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Housing issues affect everyone in Connecticut, from those who are searching for a safe place to live, to those who may find it increasingly difficult to afford a place they already call home.WNPR is covering Connecticut's housing and homelessness issues in a series that examines how residents are handling the challenges they face. We look at the trends that matter most right now, and tell stories that help bring the issues to light.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Kicks Off Hartford Factory Renovation

The Capewell Horse Nail Factory is being renovated into 72 residential housing units.

An abandoned factory near downtown Hartford is going to see new life -- as an apartment complex.

Originally built in 1893, the Capewell Horse Nail Factory manufactured nails that attach the metal shoes to horses’ hooves. But the historic 100,000-square-foot building has remained empty since the 1980s.   

Now, it’s being renovated into 72 residential housing units dubbed the Capewell Lofts. The apartments aim to preserve the original character of the building with exposed beams and brick walls. The factory's exterior will also be restored.

Governor Dannel Malloy spoke at Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Capewell renovation. He said new housing projects like this are important for the city.

Credit Charlie Smart / WNPR
Governor Dannel Malloy at the Capewell groundbreaking.

"We’ve been hard at work making sure we that we have the kinds of housing that will attract the kinds of work force to live in Hartford that we so desperately want to see," said Malloy.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra also spoke. He lauded the preservation of the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

"This neighborhood is part of a broader neighborhood that includes Coltsville [Historic District]," said Segarra. "And it's good to make sure that... the architectural elements are being preserved."

Hartford was once known as the "Horse Nail Capitol of the World" due to the success of the factory. 

In 2013, the renovation project received a $2 million brownfield redevelopment grant from the state.

The total cost is projected at $26 million, with the remainder of the funding coming from a combination of state, federal, and private sources.

Developers aim to complete the renovation by December 2016.

Charlie Smart is an intern at WNPR.

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