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  • Doug Smith

The Hartford (formerly Stafford Village) at $3,300/month

The NCR property, The Hartford (formerly Stafford Village), is now open for leasing. I can see the structure from my back yard and have been watching the construction progress over the past three years. The building’s aesthetic is good and the brick areas mimic historic buildings like the Orange Johnson House. The massing (or magnitude) is giant and has changed the character of the neighborhood.

Now that the building is open for lease, I noticed the starting rate is $3,300/month.

During NCR’s public outreach process and board review process in 2019, they placed front and center the idea that this new apartment complex would be a senior-only affordable housing development using some market-rate units to offset/subsidize the cost of the affordable units. They stated in 2019 the market-rate units would be less than $2,000/month and they reneged in 2020 claiming the market-rate units would be approximately $2,400/month.

Now they are starting at $3,300/month. I understand there has been a macro-shift due to inflation, but this seems a bit much.

Regarding the affordable units, NCR set aside 34 of the 99 units to meet income AMI federal formula standards for housing – which works out to be approximately $1,100/month for an affordable unit. Keep in mind these units are meant for low-income seniors, while the average Social Security payment is less than $1,800/month.

My takeaway is this: The developer proposed an affordable housing project exclusively for seniors. They ‘sold’ the community on the idea and demolished two historic homes in the process. Now the four-story apartment complex is built, they are marketing it as a high-end living space at a premium price.

I guess I was hoping for more predictability in the outcome. This project is one of the few development projects I voted “no” on because I could sense during discussions they were going to change their tune after the deal was closed. The consumer economics of this project – as a case study – is interesting to explore and watch in real-time as the leasing office opens on the property. I will write more on this later.

Let me know what you think.


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