Old Town Hall Houses gets verbal OK
DARIEN — The town’s Housing Authority has received verbal approval from the state regarding funding for the redevelopment of the Old Town Hall Houses on 719 Post Road, an affordable housing community for seniors.
“This is a huge step,” Darien Housing Authority Chairman Joseph Warren said. “Up to this point we have been told it would be considered, and now (the project has) been approved, so that’s a big step forward.”
Warren said Todd McClutchy, a representative from the JHM Group, a real estate developer and property management company that has partnered with the Housing Authority, had received “verbal confirmation” from the state regarding the funding of the redevelopment of the Old Town Hall Houses.
Though hard numbers are yet to be finalized, the cost of the redevelopment project is estimated at $22 million. The Houses would be razed and a three-story building with 53 units and elevators would be constructed in its place.
“Public funding is the first thing that comes in, and once that is secured, then we can go to private funding sources,” Warren said.
McClutchy did not respond to requests for comment sent via email through a JHM representative.
Warren said although the Housing Authority was still waiting for the written confirmation from the state on when the funding would be available and other information, this latest update was a significant development.
Senior citizens who are residing at the complex would be given a six-month period for relocation efforts once the logistical planning for demolition and construction of the new building is established.
“I don’t want to minimize the disruption for the tenants. I understand their angst and we’ll do everything we can,” Warren said. “We will use information from the state to make a timeline and a calendar we can publish.”
Some residents have voiced their discontent at the thought of moving and living in a different place, a phase that could take 12 to 18 months once construction begins.
Allen Delaney, president of the Old Town Hall Houses Association and a 10-year resident at the property, expressed concern for the relocation of the 21 residents.
“I’m one of the younger ones here,” Delaney said. “For five years we have been put in a holding pattern (with the process of the redevelopment of the Houses).”
A resident who did not want to be identified said she was worried about where residents would be relocated once a timeline has been set.
“It’s going to be much harder for people who are older to move,” the resident said.
Delaney described Imagineers, a Connecticut-based housing services company that manages the Old Town Hall Houses, as inept.
“They shouldn’t be allowed as the management company,” Delaney said. “They have one guy for maintenance of our complex, and it’s difficult to get through the office here.”
A representative from Imagineers was not available for comment.
Warren said the Housing Authority would release more information as it became available.
“I’m very encouraged with the verbal confirmation. We’re moving and not stuck on the dime anymore; this has been in the works for a long time,” Warren said.