HARTFORD, Conn. – Construction is scheduled to begin Monday on the conversion of a former Bank of America Corp. skyscraper into apartments following the closure Friday of a $78 million financing package, the Hartford Business Journal reported.
Under the project agreement, Bruce Becker of Fairfield, Conn.-based architecture and development firm Becker and Becker LLC will purchase the building at 777 Main St. in downtown Hartford from current owner Grunberg Realty for about $7.5 million. Including $46.2 million in construction costs – as well as developer fees, architectural and engineering costs, construction contingency and other expenses – the total project cost amounts to approximately $78 million.
Becker will finance the conversion in part through a $37.6 million loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as $14.4 million in federal historic tax credits. Another $8.4 million in Connecticut state loans and tax credits and an equity investment from the Capital Region Development Authority, a quasi-public economic development entity, will cover the remainder of the project cost, according to a term sheet from CRDA.
Viking Construction of Bridgeport, Conn., will lead the project, which will convert the 26-story building at 777 Main St. into 286 apartments for tenants to move in, ideally, by the end of the year, the Hartford Business Journal said.
The Hartford skyscraper renovation bears parallels to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the fate of the Industrial Trust Tower at 111 Westminster St. in Providence, Rhode Island’s tallest building which, like the Hartford tower, formerly housed Bank of America offices.
When Bank of America moved out in April 2013, the 26-story skyscraper known as the Superman Building was left vacant. Last year, High Rock Westminster Street LLC, which owns the building, proposed converting the Industrial Trust Tower into apartments at a cost of $114.7 million, but the developer’s request for at least $70 million in state, federal and city aid fell flat.
High Rock renewed efforts to secure public support for the conversion project in February, launching a new website to market the building and offering tours for prospective tenants, but the firm has not resubmitted a formal proposal.