Old Town Hall Homes: Relocation complete; Demolition preparations to begin early next week
All 20 former senior residents of the Old Town Hall Homes development have been relocated. Demolition preparations are expected to begin the first week of January, according to Darien Housing Authority Chairman Joe Warren.
“We are about two months ahead of schedule,” Warren said.
The Darien Housing Authority (DHA) owns and operates Old Town Hall Homes, a senior affordable housing complex at 719 Post Road.
The current complex of six buildings and 30 apartments will be demolished and replaced with a new stand-alone building with 55 units.
In addition to adding 25 more one-bedroom units, all of the apartments in the new building will be considerably larger than the current studio and one-bedroom units.
Other upgrades will include indoor access to mail and shared community spaces. In addition, second floor apartments will be accessible by both outdoor and indoor stairways, and there will be elevators and handicap-accessible entrances.
Plans for the redevelopment were approved by the town’s Planning & Zoning Commission in 2016. After extended delays, the project was approved by the State Department of Housing and cleared for funding in May 2018.
The total project cost is estimated at $22 million, with the majority of the funding being provided by state grants and private equity investments.
The Housing Authority recently voted to approve a resolution to issue up to $12 million in bonds to help with the financing of the complex.
According to Warren, the Housing Authority needs to sell bonds as part of the funding for the project.
The public hearing to issue the bonds is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 22 at Town Hall. The exact date and time will be determined within the coming weeks and announced on the town website.
The majority of the prior residents of the complex have remained in town, according to Warren.
Four were relocated to Stamford and two to Norwalk. Two others went to live with family in Maine and Rhode Island.
All the tenants of the development “are happy with their new location,” he said.
Expected construction of the project will take about 18 months, “so we are looking in the middle of 2020 (for its completion),” Warren said.
He added that, as with all construction projects, there is always the possibility that something unforeseen can happen.
“We have built contingencies both into the funding and into the timing of this project,” he said.
The biggest impact the redevelopment will have on the town, according to Warren, is its capability to accommodate more people.
“We have a waiting list of seniors who want to get into senior housing because the current facilities were only big enough to house 23 residents,” Warren said. “Now, more elderly people will be able to stay in Darien.”