Cherry Street Lofts

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Factory Conversion Revitalizes Industrial District 

The firm’s Government Finance and Real Estate practices have been instrumental in the initial transformation of a blighted industrial property along Interstate 95 in Bridgeport. Once the site of the former North American Phonograph Company, which set the stage in the mid-1890s for the modern recording industry, the buildings were vacated in the 1980s, leaving the property to fall into decay.

In the first phase of the transformation, two of the eight buildings will be demolished and the environmentally contaminated brownfield site will be remediated. Rehabilitation of some of the remaining structures and construction on 157 residential apartments has begun, making this the first multifamily housing construction in the area in more than a decade. A community facility, a gym and a 40,000 square-foot outdoor recreational space will also be constructed on the site. Plans for the next phase of construction include an additional 150 apartments, a new home for the Great Oaks Charter School, and housing for the school’s tutors.

Our attorneys worked with the developer for two years to assemble the property for the project and to close a multi-party financing transaction in order to repurpose the site. The property assembly included three parcels owned by different entities, including the City of Bridgeport, as well as numerous easements, street abandonments and permits to facilitate parking for the project. We worked with the city and the developer to implement a favorable property tax incentive for the project. Our attorneys facilitated financing for the project from numerous sources, including: construction and permanent financing from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) through a conduit bond financing; a Brownfields loan from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development; a grant from the city; and the sale of federal and state historic tax credits. The bonds issued by CHFA were purchased by the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, a pension trust owned by the AFL-CIO in the first-of-its-kind financing in Connecticut. The financing was completed in November, 2016, and the initial phase of the project is expected to be ready for occupancy in mid-2018.