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Blight into Beauty: Stamford’s Marshall Commons

5.30.2017

Ross Burkhardt, executive director of New Neighborhoods, Inc. (NNI) recalls this as one of the first sites he considered for affordable housing, but it required years of complex real estate negotiations. The property owner was not maintaining his buildings and finally agreed to a land swap. There was an unused road the city needed to officially abandon in order to join parcels together. By the time the deal was finally achieved, the subprime mortgage market had collapsed.

“Bank financing was unavailable for the condominiums we had planned and neighborhood residents were upset that the complex would be rental instead. There was a lot of market rate housing being built, and we made a point of ensuring ours was equal in quality. Now everyone benefi ts from our programs like a satellite food bank and street fairs.” Ross Burkhardt

When planning started, the South End of Stamford was a distressed neighborhood targeted for revitalization. Then land purchases for luxury development and corporate expansion began the gentrification process. Many residents had trouble finding aff ordable housing and were struggling to stay near their jobs.

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Charles
Margaret
Lorrie
1/4

Success:

 Lorrie takes in the view at her top floor Marshall Commons apartment
Lorrie takes in the view at her top floor Marshall Commons apartment

Lorrie lived in the neighborhood with her high school-aged daughter, so she was very concerned about having to relocate. She eagerly signed up for Marshall Commons, and is particularly pleased with its free trolley to downtown. “I’ve been in my job for 25 years and work with the public, so I can’t bring a negative attitude to work. Now I really love my top floor apartment with its view of the city at night.”

Overview:

When and where: Marshall Commons is located at 178-220 Ludlow Street in Stamford. It was developed and built by New Neighborhoods, Inc., in 2011, and NNI continues to manage the property.

What: The 50 apartments include one, two and three bedroom options. They are rented to families at or below 60% of the area median income, with some apartments set aside for people with lower household incomes. The complex off ers secure parking, a playground, a lounge/event room, children’s activities and a free trolley service to downtown locations.

How: LISC investments enabled NNI to assemble and hold the multiple properties required during a long negotiation and predevelopment process. LISC also provided a loan guarantee to help secure the construction loan and LISC’s affi liate, the National Equity Fund, syndicated the tax credits. Throughout the process, LISC supported nearly $3 million of investment with technical assistance.

Who: Funding was provided by CHFA, LISC, the National Equity Fund, Citi Community Capital, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the City of Stamford and First County Bank.

Thanks to the funders who support LISC’s work in Connecticut​

Bank of America
Bluenose Fund at FCCF
Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA)
CHFA/IOREBTA
Citi Foundation
Citizens Bank 
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation
Farmington Bank
First Niagara Bank
The Goodnow Fund
HSBC Bank
Liberty Bank
Near & Far Aid Association
Ostuw/Leather Family Fund at FCCF
People’s United Community Foundation
Suhler Family Fund at FCCF
TD Charitable Foundation
The United Illuminating Company
United Way of Western Connecticut
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
Webster Bank
Weisman Fund at FCCF
Wells Fargo