Developers Offer Partly Prefabricated Housing Complex at Quinnipiac Meadows in New Haven


NEW HAVEN – Developers proposing to standardize affordable housing construction have a plan for a partially prefabricated complex in Quinnipiac Meadows that also calls for a single tax structure.

New York-headquartered Vessel Technologies LLC plans to construct a three-story, 27-unit building at 136 Hemingway St. on 1.3 acres, only a portion of which can be developed due to a floodplain and wetlands, depending on the developer and the city.

The property, seized by the city by foreclosure, has been vacant and out of the tax roll for twenty years.

Ship technologies LLC, owned by CEO Neil Rubler and Executive Vice President Josh Levy, promotes an affordable housing approach as a way to streamline design while maintaining build quality.

The company has proposed a similar project in Stratford that is undergoing planning and zoning review in that city, while another is under construction in Trenton, New Jersey.

The New Haven property is valued at $ 147,400, according to the appraiser’s website.

Livable City Initiative staff member Evan Trachten said his property acquisition and disposition committee approved the sale of the Hemingway plot for $ 40,000.

The developer plans to donate the wetlands to the Land Trust, which owns an adjacent property known as Hemingway Creek, according to the minutes of the July PAD meeting.

The sale will still need to be approved by the Liveable City Initiative board of directors and council of aldermen.

Separately, the tax structure would be submitted to the city’s low-income supportive housing tax abatement committee.

Discussions among the alders focused on LISHTA following more structured rules when it comes to agreements with developers of affordable housing, as the amounts paid have varied.

The ship presented its plans to Alder Rosa Santana, D-13, and Alder Gerald Antunes, D-12. Antunes has approved the sale under the PAD.

“I think it’s a good project,” Santana said.

Alder said he suggested the developer add three-bedroom units and offer them to tenants with lower incomes than proposed, who are tenants earning 80% of the region’s median income.

Santana said she liked the emphasis on energy efficient components.

Vessel offers 24 one-bedroom units and 3 two-bedroom units and a parking ratio of 1-1. The building would be approximately 80 feet wide, 85 feet long and 35 feet high.

The prefabricated unit is a manufactured product, but the developers have said they will use local labor for on-site work – walkways, parking, clearing and grading.

They would also search locally for trades, such as plumbers, HVAC installers, and electricians.

As for property management, Vessel, in its material submitted to alders, said they would train a community member who would become “our local partners and receive the surplus cash from building operations.” The position could be part-time.

They called them the “gatekeepers” but did not give details when asked how the system would work.

Vessel said the building will be made of 100% non-combustible steel and will have energy-efficient appliances, integrated smart home technology and services for hearing and visually impaired tenants.

From the start of construction, which is expected to take place in March 2021, if plans are approved, the project would be completed two months later in May.

The proposed tax structure might be the most unusual feature. They offer taxes based on a percentage of income. This would be 6 percent for the first 10 years, 8 percent for the next 10 years, and 10 percent for the next 10 years.

If the tax arrangement was limited to 17 years, Vessel offered 5% of the income for the 17-year term. In the document submitted to the alders, it is written “income is defined as the money received by the property, without deductions for expenses.

Rubler founded Candlebrook Properties, which manages real estate development in seven states with a $ 2 billion portfolio of properties, according to his Alder Submission.

Levy was Managing Director of Candlebrook Properties and co-founder of its subsidiary, CB-Cubed LLC, which focuses on affordable housing.

The dossier sent to Alders also indicates that Vessel has “rethought the traditional ownership structure of housing and created the very first franchise system for multi-family real estate.”

Asked in an email about the meaning of this system, Rubler said they are still working on the concept.

As to where they hope to build, Rubler said “we are working with partners in states up and down the east coast to accomplish our mission,” but they did not give details.

Members of the East Quinnipiac Community Management Team are expected to influence the development of the proposal due to regular flooding in the area.

Patricia Kane, a resident of the area, said she was concerned about the use of the property. “There is a need to manage the flood waters,” she said.

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