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Reclaiming a neighborhood: Hartford’s Vine Street

5.01.2017

Emily Wolfe, deputy director of Sheldon Oak Central, is a true believer. She understands that a community is more than just well-maintained buildings, but must have heart, caring neighbors and gathering places. The work Sheldon Oak has done to revitalize Vine Street in north Hartford demonstrates this belief. It includes a community garden with plots for all who want them, a club room for residents and large grassy areas where kids can play.

“These are majestic buildings, set back, with an impressive scale. We knew we could have a huge positive impact on an entire city block for a reasonable investment. After renovation they leased up immediately with a nice mix of tenants.” - Emily Wolfe

Sheldon Oak was asked to help save this important block at a major intersection. The complex had four abandoned and five blighted buildings, but also had access to a library, shopping and a major cultural institution. After talking to key stakeholders to learn about issues and concerns, Sheldon Oak closed alleys, improved landscaping and lighting, made apartments handicapped accessible on the first floors, and added on-site management.

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Success:

When and where: The apartments at 4-40 Vine Street are directly off Albany Avenue. This main artery in and out of downtown Hartford provides ready access to retail, entertainment and transportation.

What: The nine buildings were constructed between 1920 and 1924 and had become run down before Sheldon Oak renovated them in 2014. They contain 74 affordable rental apartments, with a great mix of tenants. Some apartments are for families, the elderly, or people who were formerly homeless. Some offer handicapped access and some are rented at market rates.

Why and how: LISC provided a predevelopment grant and project investment for a total of $97,000 to jumpstart the development. LISC also provides capacity building grants and ongoing operating support to Sheldon Oak Central.

Who: Funders and investors for this development were Red Stone Equity Partners, Connecticut Department of Housing, Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, City of Hartford, Eversource Energy, Corporation for Supportive Housing, LISC, Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation and TD Bank. We sincerely thank them all for their support of this important effort.

Thanks to the funders who support LISC’s work in Hartford:

Bank of America
Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation
Bissell Foundation
Charles Nelson Robinson Fund
Citizens Bank
City of Hartford Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development
Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA)
CHFA/IOREBTA
Ensworth Charitable Foundation
Farmington Bank
First Niagara Bank
Fisher Foundation
The Fund for Greater Hartford
George and Grace Long Foundation
Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
JP Morgan Chase
People’s United Community Foundation
Prudential
Santander Bank
TD Charitable Foundation
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
Webster Bank