In 2013, Equity Trust Company was looking for a property in downtown Hartford when developer David K. Elwell, IRA came across a flyer for 36 Lewis Street. The proximity to Bushnell Park, Union Station restaurants and entertainment venues made 36 Lewis Street an ideal candidate for rehabilitation. David Elwell and Crosskey Architects collaborated to create a design that would respect the historic character of the building, which was the intent from the project onset. The one-story addition on the south side was removed, and the remaining space was converted to six townhouse apartments consisting of a mix of 4 one-bedroom units, and 2 two-bedroom units. Trusting Crosskey Architects to lead the way, David drew inspiration from the architect’s ideas to help finalize the unit layouts, which included high-end appliance, cabinetry, and flooring. The exterior of the Greek Revival house was restored and the non-historic additions were altered to accommodate the new residential layout.
As with any historic rehabilitation, there are always unknowns. During construction, unforeseen structural repairs needed to be made to the roof structure because of the improper installation of tension rods. In effect, the brick walls began turning outward requiring wood strapping. Unit A needed to be redesigned after interior walls were demolished exposing columns. Original Greek Revival woodwork was retained and integrated with new modern finishes.
The financing Structure for the redevelopment of 36 Lewis Street includes a construction/permanent loan from the Connecticut Region Development Authority and state historic tax credits. The development team is very proud that 36 Lewis Street is no longer the only vacant building on Lewis Street. The occupancy of this building will bring back the sense of community Lewis Street once had. Turning 36 Lewis Street back into residential use was the best decision for the block. Residents can enjoy open space in Bushnell Park, and can choose from many local dining options. 36 Lewis Street is truly one of-a-kind, located in a historic residential, pedestrian neighborhood downtown!
By Nina Caruso, MSHP