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In Hartford, a model for sustainable housing

  |  November 7, 2011

At the corner of Asylum and High streets, on the western edge of downtown Hartford, an 83-year-old building was rescued, renovated and filled with tenants. Now, some say, it represents Hartford’s most promising way forward in sustainable housing.

This is the Hollander Building. Reopened in 2009 as mixed income housing, it faced being turned into a parking lot before non-profit and historical preservationists advocated successfully for its survival. Now, two and a half years later, its 70 apartments are full, and it’s financially self-sufficient.

The Hollander’s units include studios, one and two-bedroom units. Fourteen of the two-bedrooms are market rate apartments, with rents ranging from $1500 to $1600 a month. The remaining 56 are tax credit units–meaning they’re available at a lower, fixed price and only to people earning less than 60 percent of the area’s median income. They go for, at most, $900 a month.”It’s a model for what ought to be done in all of Hartford,” said David Fink, policy and communications director for the Partnership for Strong Communities. “A mixed income configuration where people earning a fair income are living with people with low and moderate incomes–and it works out.”

“This is the start of a new generation of building projects,” said Rosanne Haggerty, president of Community Solutions and founder of the non-profit Common Ground–two organizations responsible for the project. “The Hollander represents a number of firsts for the city.”