-Transforming vacant lots into 69 affordable and environmentally progressive units in one of the largest and oldest African American communities in Connecticut.
(August 11, 2022) New Haven, Connecticut – Beulah Land Development Corporation, national housing nonprofit HELP USA, and mass timber developer Spiritos Properties gathered today with dignitaries, officials, and residents from surrounding neighborhoods for the ceremonial groundbreaking on a new housing development that will transform the prominent intersection at Dixwell and Orchard Streets in New Haven into quality, affordable homes. When construction is completed in the Spring of 2023, the four-story building will comprise 69 units; 55 will be for low-to-moderate income families, 20 which will be reserved for those experiencing homelessness.
Speakers at the event included Connecticut Housing Finance Authority Executive Director Nandini Natarajan who touted the public-private partnership as a “Changemaking project for this neighborhood.”
Nandini was joined at the podium by New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker who spoke eloquently about the perseverance and commitment of the Brooks family, led by Bishop Brooks who is the founder of Beulah Land Development Corporation. Elicker stated, “The key special sauce to a successful project is someone with a vision and the foot soldiers to make it happen,” referring to Bishop Brooks and his sons, Darrell and Harold, all in attendance.
Remarks were added by Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner Selia Mosquera, a one-time resident of this Dixwell neighborhood, Steven Maasbach, former Chairman of Beulah Land Development Corp., and David Cleghorn, HELP USA Chief Housing Officer.
“Dixwell is one of Connecticut’s largest and oldest African American neighborhoods. These new homes will be a cornerstone to our revitalization of this area and stand as a testament to our principles of investing and reinvesting in projects that cultivate Black generational sustainable wealth,” said Darrell Brooks, Chief Operating Officer at Beulah Land Development Corporation. “At Beulah, we keep the values of the community at the forefront and are committed to opening doors to homeownership, creating job opportunities, and fostering economic development. This project does all of that.”
The event concluded with a quip from Darrell Brooks, “Mr. Mayor…David and I need some more property” referencing Cleghorn and future affordable housing projects that can continue to revitalize this neighborhood.
The project is the culmination of years of planning with the support of the City of New Haven and the State of Connecticut. Once completed, the mix-used complex will offer much-needed quality housing at deeply affordable rates and street-level retail space to anchor economic development.
The mixed-use complex will integrate Mass Timber structural systems, speeding construction, improving longevity, reducing waste, and offering overall energy efficiency. Mass Timber construction is a process that eschews traditional concrete and steel in favor of cross-laminated wood. Walls and floors are pre-fabricated from layers of wood in a factory and then shipped to the site. These panels provide the structural component of the building as well as the interior finishes.
The project will employ Passive House design principles, achieving thermal comfort to a maximum extent through measures such as insulation, heat recovery, and the use of internal heat sources. It will incorporate natural materials throughout the building interior, reduce its embodied and operational carbon footprint, and serve as a model to broaden the social, health, and economic potential of affordable housing construction. This development is Zero Energy Building (ZEB) ready and will significantly reduce its primary energy usage.
Funding partners for this project include TD Bank, National Equity Fund, Community Preservation Corporation, Connecticut Department of Housing, Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, City of New Haven (Livable Cities Initiative, LCI), and Department of Economic and Community Development.
The project development team includes Beulah Land Development Corp, HELP USA, Spiritos Properties, Schadler Selnau Associates, Gray Organschi Architecture, and LaRosa Building Group, LLC.
About Beulah Land Development Corporation
Established in 1994, Beulah Land Development Corporation is a Faith-Based nonprofit organization created to develop affordable housing for low-to-moderate-income individuals in the city of New Haven. To learn more, visit us at www.beulahlanddevcorp.org.
About HELP USA
HELP USA is one of the nation’s largest homeless service providers and low-income housing developers serving at-risk populations, including families, veterans, and victims of domestic violence. HELP USA currently serves more than 8,000 people every day at over 50 programs and residences across five states. Since its founding in 1986, HELP USA has served more than 500,000 men, women, and children and developed more than 2,500 units of housing. www.helpusa.org