The Great New Haven Apartment Boom

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College and Crown

Psst. Hey, buddy. You need an apartment?

How about something downtown? Perhaps something “luxurious”?

Great. Cause we have thousands of ’em. Or rather, we’re about to. Welcome to The Great New Haven Apartment Boom!

Oh, I’m sorry, were you looking for something affordable that isn’t a neighborhood that looks like where Eminem grew up in 8 Mile? Sorry, none of those.

But don’t look now, but apparently New Haven is a hot ticket in apartment development. You can’t throw a rock without it hitting a new six-story luxury apartment complex nobody you know can afford. How is this even possible? Who the hell is going to be able to afford all these apartments?!

You know who needs apartments? Everyone.

New Haven has the lowest vacancy rate in the United States at 2.0%, according to Reis.com. That probably seems crazy to you. That’s because it is crazy.

Crazy Eyes
The typical reaction to hearing that New Haven has the lowest vacancy rate in the U.S.

We can speculate wildly about why New Haven is suddenly so popular (I assume people just want to be closer to me?), but the fact is, there aren’t enough apartments for all the human beings who need places to live.

Let’s just recap all of the recently build or soon to be built apartments in New Haven:

Finished/Leasing

  • 360 State Street: The original and highest reaching of the apartment buildings. It has an outdoor pool, gym, incredible views, and a surprisingly robust security system to keep people like me out. Studios go from $1638 to the eye-popping 3BR penthouses for over $3600.
  • Novella: On Howe and Chapel. Studios from $1400 to 2BR for a whopping $3200. Fancy amenities like a lounge, small movie theater, and rooftop pool table/bar area. Hood Adjacent. Hope you like Rudy’s!
  • College and Crown: On, well, you know. “Junior” 1 bedrooms (hope you don’t need to fit a bed!) starting at $1540 to 2BR for $3250. They also apparently have a suite for $5000 if you just have too much money. Also has a lounge and a private yoga studio. Wink wink?
  • Winchester Lofts: Winchester Ave in Science Park. Studios starting at $1210 with 2BR going up to $2299. How long is gentrification going to take? Hopefully not long if you’re living here.

Novella New Haven

Future Apartments

  • The Union: Sitting on Elm and Church, this is a prime location. They say they’ll have a roof top lounge which sounds pretty awesome and/or incredibly expensive. I’m terrified to know how much. The glowing dome is a nice touch for attracting alien landings.
  • LiveWorkLearnPlay: The Great Grandaddy of Them All. Will be built on the former New Haven Coliseum lot. Infinitely delayed due toe a variety of reasons involving the Downtown Crossing project. The construction concerns are pretty serious. They need to redo the entire Route 34 area. But it looks awesome and will probably only cost you no more than one major limb. The Montreal-based developer has done some great stuff so I’m optimistic this won’t suck. Having another hotel would be brilliant.
  • Metro 301: Still in the planning stages, these will sit on George St. behind bar. I assume by then they’ll have removed the torso. They intend to build “mews,” which are apparently these adorable things. (Yes, I had to Google it.) The mock ups are a bit plan but I’m sure they’ll still take your entire paycheck willingly. It’s replacing a parking lot so hard to be too pissed off about the aesthetics.
  • Metro 280/291: I guess this is the same company? I can’t keep track of all of their apartments. These are the new ones above Bar that’ll replace that crappy garage with the weird neon lights. No idea what market rate will be. My guess is: high?

Who can afford these places?

My guess? Doctors. All. The. Doctors.

Smiling doctors
Not pictured: The neglected family in their luxury apartment.

Yale probably has a few employees who can, though I don’t count myself among them.

Alexion probably has a bunch of chemical engineers who can afford this sort of thing. And probably sales people. And they’re probably all really good looking, if you’re looking for another reason to dislike them.

Mad Scientist
What I assume a chemical engineer looks like.

The good news is that all of these super expensive luxury apartments are going to make the current luxury apartments look like crap! And you know what happens then? Rents go down!

For instance, I live in an apartment building owned by one of the (many) evil management companies in New Haven, and I’m sure at some point, they were the most luxurious things around (well, probably not). Now? They’re just pretty nice. Not quite affordable, but also cheaper than any 1BR apartment listed above.

So maybe, just maybe, a few more of those apartments become slightly more affordable. We hope?

The Future is Bright and Shiny and Expensive

It’s hard to deny that New Haven’s real estate future seems bright. Is it too bright? Are we, perhaps, heading for a bubble?

Time will tell. I can’t imagine there’s that many people who will fill these apartments, but with the nation’s lowest vacancy rate, I don’t blame ’em for trying.

Now, if only they could figure out a way to destroy Church St South without committing political suicide and replace it with something fancy next to the train station, I think Toni Harp would be popping open the champagne.

Church St South
Seriously, how long do you have?

The families left behind in this process of gentrification?

Well, that’s an article for another day.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. While this article is quite good, it actually understates the extent of the boom. There are several smaller downtown projects that have been built or are in the pipeline, including an 18-unit building across from Gateway College. Outside of downtown, a 230-unit development is under construction in East Rock and two large developments have been approved in Wooster Square, just across the tracks from downtown. PMC, one of the management companies referred to in the article, is challenging the latter projects in court for reasons that have nothing to do with its nearby properties. There is also a large proposed development in the Hill.

  2. really awful that people get kicked out of apartments that look completely fine, those old-style projects are unique to me, they sometimes have unique floors, sunken living rooms and balconies obviously. and where will they end up, probably some in the places you described.

  3. I almost felt bad about all the vague insults directed towards me and my boyfriend for moving into the Novella until I learned that it was built on an empty parking lot that used to be a hotspot for prostitution and drug dealing. Now I feel awesome about my rooftop lounge!

    • It’s not the best neighborhood in New Haven but it’s not too bad, either. It’s definitely improving and I think it will continue to improve as Yale and other businesses invest in the area.

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