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HARTFORD-Ground should be broken by this fall on the $21.8-million greening of the 81-year-old Capital Building at 410 Asylum St. here. Gov. M. Jodi Rell and officials with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and Common Ground say that the redevelopment initiative will restore the property as a mixed-income residence with commercial space. Common Ground is the designated developer for the project and will be the owner and manager of the property upon completion of the redevelopment initiative.

Stamford business owners Milton and Betty Ruth Hollander donated the 410 Asylum St. building to Common Ground in 2003. The property, when complete, will be renamed the Hollander Foundation Center. The building will feature 70 rental apartments, of which 80% will be deemed as affordable. The units will include studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units with rents starting at $765 per month. The remaining 20% of the units will consist of two-bedroom units renting at $1,400 per month. The ground floor will be slated for commercial and retail use. Occupancy of the residential units is scheduled for sometime in the first quarter of 2009. Common Ground plans to create office space for arts and design-oriented endeavors, as well as open a coffee bar/café where local artists can display their work.

State officials say the building will incorporate innovative sustainable design elements that enhance energy efficiency, including a “green” roof that promotes water conservation and re-use. The building will have a high-efficiency heating system, low-flow fixtures for bathrooms and kitchens, an energy efficient lighting plan in common areas and other energy saving features.

“The building will lead the way in innovative design as one of the first certified ‘green’ residential buildings in Connecticut,” Rell says. “Downtown Hartford will benefit from jobs, affordable and attractive housing options with top-quality design and commercial services for residents and the downtown workforce. Common Ground has a proven track record of bringing life to communities and we are excited to bring this success to Downtown Hartford.”

Common Ground is funding the project through development funds from federal historic and state tax credits and low-income housing tax credits as well as non-debt financial assistance from CHFA, and loans from CHFA, the City of Hartford and the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

In Connecticut, Common Ground has managed the Windham House in the City of Willimantic, an affordable housing residence serving 60 individuals with special needs since 2004. Common Ground officials note that the firm expects to be fully approved this year to develop Cedarwoods, a new project in Willimantic, which will consist of 74 one bedroom rental apartments with 50% of the units slated for supportive housing and 50% earmarked as affordable housing.

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