August 12, 2014 01:10AM
By Dan Brechlin
MERIDEN — The Meriden Housing Authority proposes acquiring 16 properties in the city for two development projects. All 16 properties would be acquired through negotiated deals or eminent domain. Nearly all are single-family houses.
The MHA is in the process of proposing two development projects: the redevelopment of Yale Acres housing development and a housing and commercial project on West Main Street. A public hearing will be held on the proposed acquisitions Wednesday night.
“We expect to create more economic development in the area,” Executive Director Robert Cappelletti said.
Seven of the acquisitions would be for the Yale Acres project. The MHA proposes acquiring 26 and 49 Broadvale Road; 220, 228 and 234 Wall St.; and 29 and 41 Elizabeth Road. All of the properties in the area of Yale Acres are privately owned except for one, which is owned by the Federal National Mortgage Association. All of the properties either abut MHA property or are across the street from Yale Acres.
MHA officials have had discussions with owners of all of the properties, Cappelletti said. All, he said, were open to selling with some owners not residing in the properties and some houses in disrepair.
“We expect it to benefit many of the people living there,” Cappelletti said. “Some people are retired and have been wanting to move, so they seem open to it.”
The MHA hopes to acquire the properties through a property disposition fund the MHA developed over the years. The combined properties are valued at $2.2 million, according to city data, but Cappelletti said multiple property appraisals will be done on each. The average of the two appraisals will be offered to each owner. If somebody is unwilling to sell or the process drags too long, Cappelletti said it is possible properties will be taken through eminent domain, which requires a fair market value payment to property owners.
The complete Yale Acres project would include the full renovation for all of the 163 housing units, in addition to the construction of a community center of up to 25,000 square-feet. The community center would include a swimming pool, gym area, kitchen, daycare and other amenities.
The remaining properties would be acquired in the area of a proposed project centering on 143 W. Main St. The project would include a four-story building with the top three floors, or about 50 housing units. The remaining floors would be both commercial and office space. A black box theater with 400 seats and a stage is also proposed for the project.
For the project, the MHA is proposing to acquire 113, 119, 127, and 147 W. Main St, in addition to 10, 14, 20, 24, and 34 Maple Branch. The YMCA owns 113 and 119 W. Main St., both of which are open lots. The 127 W. Main St. property has a house on it and is not accessible by vehicle from West Main Street, only from Maple Street. A five-store mixed-use building stands at 147 W. Main St. The properties on Maple Branch are all multi-unit houses.
Cappelletti said there are no immediate plans to demolish the houses on Maple Branch, but the city requires the MHA to own the properties because most of the street is considered a “paper street.” If demolition is required, Cappelletti said residents will likely be offered housing in the new development.
An application for a tax credit program making the development possible will be applied for before the end of the year. If approved, Cappelletti anticipates closings on the properties next summer with development shortly thereafter.
The public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the MHA offices at 22 Church St.