Developers at the Farmington firm Metro Realty Group have a plan to meet a perceived market demand for high-end apartments in town. To that end, partners Geoffrey W. Sager and Peter R. Dunn have proposed 120 luxury apartments on a 29.2 acre site shared with the Hampton Inn Suites on the Colt Highway.
The 120 one and two-bedroom units would be split among six, three-story buildings, with a community clubhouse, pool area and playground in the center. The site would have a 24-hour fitness center with flat-screen TVs on the equipment, an area for parties and outside barbecue pits.
Each unit would have a deck, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, hardwood floors, walk-in closets and tile baths. One-bedroom units would be about 1,000 square feet and two-bedrooms 1,500 square feet. Rental fees would be about $1,760 and $2,150 for one and two-bedroom units, respectively.
“The product is something new to us. It’s a challenge,” Dunn said in presenting the development proposal to the Town Plan and Zoning Commission Tuesday. And though the trend is established in Boston and New York, he said, it’s also new to the Hartford area, with just one similar development in Bloomfield.
Recent trends in the job market, including frequent transfers, and a stagnant housing market are factors Dunn said would push prospective tenants into high-end apartments.
Jackson Laboratory employees would be members of the target market, along with the professionals from other local companies and older adults selling their homes.
“Farmington is the only town in Connecticut where more people work here than live here,” Sager said.
And while it's still a relatively small town, several national companies maintain large offices and national headquarters here, including Trumpf, UTC with Otis and Carrier, Sager said. A planned expansion at the UConn Health Center and the addition of Jackson Laboratories are also expected to bring hundreds more workers to Farmington.
“As a result, our town is competing with major markets to retain companies and attract new ones,” Sager said. In turn, “they’re competing with other companies to attract employees.”
Farmington lacks the type of housing that would attract those young professionals and help local companies retain top employees, he argued. Hence the need for the Colt Highway Apartments, which he said would support economic development in the town.
“We can support the effort of corporate citizens we can help bring best and brightest to Farmington,” Sager said.
Economist Don Klepper-Smith did a fiscal impact study of the plan, concluding that a maximum of 203 residents would be added to town, and just eight children, as a result of the development.
But residents of the nearby Chimney Hill development are afraid the apartments will also bring noise and traffic. Dozens of residents of the neighborhood packed the zoning commission meeting, speaking against the project and presenting a petition, signed by about 40 people, asking the commission to deny the application.
Daniel Roy, whose home is closest to the proposed development, said allowing “the behemoth industrial mill-type buildings” would also impact water pressure to the Chimney Hill homes and decrease property values.
“Most residents of Hearthstone Lane would have a direct view of those huge four-story barnlike structures,” Roy said. “Several of the apartment buildings would be clearly visible from our community … it would disturb the peace and serenity we now enjoy in our community.”
Sager, in concluding, asked the commission to consider Metro Realty Group’s history.
“We live in town and the benefit the town derives from us being local is that we’ve demonstrated that we’re eager to invest and reinvest in the town. Our investments are for the long term,” Sager said.
The pair has completed dozens of prominent developments in town, including The Village at Hunter’s Ridge, O’Meara Farm and Ridge and new medical buildings along South Road and Farmington Avenue near the UConn Health Center.