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New Britain to rehab deserted building on Main Street

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Courtesy of New Britain Municipal Economic Development Agency

NEW BRITAIN–A blight on the city of New Britain will be no more.

Mayor Erin Stewart announced plans for a Hartford developer to buy the Berkowitz building, a four-story building on Main Street that has been vacant for years. The plan is to turn the building and its surroundings into a development complex with retail and housing units. A new building will also be built next to the Berkowitz building, and a third structure may be added on Beaver Street later on.

“Communities around the country have seen how mixed-use developments can provide a boost to underdeveloped areas,” Mayor Erin Stewart said of the project.

The city purchased the 24,552-square-foot building, located at 608 Main St. in 2012 for $22,000. It had been isssued several building code violations under Mayor Tim O’Brien’s blight ordinence, leaving it in disrepair, according tot he city’s Municipal Economic Development Agency.

The city’s Common Council is expected to transfer ownership of three plots of land surrounding the complex to Douglas Bromfield of Capital Restoration Inc. for $130,000. If the resolution passes the council on February 25, which is expected, then it would authorize the mayor to enter the purchase and sales agreements with Bromfield.

The agreement for the purchase and sale would include a provision requiring that the building be rehabilitated within two years of the finalization of the transfer of ownership. Bromfield says he intends to keep the property, not flip it after it is finished. Construction is due to begin this year.

“This redevelopment will turn a building that has been an eyesore in our community for decades into a vibrant retail and residential area that will foster new economic development in our city,” Stewart said. “This project, combined with the plans to bring new life to the Main Street overpass bridge and the opening of CTfastrak, will create a hub of smart, pedestrian-friendly developments that attracts more visitors and dollars to our sidewalks and storefronts. Additionally, it will bring new tax revenue to our city.”