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A Done Deal! Berlin Closes on Sale of Depot Crossing

A new era is about to begin along Farmington Avenue after the town last week closed on the sale of the Depot Crossing property, marking the start of a multimillion renovation that will bring residential and commercial opportunities to the property.

A look at designs for 'Depot Crossing.' (Credit: Submitted by Town of Berlin)
A look at designs for 'Depot Crossing.' (Credit: Submitted by Town of Berlin)
The following press release was provided by the Town of Berlin through Economic Development Coordinator Jim Mahoney.

Berlin Mayor Rachel Rochette announced that non-profit housing developer, the Corporation for Independent Living (CIL), has purchased the Depot Crossing property at 848 Farmington Avenue, across from the Berlin Train Station. CIL’s plan for the building include commercial space on the first floor with 16 apartments above, four designated as affordable to households at 60 percent of the median income.

Depot Crossing will be Berlin’s first new mixed use, transit-oriented project, project being developed in conjunction with the upcoming expanded commuter rail service on the New Haven Springfield line.

“I thank Governor Malloy and the State of Connecticut for their assistance. When Town staff started working with CIL to assist on financing for the project we met with a group of State agencies that is encouraging TOD projects,” said Berlin Mayor Rachel Rochette.

“Out of that meeting we started to work with Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA). CHFA provided $1,000,000 funding to the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund (CHIF) that was lent to CIL on a subordinated basis. This financing was critical to the project and helped to leverage the $2.1 million first mortgage from United Bank that completed the financing package.”

Depot Crossing, a 23,900 square foot building, was started in 2008 but went into foreclosure after the original developer was not able to complete the project. In February 2013, the Berlin Land Trust entered into an agreement to buy the property and this agreement was assigned to the town in March of 2013.

The town issued a request for developer proposals, selected CIL as preferred developer and signed a development agreement with CIL in July.

“The Depot Crossing project has all the elements that make for successful developments and strengthens communities. Creating affordable rental housing near transit lines reduces renters’ transportation costs. Businesses benefit from having potential customers living above it, as well as foot traffic generated from the trains,” said CHFA President and Executive Director Eric Chatman.

Commenting on the project Mayor Rochette said, “I am delighted that CIL’s subsidiary Depot Crossing, Inc. closed on the purchase of Depot Crossing. We can now look forward to the resumption of work to complete this prominent local project. Depot Crossing will be Berlin’s first new mixed use, transit oriented development project being developed in conjunction with the upcoming expanded commuter rail service on the New Haven Springfield line. CIL is a perfect developer for this project.”

“They have completed the Lofts at Sherwood Falls, restoring the character of a landmark local building and repurposing it as attractive residential condominium units,” she said. “CIL has demonstrated a strong commitment to the Berlin community and I am confident that their success at the Lofts at Sherwood Falls will carry over to the Depot Crossing project.”

“The closing also involved collaboration with the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department and the Berlin Land Trust. CIL did a land swap with the Fire Department to give the Department more frontage on Farmington Avenue to allow completion of its 9/11 Memorial Park. Part of the land it acquired from the Fire Department will be donated to the Berlin Land Trust to provide open space along the Mattabassett River in our downtown area. This is truly a win-win-win project,” Rochette said.

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Hopalong Che Si Dice January 27, 2014 at 10:10 PM
Good grief. Nonprofits pay no property taxes, but will require municipal services, increasing our property taxes. And Mayor Rachel Rochette and Economic Development Coordinator Jim Mahoney are taking bows?! Expect your property taxes to continue to increase, my fellow Berlinites.
James January 28, 2014 at 05:43 AM
That eyesore will never look anything like that drawing. First of all it’s not an attractive building at all and is too close to the road. It should have been pushed back with parking there so that colossal mess wouldn’t cast a giant loaming shadow over the road. It looks horrendous there, a bad, location and too big to be there from the start.

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