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Funding to redevelop Hartford’s Clay Arsenal neighborhood could be ‘transformative’

20220713ClayArsenal
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
A pedestrian walks past a mural on the side of the Community Renewal Team offices in the Clay Arsenal neighborhood in Hartford. Officials announced that Hartford received a $6.3 million grant from the state to redevelop the neighborhood.

Officials hope state funding will bring a much-needed boost to a part of Hartford that’s suffered blight.

The city is partnering with the San Juan Center, Carabetta Companies and other investors to redevelop the Clay Arsenal district in Hartford’s North End. The project has received a $6.3 million grant from the state, bringing the total funding for the project up to $17.5 million.

“I think this is going to be transformative,” said Fernando Betancourt, executive director of the San Juan Center. “It’s going to be one of the most sought-after spaces in the entire city.”

The city plans to construct new housing and commercial spaces on the vacant lots in the area, near Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Officials also plan to renovate the Flat Iron building and other historical buildings in the area that have been abandoned for years. They have allocated 25% of housing as “affordable,” and the remaining 75% will be rented out at market rate.

“One of the things that we’re very proud of is that the San Juan Center went to the community first before proposing any development,” Betancourt said. “We engaged with the community by talking to them street by street.”

Hartford’s historic and long abandoned Flat Iron building is included in the city’s plans to renovate the Clay Arsenal neighborhood after receiving a $6.3 million grant from the state.
Mark Mirko
/
Connecticut Public
Hartford’s historic and long-abandoned Flat Iron building is included in the city’s plans to redevelop the Clay Arsenal neighborhood after receiving a $6.3 million grant from the state.

Officials say there will be about 60 mixed-income units of housing as well as more than 8,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

“The goal here is to create a diversity of housing options for our community,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Wednesday at a news conference. “We want to make sure that if you grow up in the Clay Arsenal neighborhood, and you get that job you want, that you’ve got an opportunity to stay in your community.”

The first round of business applications will open in August. The city hopes to break ground on construction by August, and officials estimate the work will take about a year and a half to complete.

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