million Economic Action Plan Alexandra Daum until the sprawl of the 1950s. Vaca said this type of development is the aim of recent zoning changes in Windsor, and the new state grant program. It is also a sustainable and attractive development that can be replicated in other town centers, he said. "The intention of the grant program is to create area vitality and contribute to vibrancy in these areas," Vaca said. "That is exactly what we've tried to achieve here." The state Bond Commission recently authorized $25 million in borrowing for the challenge grant program, Daum said. DECD is hoping for another $25 million in bonding authorization for the first round of grants before awards are announced in March or April. Daum said DECD aims to launch a second grant round immediately after the first round of awards. She urged "anyone" with good ideas for the program to reach out to relevant municipalities. "I think this is a very good opportunity for the private sector to work with municipalities to make these applications much stronger," Daum said.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Hartford Business Journal - January 31, 2022