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Former East Hartford movie theater site to house hundreds of apartments

East Hartford Town Mayor Michael Walsh and Governor Ned Lamont announce plans to redevelop the former Showcase Cinemas site in East Hartford to create more housing.
Ayannah Brown
Connecticut Public
East Hartford Town Mayor Michael Walsh and Governor Ned Lamont announce plans to redevelop the former Showcase Cinemas site in East Hartford to create more housing.

The site of a former movie theater in East Hartford will become home to more than 400 apartments.

The project will use millions in state funding to transform the site of the former Showcase Cinemas on Silver Lane. The theater, which closed in 2006, was demolished in 2020.

A minimum of 360 apartment units was established for the project, but the Town Council approved up to about 470 units. By the project’s completion, principal developer Brian Zelman anticipates the complex will have 430 apartments.

“We've been working for over three years to put this together. When fully built out, 400-plus units, modern, highly amenitized,” Zelman said. “Those folks are really going to be the catalyst to the rest of the redevelopment of the Silver Lane corridor.”

The complex will sit on a roughly 25-acre plot, with hundreds of apartments spread among about eight 3-to-4-story buildings, Zelman said.

In March, East Hartford finalized a deal with Zelman Real Estate and Jasko Development to sell the plot in Concourse Park.

Despite the apartments being entirely market rate, Zelman said the rent will be competitive.

Based on the partnership and the assistance from the state in the town, these units, they will rent for less than comparable units in the surrounding suburbs,” Zelman said.

Several other projects are in the works for the Silver Lane corridor, including Lowe’s and Wayfair warehouses, bringing in 1,000 new jobs to the town.

While Connecticut is in particular need of affordable housing options, any new homes are welcome, State Representative Jason Rojas said.

“We need housing of all kinds and in particularly multifamily and high density, because the more housing we build, that actually helps bring down those costs. So we know that rents are high, but we need more housing,” Rojas said.

Municipalities with 10% or more of the housing stock considered affordable are exempt from certain programs aimed at increasing affordable housing options. In East Hartford, nearly 16% of housing is affordable, according to state data.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced the appropriation of $7 million in state funding to support the site’s redevelopment.

The project is expected to be completed within two years and will cost upwards of $100 million dollars.

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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