Walker & Dunlop Finances Historic Connecticut Office Conversion
Damian Ghigliotty April 3, 2014, 3:56 p.m.
Bethesda, Md.-based Walker & Dunlop provided $37.2 million in FHA financing to developer and architect Becker + Becker Associates to convert a vacant historic office tower in Hartford, Conn.’s central business district into market-rate and affordable apartments.
The 26-story property at 777 Main Street, which was constructed as the headquarters of Hartford National Bank in 1967, has become a focal point of state and local efforts to revitalize Hartford’s downtown, according to the lender. Twenty percent of the apartments will be set aside as affordable housing units for low-income residents.
The late American architect Welton Becket, who designed several iconic buildings in Los Angeles including Hollywood’s Capitol Records tower, drafted the plans for the historic office property. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which allows Becker + Becker to obtain federal and state historic tax credits to help finance its conversion.
Connecticut’s Capital Region Development Authority and Department of Housing invested more than $21 million in the first mortgage loan to back the redevelopment.
“HUD is proud to be a partner in the historic and sustainable redevelopment of 777 Main,” HUD New England Regional Administrator Barbara Fields said. “We congratulate Walker & Dunlop and everyone involved in this project for their efforts to deliver much needed affordable and market rate housing in Hartford, close to jobs and transit.”
The developer’s design plans utilize a hydrogen fuel cell to power the site, according to Walker & Dunlop. The fuel cell qualifies the property for Low Emissions Renewable Energy Credits, which were also incorporated into the financing.
The transaction marks the first time HUD has agreed to recognize such credits through its FHA mortgage insurance program.
“It was a pleasure to work closely with our partners at HUD and many others to help deliver such an important project for the city of Hartford,” said Walker & Dunlop Senior Vice President Todd Trehubenko who led the team that structured the financing. “This transaction, while very complex, shows the unique role that FHA financing can play in the market to stimulate apartment construction and neighborhood development.”