Residences dotting Hartford’s business district say they’re virtually full
September 18, 2006
By MATTHEW L. BROWN, Hartford Business Journal Writer
With all the fanfare surrounding the opening of the Hartford 21 luxury apartment tower, and the renaissance of urban living it’s supposed to deliver, it’s easy to think there was previously nowhere for people to live downtown.
Yet Hartford’s downtown is ringed with apartment buildings and condos. And almost all of those projects say they’re fully leased.
The managers of those older downtown apartment buildings also say they expect their buildings to remain fully rented despite the opening of Hartford 21 and other, newer downtown apartment buildings.
The success of apartment buildings like Main Street apartment buildings Adrian’s Tower and 250 Main, their landlords say, is a result of price.
Both buildings have commercial space at street level and apartments above.
Free of the glitter of a building like Hartford 21, apartments at 250 Main rent for between $530 and $946 per month, and $920 for the penthouse, according to property manager Emily Garcia.
“Their penthouse is $6,000,” Garcia said. She’s not worried about people moving out of 250 Main to move to a newer apartment just a few blocks away. “It’s going to be a different type of tenant,” she said.
Jill Niencyzk, property manager with Westside Properties, which manages Adrian’s Tower and five units at Bushnell Tower, said apartments that cost much more than $1,000 a month tend to sit vacant longer than less expensive units.
Balakgie, leasing agent at 250 Main, said the building is full of “business people and professional people.”
“We have doctors doing their residency at Hartford Hospital, we get a lot of students from the University of Hartford, young doctors; doctors like the penthouse.”
Balakgie said many tenants have moved to Hartford with their jobs.
“Job relocations from another state for insurance companies, computer analysts, programmers; they’ve been assigned to Hartford, and this is the most convenient arrangement for them,” she asserted.
Garcia said Hartford 21 could have difficulties marketing to people, perhaps new to Hartford, who rent apartments until they buy a single family home.
“Tenants coming from out of state who want to own their own home are not going to want to pay those prices,” she said. And they’d have a hard time finding an apartment for rent at 250 Main. Garcia said the building boasts a 98-99 percent occupancy rate.
Niencyzk agrees with Garcia.
She said Adrian’s Tower, which has 100 apartments, wouldn’t lose tenants to Hartford 21 or other newer downtown apartment buildings. “It’s a different price range,” she said.
Niencyzk said Adrian’s Tower was fully rented all summer, but it’s “steady at 99 percent” year- round.
Westside Properties is renovating apartments as tenants end their leases. After renovations, rates go up. A one-bedroom apartment there costs $850 each month.
“We have five units at the high rise at Bushnell Tower, and those do sit for longer, for sure, a month or so longer,” Niencyzk said. Westside’s Bushnell Tower apartments rent for between $1,200 and $2,800 per month.
The most expensive apartment at Adrian’s Tower is $995 per month. “That price range, I think that’s comfortable. Anything more and it’s tough. I think families are looking for single-family houses. I think that’s big in Connecticut.”
Niencyzk said the typical Adrian’s Tower tenants are “business people, typically single,” and work in the city.
While Garcia said she doesn’t see newer, bigger, downtown apartment buildings taking tenants from 250 Main, she does expect renting to become more popular.
“Now that interest rates are up, I think everyone wants to rent again,” she said. “Everyone’s been at 98, 99 percent, and I think it’s due to interest rates going up.”
Niencyzk said she hopes the newer downtown apartments will be attractive to renters. “It’ll be tough at first, but I do hope so,” she said. “We can all hope for good fortune for Hartford.”