The Derby Housing Authority voted July 5 to put out a request for proposals for the sale and development of its long-vacant “Barron Building” at 31-37 Anson St.
As part of the deal, the buyer must agree to provide seven Section 8 vouchers for the property, and the government-assisted vouchers must remain with the property for 15 years.
Former Mayor Anthony Staffieri’s administration and the Derby Housing Authority announced the purchase of the roughly 17,000-square-foot apartment building in 2013.
Click here for a New Haven Register article on the subject.
The housing authority oversees government-assisted housing in Derby.
The initial plans were to redevelop the property for senior housing. It was announced as a way to revitalize Anson Street, a densely populated street downtown.
The redevelopment project has not yet happened. The building sits vacant, its ground floor windows covered in plywood.
Meanwhile, letters and emails from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority recently alleged the housing authority used $220,250 from a reserve fund to buy the property.
The CHFA raised questions about the use of that money, pointing out the reserve fund was meant to be used for capital repairs (roof and window replacements, etc.) and not for real estate purchases.
As a result, the Derby Housing Authority’s reserve fund has dipped well below regulatory guidelines.
According to a Jan. 11 letter from the CHFA, the Derby Housing Authority was supposed to have $106,000 in reserves.
Instead, it had just $18,046.36.
Take A Tour
The hope now is that selling the property will enable the housing authority to make its money back and, ideally, bring a large, vacant building back to life.
The deadline to submit a proposal to the Derby Housing Authority is 4 p.m. July 31.
A walkthrough for interested parties is scheduled for July 14 at 1 p.m. at the site.
(Fusco, by the way, is the chairwoman of the Derby Housing Authority.)
About The Property
The Barron building dates back to 1912, and is being sold “as is.” It’s been an apartment building throughout its history.
It’s on the east side of Anson Street, at the corner of Fifth Street.
It’s three stories and 17,745 square feet, with an unfinished basement and storage area adding another roughly 6,000 square feet.
It’s zoned as “CDD.” That stands for “Center Design Development District,” which allows for a range of redevelopment uses, from retail to at least 12 apartments.
As it stands, the Derby Housing Authority has a schematic design plan from an architect that shows 29 apartments and a community room for the property. However, that plan does not necessarily have to be followed, according to the request for proposals circulated by the housing authority.
It’s worth noting redevelopment plans for the building thus far have been hampered by a lack of parking.
The housing authority hopes to select a buyer by September, and close on the deal in October.
Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by a selection committee established by the housing authority.