Town of East Haven Teams Up with Winn Development to Rehabilitate Former High School as “Flagship” Community Center and Age-Restricted Housing

High School
Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. announced today that the Town of East Haven and Boston-based Winn Development have teamed up and will be submitting a joint re-application for the redevelopment of 200 Tyler Street as a “flagship” community center and age-restricted housing.  In conjunction with the announcement, the Town released a video highlighting the project and the expansive renovations for the property that are being proposed by the developer and the Town.
Maturo explained, “Last October, the Town secured approvals to contract with Winn Development to rehabilitate the old high school at 200 Tyler Street as age-restricted housing.  Despite an aggressive application to the State of Connecticut for the housing tax credits necessary to finance the project, Winn’s initial submittal came up a few points short.  This year, the Town is teaming up with Winn Development on a joint submittal that includes both Winn’s housing plan and the Town’s plan to rehabilitate the rear of the property as a flagship recreation and community center.”
Maturo continued, “For its part of the project, Winn will perform an historically adaptive restoration of the front of the property and repurpose it as 70 units of age-restricted housing.  At the same time, the Town will rehabilitate the rear of the property, including the pool and gymnasium, and will also construct a 300-seat theater for the arts along with a meeting chambers for use by the Town Council and other Town commissions.”
According to plans drafted by the Town, the project will also include flex spaces for use by Town groups like the Arts Commission, Teen Center, and Chamber of Commerce along with recreation offices.  The Town intends to solicit additional input from residents when detailed construction plans are developed.  In the meantime, the Town is presently in the process of refining “rough order of magnitude” (ROM) cost estimates.  However, officials are already estimating that savings on debt payments, revenue from the sale, expected tax revenue from the property, and already-established commercial grand-list growth will allow the project to proceed with no impact on taxes.
Maturo explained, “Since 2011, we’ve paid off 48% of our long-term debt.  With our debt service payments slated to continue to drop and expected increases in the grand list due to the Town’s economic development efforts, the Town will be in a position to bond the costs of this project with zero impact on taxes.  Our goal with this exciting project is to increase the services we provide to our residents without increasing the tax burden.  Quite frankly, our fiscal responsibility since 2011, including the A+ credit rating we achieved just last year, has put us in a position to achieve that goal.”
Boston-based Winn Development is expected to submit the joint plan to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority in the next two weeks, just ahead of the November 1st application deadline.  Winn Development is pursuing 9% tax credits in association with the plan, which will help the company finance the costs of the nearly $30 million dollar housing project, which includes $22 million in direct construction costs.
Maturo added, “When completed, the housing component of the property could generate tax revenue in excess of $1.4 million dollars in the first ten years of its operation, inclusive of any tax benefits the developer would be entitled to under the Town’s present tax deferral program.  The project represents a significant source of new income for the Town, which will continue to help us expand services and reduce the tax burden on our residents.”
Maturo concluded, “We’ve done everything necessary locally to give this project the green light.  We are optimistic that the submittal of a ‘joint’ application by both the Town and Winn will earn Winn the few extra precious points it needs to obtain the 9% tax credits from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority that will allow the project to move forward.  Finally, we are excited to be proposing the type of project that many residents expressed support for during the Blue Ribbon Commission meetings in early 2016 and proud to be submitting a proposal that expands services locally without any substantial impact on taxes.”