60-unit ‘workforce housing’ opens in downtown Torrington

Senior state, federal and local dignitaries visited Torrington on Thursday to celebrate the completion of a $24.5 million redevelopment of an approximately 2-acre former factory site into a mixed-income development along the Naugatuck River.

The “Riverfront” offers 60 apartments and 1,200 square feet of commercial space on the first floor in downtown Torrington. It was developed by Philadelphia-based mixed-income developer Penrose and The Cloud Co., a Hartford-based real estate and commercial development company.

Both companies partnered with the town of Torrington, tapping into a well of financial support from state and federal sources.

Forty-five apartments are reserved for households earning 70% of the territory’s median income. The rest is unlimited. The Riverfront also has facilities such as a rooftop terrace, lounge, fitness center and playground.

The 100 Franklin St. site had been home to the Torrington Manufacturing Co., which started in 1885 to make brass furniture nails, according to Preservation Connecticut. The manufacturing building was demolished to rubble when the site was donated in 2014 to Torrington. The city, working with lawmakers and state officials, secured $2.7 million for a cleanup.

Torrington Mayor Elinor Carbone – speaking to a crowd of political dignitaries, media and project staff on Thursday – recalled the decision to accept the gift came during his first month in office.

“From 1880 through the 1980s, this parcel provided good jobs that sustained and supported thousands of Torrington area residents,” Carbone said. “…Unfortunately, as industrial use dissolved, we were left with an abandoned and contaminated property that was not only unsightly, but hazardous to human health.”

On Thursday, however, Carbone said, the gathered crowd could celebrate “reclaiming our waterfront.”

“This particular property that once provided employment and labor for thousands of people, will now provide healthy and affordable housing for the workforce,” Carbone said.

On Thursday, six units of The Riverfront were occupied, with five more expected to be on Friday. Twelve more units are expected to be occupied next week, according to project planners.

The architects of the project are Quisenberry Arcari Architects and Wallace Roberts & Todd. The civil engineer is Bohler Engineering.

Carbone and other speakers highlighted the collective effort required to bring the project to fruition.

Many officials who have supported the project were present on Thursday. Speakers included Governor Ned Lamont; U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.); U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes (D-5th District) and representatives from the Connecticut Departments of Economic and Community Development; Lodging; and Developmental Services, as well as the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority; State Representative Michelle L. Cook (D-Torrington) and a representative from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Alexandra Daum, deputy commissioner of the DECD, said such projects are needed to bring in workers to fill the roughly 100,000 jobs the state is struggling to fill.

The Franklin Street development also includes a stretch of paved pathway running alongside a riverside fence. This will be integrated with the largest greenway in the Naugatuck Valley.

Project funding includes:

  • $12.1 million – Connecticut Housing Finance Authority tax credits
  • $4.6 million – Citibank construction loan
  • $3.5 million – Connecticut Department of Housing
  • $2.8 million – loan from Torrington Savings Bank
  • $650,000 – Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston
  • $500,000 – DECD Urban Law Funding
  • $500,000 – Federal Home Loan Bank of New York
  • Funding of services by the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services
  • Eversource Energy Discount

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