New plans for the old Winchester factory


PDA






ZeSpectre
March 6, 2008, 11:55 AM
My BIL just did a walkthrough of the old Winchester factory. He's sending me some miscl. "crap" he found laying around while he inspected the buildings. When I get the "crap" I'll photograph anything interesting and post it.


New uses eyed for Winchester site (http://www.individual.com/story.php?story=78239620)
Mary E. O'Leary
NEW HAVEN, Feb 22, 2008 (New Haven Register - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --

Winchester Repeating Arms, the shuttered gun manufacturer that was a long time economic engine for the city, is being imagined as a residentialretail model that will bring together Yale University, downtown and the Dixwell-Newhillville neighborhoods.

Excited professionals from Forest City Enterprises in Cleveland Thursday declared most of the 17 structures on the site bound by Winchester, Munson and Mansfield streets to have "good bones" for conversion to a new use that will complement the university's expansion and commerical growth at Science Park.

The Science Park Development Corp. picked Forest City as the preferred developer with the necessary "deep pockets," staying power and expertise to deal with the environmental concerns to bring the 750,000-square-foot site back to life.

Abe Naparstek, director of development for Forest City, whose headquarters is in Cleveland, told residents at the Dixwell Enterprise/Community Management Team meeting, that "these kinds of project are not for the faint of heart," but his company has successfully converted others in worse condition.

They came to ask for input from the residents and will attend the Newhallville Management Team meeting Feb. 26 to continue the dialogue.

Naparstek said they expect to invest close to $100 million if their market, environmental and community studies show it is a viable project. He said their business model is to stay and manage their projects after they are built.

Lisa Hopkins of the management team told the developers that there is a lot of subsidized housing for the poor in New Haven.

"It's the middle class that is being priced out and left out in the cold," Hopkins said, asking that they consider a price range to include this demographic group.

Bryan Oos, development manager, estimated a conversion was possible within 2 1/2 to 3 years if everything falls into place. Literally built to withstand an explosion, the facade, masonry, load bearing floors and mortar were declared by Oos to be "in beautiful shape."

The site, which is expected to contain PCBs and a laundry list of other contaminents, was not a detriment to the developers, particularly as the previous owners, Olin and U.S. Repeating Arms, are on the hook to clean up the site to a commercial standard. Forest City would invest funds to bring the site to residential use standards.

A member of the development team, Douglas Arsham, said Forest City can handle anything "short of nuclear waste. We like projects with hair on them, and this project has a lot of hair on it."

They plan to apply for federal historic tax credits, as well as work to incorporate sustainable elements, although this sometimes conflicts with the historic requirements.

Forest City will bring back its project within six months to the Science Park Development Corp., at which point they hope to have a deal for the development.

The conversion to residential use comes at the same time that Carter Winstanley has bought a biotech incubator building across the street at Science Park, where Yale will also locate some administrative offices.

Next up, is a plan for a parking garage by Winstanley on a nearby site, according to Lisa Grossman of Capstan, a consultant to Science Park.

If you enjoyed reading about "New plans for the old Winchester factory" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
RoadkingLarry
March 6, 2008, 12:02 PM
Thats a real shame.

Zoogster
March 6, 2008, 12:53 PM
The language in this report is so managed as to promote the project that it is easy to miss what they are saying.

have "good bones" for conversion
Interesting way to put it when you take over a part of a town in order to convert it into something new. Both up beat and just business as usual theme. So the old area and buildings have good bones, that should make development cheap, especialy since they will be built out of better materials than many modern buildings.

Lisa Hopkins of the management team told the developers that there is a lot of subsidized housing for the poor in New Haven.

"It's the middle class that is being priced out and left out in the cold," Hopkins said, asking that they consider a price range to include this demographic group.
This appears to be one of the sneakiest lines in there, meant to be appealing to the largest number of people. So they are making a housing project, for business purposes, but the market audience is the "middle class" which just so happens to be the widest demographic in the nation.
This appears to be saying they want the support they get for making a housing project for the poor, but they want to do whatever they want with the place and market it to the widest customer base afterwards.

Literally built to withstand an explosion, the facade, masonry, load bearing floors and mortar were declared by Oos to be "in beautiful shape." Sounds like a great find.

previous owners, Olin and U.S. Repeating Arms, are on the hook to clean up the site to a commercial standard. Excellent find, not just a great building, but the previous owners have to do much of the expensive work.

