New Britain City Journal

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Aquinas Project To Re-Apply This Spring


State Champ 11 funding of $6.5 million for the Chrysalis Center Real Estate Corporation to start the process of building apartments at the former Aquinas High School on Kelsey St. was not approved this session. Officials say the group will re-apply in the Spring.

“We knew that they would not get the first round of funding. The State will come back and give them comments on what they liked and didn’t in the application,” said Mayor Erin E. Stewart. “The next round of Champ Funding usually becomes available in the Spring.”

The group will spend three months redesigning their application and plans.

“A lot of that work has to do with the historic preservation commission,” added Stewart.

Last round, Maryellen Shuckerow, the chief development officer at Chrysalis Center Real Estate Corporation, said the group put a package together in four months. Chrysalis is looking to buy the building from the City for $80,000 once it receives funding.

On Tuesday, Shuckerow told the City Journal, “We are working with our team right now to get tighter construction costs to re-submit in the next State round of funding in June, we remain committed to developing the property.”

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.

Once funded, the process of closing will start and that takes 4-6 months.

According to the last known plan, 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 is also asbestos and the roof is falling. It will be gutted. There is also lead paint in the soil.

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.

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

For more information on the company go to