New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

Feature News

Tentative Developer Named for Berkowitz Building

By Robin Vinci

EDITOR

A firm calling itself Albemarle Berkowitz, LLC is proposing to develop the site known as the Berkowitz Building at 608, 634, 666, 676, 686 Main St. and 49 and 53 Beaver St.

The City did not give names of exactly who is in the LLC or who it represents.

A resolution before the Common Council said the firm has past experience in construction, rehabilitating buildings, historic renovation and improving the appearance and condition of residential and commercial property.

“It’s lovely to see this process moving forward,” said Alderman Michael Trueworthy. “It’s a rehab planning and we are excited to see this building back on the tax roles and look presentable again.”

The resolution says that the firm is looking to develop the site into street level retail and 31 residential housing with apartments. The building is presently boarded up and considered blighted.

“This is a long time coming and I look forward to discussion in committee,” said Alderman Carlo Carlozzi. “The Berkowitz has been vacant for more over a decade. I think at the end of the day if we are able to restore that building with retail on the lower level and residential units on the top it will be a great connection for the end of Broad St. and the upper end of Main St.”

Albemarle Berkowitz will agree to a clause that the property will automatically revert back to the City if it does not obtain a certificate of occupancy in 18 months. The firm will provide the City will monthly reports on its performance and progress including conceptual designs, site plans and financing.

The developer was given a 120 day tentative due diligence period and two 30 day extensions. At this time the City can terminate the contract.

In 2011 the City purchased the building for $22,000 from Bainbridge Street Realty of Staten Island, N.Y. City officials said the city was able to purchase the property for such a low amount because the fines on the property exceeded the value of the property.

The plan was referred to the planning, zoning and housing where further discussion will take place. There will be a public hearing, but no date has been set.