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Renovated 89-unit affordable housing complex reopens in Hartford’s Frog Hollow

Fourteen buildings for a total of 89 affordable housing units stand along Park Terrace in the Frog Hollow Neighborhood of Hartford, which  re-opened after refurbishment.
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
Fourteen buildings for a total of 89 affordable housing units along Park Terrace in the Frog Hollow Neighborhood of Hartford re-opened after refurbishment.

Two decades ago several apartment buildings on Hartford’s Park Terrace were slated for demolition. Last week, the buildings, along with others on the road, reopened following an extensive refurbishment.

Over the last 20 years, the Mutual Housing Association of Greater Hartford gradually purchased 14 more buildings in Frog Hollow, comprising the Ribbon Row Mutual Housing, according to the organization’s Executive Director Catherine MacKinnon.

Using grants, investor contributions and state funding, Mutual Housing renovated 89 affordable apartments for a total cost of $21.5 million.

“Twenty-odd years ago, when we were looking at some of these properties, three of them were on the demolition list,” MacKinnon said. “I begged the city–I think they thought I was crazy, but I probably was–to not to not demolish them, so that I'd have some time to figure out what to do with them. It would have been a terrible loss, I think, to this street.”

During Mutual Housing’s 35 years in the Hartford area, the organization completed seven projects in Frog Hollow, adding hundreds of affordable options. Two more housing complexes are in development, MacKinnon said.

All Ribbon Row apartments are affordable, with five of the units available for residents earning 30% of the area’s median income. Another 44 units are for residents earning 50% of the area’s median income and 40 for people earning 60% of the area’s median income.

There is currently a waitlist for apartments at Ribbon Row, with rent ranging from $1,056 a month for a three-bedroom apartment to $910 for a two-bedroom. The complex also has single bedroom units.

The renovated apartments include hardwood floors, solar panels, dedicated parking spaces and are located in a transit-oriented district near a CTfastrak bus stop.

Building residents were relocated to existing, furnished units, president of the organization’s Board of Directors Emily Hultquist said.

“The agency provided them with fully furnished units, fresh linens, money for Stop & Shop, as consistent as possible for the kids with their bus pickup locations,” Hultquist said. “And also, I hear that some of the residents actually didn't want to move back out of the temporary units to move back in here.”

The 89-units place a dent in the state’s need for more affordable housing stock and options, but Connecticut still needs thousands more, Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno said.

“We can't forget that we need to preserve the units that have been done in the past. We don't want to lose them,” Mosquera-Bruno said. “The job is not done.”

She said housing prices in the state’s tight market are top of mind.

“We need units that can provide rents that are affordable to our residents, especially those that are with minimum wages. They deserve to be in a good place,” Mosquera-Bruno said. “They deserve to be where they want to be, providing options, whether it's a rental place or whether it is homeownership.”

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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