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CT Construction Digest Thursday September 5, 2019

What's new at CCSU: Construction continues as part of 10-year plan
Adam Hushin
NEW BRITAIN -With the first week of classes completed, most Central Connecticut State University students have already been exposed to some of the changes around campus, while other updates are still a work in progress.
Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Sal Cintorino is currently serving as the interim chief facilities officer, which is a role that involves overseeing construction projects on campus.
“The transition into the new year has been phenomenal,” Cintorino said.
Cintorino detailed several completed and ongoing projects around campus, most of which are a part of a ten-year master plan that began around 2010.
Projects featured in this plan that have already been completed previously to this year include renovations to the Willard-DiLoreto complex, the Mid-Campus Residence Hall, Hilltop Dining Facility, a new nursing lab, a new food pantry facility and renovations to a social sciences hall that has since been named Ebenezer Bassett Hall after the first African-American graduate.
One of the most recent aspects of this master plan is a complete remodeling of the first floor of Memorial Hall that was finished this summer.
The remodeling created a state of the art study lounge area and a new e-sports lab, Cintorino said.
“Walking around it’s like you’re in a different world,” Cintorino said.
The e-sports lab will be having a grand opening on Sept. 6.
Another new addition that will be completed this semester is the Huang Recreation Center.
The new recreation center is a $26 million project that after 18 months of development replaces the outdated Kaiser Annex Bubble.
“It’s something for our student body for a health and wellness perspective,” Cintorino said.
There are more projects that will be completed in the near future as well.
Groundbreaking for a new engineering building will take place on Sept. 12 and construction is expected to take 24 months.
According to Cintorino, CCSU President Dr. Zulma R. Toro was able to personally assist in the early stages of preparation for this new building.
“With a background in engineering she gave some important insight into this project,” Cintorino said.
He went on to say that he expects the new engineering building to be an attraction for recruiting purposes.
A $22 million renovation project to Henry Barnard Hall is expected to be completed within the next 16 months. Cintorino said he believes this project is overdue and will be received well by the students.
“It was a building that was aged, so it’ll be nice when the students see it again,” Cintorino said.
Another student-oriented development is a 15 thousand sq. ft. addition to the campus library. According to Cintorino that project is still in the programming phase.
“We’re just trying to meet the needs of the students,” Cintorino said.
The recently completed projects have made campus easier for students to navigate this semester, Cintorino said.
“Before kids had to hike all over campus to get what they need,” Cintorino said. “Now it’s all in one place.”
A project to combat issues with parking around campus has just moved beyond the programming stage and is expected to be completed in 18 months.
“It will certainly take some stress off of parking,” Cintorino said.
The plan is for an over 600 space parking garage that will connect to the new Willard-DiLoreto complex through a walkway that passes over Paul Manafort Senior Drive.
Cintorino admitted that construction on campus is a lengthy ordeal but that the process is nearing completion.
“We’re at that point now where it’s all coming together, the money is already there,” Cintorino said. “It’s a long process certainly, but there’s a bright horizon.”
Updates regarding sporting news, programmatic additions, official enrollment numbers and changes pertaining to the handling of sexual misconduct complaints will be coming throughout the next few weeks.

State takes $25M loss on key downtown Hartford apartment redevelopment
Gregory Seay
A heavily subsidized downtown Hartford apartment project that was part of the city’s “six pillars” economic-development plan has fallen into foreclosure and forced the state to take a nearly $25 million haircut on its original investment, the Hartford Business Journal has learned.
The holder of a pair of mortgages secured by downtown Hartford’s The Lofts at Main & Temple apartments and adjacent parcels has been suing to foreclose on the collateral since March, court files show.
Elizon DB Transfer Agent LLC, of Greenwich, is suing in Hartford Superior Court, 18 Temple Street LLC, the entity for whom two loans, totaling $42.6 million, were issued over a decade ago, filings show.
The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), which originated the loans and still services a pair of smaller, related notes, and the state Department and Economic and Community Development, are co-defendants in the March 22 foreclosure lawsuit.
The two larger notes, the suit says, were issued to construct, and are secured with, a key apartment development in the city’s ambitious six pillars plan, which also led to the construction of the Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford Marriott Downtown and Connecticut Science Center.
The properties listed in the lawsuit include 884-908 Main St., former home to the Sage-Allen Department store, now site of the 78-unit Lofts at Main & Temple apartments; and 29 Temple St., where 42 student townhomes were built.
Those loans have had a troubled history, court records show. One or both were modified at least seven times over a 13-year period starting in 2005. One loan modification, in May 2005, included CHFA increasing the first loan from $15.9 million to $30.5 million so that the developer could erect the student housing, which included 42, four-bedroom townhomes.
That loan was increased again to $34.1 million in Dec. 2006, court records show.
At the sale, there was $33.3 million and $9.3 million still outstanding on each mortgage, Taib said.
CHFA sold the pair to Elizon for $18.25 million, meaning the quasi-public housing finance agency took an approximately $24.5 million loss on the loans.
By last Christmas Eve, both mortgages were in default, and Elizon said in its suit that it negotiated a one-month forbearance pact with 18 Temple, forestalling foreclosure.
One month later, on Jan. 31, the forebearance had expired and Elizon said it sent the borrower a Feb. 19 “demand letter,’’ declaring its intent to call the full debt due and payable, the suit said.
18 Temple Street’s attorney declined comment.
It’s not clear why The Lofts at Main & Temple property has experienced such financial difficulties, but developer sources say the property was overleveraged and the townhouses did not prove popular. However, the main apartment units have seen occupancy rates well into the 90-percent range, sources said.
A new development plan
The Lofts at Main & Temple and adjoining townhomes are now in the redevelopment crosshairs of a new development group that recently proposed a $100 million makeover of the Pratt Street retail corridor, extending to Main Street.

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