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Gov. Lamont and state leaders tout efforts to increase housing inventory in CT

Construction continues on
Abigail Brone
Connecticut Public
Construction continues at Cedar Point where nearly all of its 108 apartments will be affordable housing.

Connecticut leaders are working to increase the state’s affordable housing inventory. Gov. Ned Lamont and Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno, gathered at a construction site for a new affordable housing apartment complex in Newington Wednesday, to tout the state’s efforts.

The Cedar Pointe development, will consist of 108 apartments, 100 of which will be affordable housing. The remaining eight will be market rate housing. The apartments will be located on Cedar Street about half a mile from a CTfastrak train station.

Dakota, a Massachusetts-based developer, is leading the project and has developed in Connecticut for about a decade. The first phase of the project is set for completion this fall.

“Our motto is we build housing that matters, because we believe that affordable housing really matters to the community,” Dakota co-founder Roberto Arista said. “Because it gives to families that can't afford expensive housing, because that seems to be what is all over the place these days. A place to live, a nice place to live, a beautiful place to live.”

Cedar Pointe will help the town of Newington reach the state’s 10% affordable housing requirement for Connecticut municipalities, a number the town has hovered near for years.

The contested apartments have been in the works for at least five years. Newington residents previously expressed concerns over the project’s impact on area traffic and safety for pedestrians.

The former brownfield was home to an automotive company until it closed more than 20 years ago. The soil was contaminated with petroleum and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection oversaw cleaning of the property, according to the Hartford Courant.

About 3,500 units of housing are currently under construction across the state, according to Mosquera-Bruno.

“We have these types of projects, which are affordable housing for those individuals that are making between $15,000 up to $80,000 in income,” Mosquera-Bruno said. “We are working on the rental side. We're working on the homeownership, and also promoting more supply, more building.”

Helping the state to develop more properties and increase homeownership is the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), a quasi-government agency.

Pat Guliano, managing director of multifamily for CHFA, said projects like Cedar Pointe are a good example of the collaboration between public and private entities.

“We're often asked what's the best conditions for a housing development like Cedar Pointe, what's the right location, mix of financing, mix of income or architectural design. And oftentimes, the housing solution that works best is the one that represents balance,” Guliano said.

“One that provides short-term benefits like access to good schools, reliable public transit, and employment centers along with long-term affordability. It's the solution that helps save energy in the short term while delivering long-term environmental sustainability and resiliency.”

In the last two years, more than $26 million in private equity was brought to the state through the leveraging of Low Income Housing Tax Credits awarded by CHFA and additional sources committed by the state, according to Guliano.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.