Hartford Land Bank completes its first renovation

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and developer Menard “Tex” Sampson outside 103 Earle Street, Hartford, Connecticut after renovations funded by the Hartford Land Bank. Credit: Facebook post / Hartford Land Bank

HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Land Bank on Friday unveiled its first revitalized property, the start of a project that organization officials say will help transform neighborhoods and increase housing options for city residents. .

During a press conference attended by Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, along with local developers and staff from the Hartford Land Bank, officials unveiled the completely renovated, wood-frame, two-family home at 103 Earle St. in the northeast section of the city. The building, dating from the 1920s, was falling apart and was even tilted at one point.

“It had to undergo major stabilization to be usable again,” Bronin said. “This transformation is spectacular and not only important for this property, but for the whole street. Every property on Earle Street benefits from the transformation of a crumbling building into a magnificent building as you see here behind us. Our goal is to do it again and again and again and again in the neighborhoods of Hartford.

Bronin said the renovation projects create opportunities locally, for small and medium entrepreneurs and minority-owned entrepreneurs, so they can give back to the community while building equity and wealth.

Bronin said another Hartford Land Bank property on Garden Street will have a ribbon cutting in about a month.

Yahaira Escribano, finance and programs manager at Hartford Land Bank, said $20 million in bonds were included in the recently signed state budget to create a homeownership investment fund. statewide.

103 Earle Street, Hartford, <a class=Connecticut prior to renovation funded by Hartford Land Bank.” class=”wp-image-219765 jetpack-lazy-image” data-recalc-dims=”1″ data-lazy-srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/ctnewsjunkie.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/103-earle-street-before-fb-image1-1200×800-1.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w, https://i0.wp.com/ctnewsjunkie.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/103-earle-street-before-fb-image1-1200×800-1.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/ctnewsjunkie.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/103-earle-street-before-fb-image1-1200×800-1.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/ctnewsjunkie.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/103-earle-street-before-fb-image1-1200×800-1.jpg?resize=400%2C267&ssl=1 400w” data-lazy-sizes=”(max-width: 780px) 100vw, 780px” data-lazy-src=”https://i0.wp.com/ctnewsjunkie.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/103-earle-street-before-fb-image1-1200×800-1.jpg?resize=780%2C520&is-pending-load=1#038;ssl=1″ srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″/>
103 Earle Street, Hartford, Connecticut prior to renovation funded by Hartford Land Bank. Credit: Facebook post / Hartford Land Bank

Arunan Arulampalam, CEO of Hartford Land Bank, said money from the Homeownership Investment Fund will be used in qualifying census tracts. According to US Housing and Urban Development, such an area must have 50% of households with incomes below 60% of the regional median gross income (AMGI), or have a poverty rate of 25% or more. The funds must be used by developers who live in the same municipality where the housing is built.

“Since Land Bank created a developer cohort training program for Hartford residents, we believe our developers are uniquely equipped to take advantage of those dollars,” Arulampalam said. He added that the bond will be administered through Connecticut urban law, so it will come without deed restrictions.

Although the position was included in the budget, the State Bonds Commission has yet to approve it, officials said.

Menard “Tex” Sampson, who also attended the ceremony on Friday, purchased 103 Earle Street in July 2021 and, along with his team, installed new windows, siding, porches, heating and a new roof. The workers also remodeled the interior. New tenants will move in later this month, officials said.

“He’s a local color developer. He’s done a really good job,” Arulampalam said. “It’s the type of property I would put my own family in.”

Arulampalam said he hopes through the work of the land bank the impact will be more people owning houses. Homeownership in Hartford stands at 24%, which is the lowest in the state, he said.

103 Earle St. is one of seven initial parcels transferred from the city of Hartford to the Hartford Land Bank in January 2021. The land bank was created because the city was struggling to find a way to improve the properties degraded, Bronin said. .

Even though the city put liens on the properties and levied fines, nothing happened, he said.

“The city never went any further than that because if the city took over property, it had nothing to do with it,” Bronin said. “He would just be sitting on this devastated property.”

Here’s a before/after comparison of the interior of 103 Earle St. in Hartford.

The Hartford Land Bank is an independent non-profit organization that makes sure the buildings go to someone who will look after the property, rehabilitate it and put it back on the tax rolls, Bronin added.

The Hartford Land Bank started in 2020, after the state allocated $5 million for its establishment. Other entities, such as the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, have funded the land bank as it works to acquire and rehabilitate derelict properties in the city.

“Instead of being a weight that pulls the neighborhood down, be an example of investment and trust that uplifts the neighborhood,” Bronin said.

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