A member of the development team, Douglas Arsham, said Forest City can handle anything "short of nuclear waste. We like projects with hair on them, and this project has a lot of hair on it."
So the prior owners are "on the hook" to clean it up, yet you are taking the credit for it being cleaned up? Taking credit for other people's work, and making them pay for it financialy, and then taking credit for the end result sounds like common practice the way they put it.
That is not to say they don't play a role, just that they seem to be a bit too ready to assume all credit like it is all coming out of thier pocket and they are doing the community a service.
Essentialy they can just take over some old places, force the old occupants to pay for much of the work to "bring it up to standard", make some minor improvements themselves and then make a profit using it or selling it for new purposes.

They make it sound like a big job to clean up, like they will be doing a lot of work, and at the same time explain they won't have to pay for or be responsible for very much of that work because the old owners are "on the hook" for it.

They plan to apply for federal historic tax credits, as well as work to incorporate sustainable elements, although this sometimes conflicts with the historic requirements. So they want to use even more tax dollars by qualifying for tax breaks to "preserve this historical site", even though it is not being preserved, but is in fact being converted into a housing project, and never intended to be used for the very historical purpose for which it exists. Or to even be reminiscent of that purpose.

I can hear the media coverage now.
Any criminal problems, especialy gun related at this housing project can be mentioned in context with it being a gun factory in the past.
The evil gun spirits will be a part of it all of course.



So out of this article I get that they want to make a housing project. They want the support and tax breaks for making a housing project, and to be commended for doing a great thing in the same way as if they were making new homes for the poor, but they want to then be allowed to charge the going rate for them (because they are for the middle class of course :rolleyes: .)
They also want to qualify for additional tax exemptions by saying it has historical value and that the historical value is being preserved.
Does any of this seem at least partialy dishonest?

It will at least probably be one of the most well built and structuraly solid apartment complexes around. At least the building itself. Who knows the quality of the dividing walls, services or appliances added by the the developer.

ColinthePilot
March 6, 2008, 01:05 PM
This sounds cool. I worked near a similar project in Baltimore a few years ago. Some big old abandoned factory was converted to nice apartments and studios. It was probably one of the most interesting pools I ever cleaned.

ZeSpectre
March 6, 2008, 01:18 PM
Zoogster
All I know (from what the BIL said) is that local folks are happy because right now the plant is a GIGANTIC chancre on the community. Ugly, falling apart, frequently a site of squatters, drug parties, etc. and full of all kinds of "wonderful" hazardous materials that the locals would -really- like to see cleaned up because various elements squat in or troop through that place and spread contaminants around.

As for who's responsible for what vs taking credit. From the photos I've seen it looks like Olin has a lot of work to do for the contamination, but then that development company is going to have a lot more work to do to raise it from a commercial/industrial standard to one acceptable for housing.

As I understand it, someone comes in and does something now, or eventually the whole thing would decay to the point of requiring demolition (with even more expense).

But more on topic for THR, my real point was I may have some neat stuff to post online soon :) And even more cool, some lucky folks may get a chance to live INSIDE that piece of history (and I think that's pretty darn neat).

Zoogster
March 6, 2008, 01:31 PM
That is great, I did not mean for the post to seem so negative of the project. I imagine the community will be quite happy to fix up an abandoned place, and even put it to good use.

Most communities wants to get rid of the local teenager, or other seedy individual handgout used for recreation or parties outside the watchful eye of the community. It is a free place outside of the eye of authority which individuals can use to do things they otherwise would not be able to afford to or in some cases legaly do. By cleaning it up, and then pricing the new creation out of reach of undesirables it can essentialy remove that from the neighborhood.
A great thing as a community. Probably not so favored by the local kids who cant go party there anymore and now will need to find a new place for thier unsupervised freedom.

That they can also make a profit, and provide for a use of an existing building rather than being forced to destroy it and start from scratch is just icing on the cake.

I just thought the way it was presented seemed underhanded.
What they are doing is just normal business, making smart profitable business decisions, and gaining the support of the local community.

Making it sound like they were doing the community a favor in more ways than one without knowing how the community viewed the area, and also trying to secure financial privilidges not in context with its intended use is what threw me off.

If you enjoyed reading about "New plans for the old Winchester factory" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!