Aquinas Project Heads to State

By at June 8, 2017 | 2:30 pm | Print

aquinas-update

Chrysalis Center Real Estate Corporation applied for $6.5 million of Champ 11 Funding on Monday, if approved would start the process for apartments to be built at the former Aquinas High School on Kelsey St.

Maryellen Shuckerow, the chief development officer at Chrysalis Center Real Estate Corporation, said the group put a package together in four months.

Chrysalis has not bought the building, but once funding is complete, will purchase the building from the City for $80,000.

Chrysalis is a non-profit developer. Funding pays for the project. There are tax credits so there’s no big mortgages to pay off. Money taken in goes to operating reserve to replace and repair anything in the building and the 2.2 acres.

The Smith School building was built in 1925. Aquinas came into being 1959 and added additions and a convent.

Four variances are being applied for in the funding. Environmental studies were completed and a historic tax credits have been applied for by the group.

“We are also moving forward for federal historic tax designation,” said Shuckerow during a meeting with the East Side NRZ last week. “It is tapping out to be about a $15 million project.”

It will take until Dec. or Jan. to hear if Chrysalis was approved by the State this round for the Champ 11 funding.

If it is funded, the process of closing will start and that takes 4-6 months. If not funded, it will be submitted again for Champ 12 in Dec.

“This will happen because we already outlaid a lot of money to get go this point,” said Shuckerow. “We are very comfortable and confident. We are not new at this game.”

The project will have 35 units of affordable housing. Some are efficiencies. Most are 1-2 bedrooms. Some are 3 bedrooms. There are 6 units for the homeless families.

The gym is 11,800 square feet and will stay as it is. It is a historical piece from 1955-67. It was the first co-ed Catholic school in the state and was sponsored by St. Maurice Parish.

The gym has a stage and it will become a wellness center that will have yoga and meditation.

“There are significant environmental issues in this building. I believe there are 5 underground tanks that will be removed. They were fuel oil tanks,” said Shuckerow. “There has not been a lot of leakage that would affect the neighbors. Until I get clean soil, it will be removed.”

There is also asbestos and the roof is falling. It will be gutted. There is also lead paint in the soil.

“We will do everything energy efficient. Including solar panels, outside lighting, heating, cooling and water heaters,” said Shuckerow. “An engineer will look at that and study the building.”

The altar is intact and will remain. It will be a meditation room. There will be laundry in the facility. There will be 37 parking spaces in 2 lots.

The official entrance will be in the alcove of the school where students gathered in the green space. There will also be a back entrance with key fobs by residents.

Shuckerow said nothing will happen until funding is approved and then there will be a groundbreaking ceremony.

Once a shovel is in the ground, the project will open in 12 to 15 months.

“We are pretty tight on that,” said Shuckerow.

For more information on the company go to www.chrysaliscenterct.org.

.News Feature

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