Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Program Helps New London, Conn., Revitalizes Its Downtown

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Program Helps New London, Conn., Revitalizes Its Downtown

Article excerpt

With help from the America Downtown program, New London, Conn., focused on developing market-rate housing and upgrading its downtown as a base for arts and culture to revitalize the city's downtown.

In 2001, the New London, Conn., City Council determined that a downtown enhancement strategy was needed to further revitalize downtown New London.

As a result, the city became a participant of the America Downtown program, a partnership between NLC and HyettPalma Inc., and developed the New London Downtown Action Agenda.

New London faced many challenges to revitalizing and creating a residential community in its downtown.

For instance, there were vacant buildings that were under consideration for renovation and/or conversion to residential units.

While acknowledging the need to develop a stronger residential area in downtown, city leaders were concerned that the cost was too high. As a result, they decided to allow market forces to determine the fate of the buildings and the mortgage holder, Connecticut College, sold the buildings at auction.

Several development proposals were unveiled requiring the use of low-income housing tax credits and large (up to $10,000,000) subsidies from the city. Despite dire predictions, developers purchased four buildings and two of those buildings are now undergoing renovation.

These buildings will consist of approximately 110 market-rate units. In addition, a vacant office building has been converted into 30 units of market rate apartments.

In June 2003, a Massachusetts developer will begin construction on the first phase of a 162-unit luxury condominium complex in downtown New London.

New London continues to build its base as a center for arts and culture, with restaurants offering Thai, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Northern Indian, French, New England Seafood and American cuisines. …

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