Yesterday, we covered Trenton’s very cool Trenton Ferry development. Today, it’s Hartford’s Hollander Center, a LEED-EB candidate that recently broke out the first green roof in Connecticut’s capital city. Don’t worry, this is still gbNYC, not gbTheCapitalCitiesOfOtherAdjacentStates, but when good green news happens in other cities, it’s still worthy of mention. Especially when, as in the case of the Hollander Center, the project in question could represent a real step forward in a city that could use a boost. Hartford, like Trenton, is a moderately faded metropolis that already has the jobs, transit options, infrastructure and building stock in place for a green reinvention. So while the Hollander’s green roof is lovely, the possibility this project represents — a sustainable revival in the heart of Hartford’s seen-better-days downtown — is even more exciting.
The Hollander is the first LEED-certified residential building in Connecticut and has the aforementioned lovely green roof (and well-documented here, in Common Ground NYC’s Flickr feed), but its status as the first affordable housing development in Hartford’s downtown seems as notable as its many green design elements. Hartford already has its share of green buildings — from ultra-green duplexes in the Swift Village neighborhood to Pelli Clarke Pelli’s striking LEED Silver Connecticut Science Center on the waterfront — but a vibrant city center is one vital sustainable element the city still lacks. The former Capitol Building (not to be confused with Hartford’s actual State Capitol) was donated by owners Ruth B. and Milton Hollander to the New York City-based affordable housing developer Common Ground after sitting vacant for years, and seems like a notably praiseworthy step in the direction of making Hartford’s downtown viable again. With 13,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 70 mixed-income apartments (56 are designated for affordable housing, 14 will rent at market rates), the Hollander should certainly increase what Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez termed “feet on the street” and could provide a landmark of progress downtown.
Oh, and it also has a ton of neat green features. We mentioned the green roof (and we keep mentioning it because we love green roofs), and The Hollander also has high-performance windows, high-efficiency HVAC systems and low-flow fixtures, as well as a host of other sustainable amenities detailed in this post at the invaluable BuildingCTGreen blog. We hope to have more good news to report from Connecticut in the future. We’ll need it, if we’re ever going to get that gbTheCapitalCitiesOfOtherAdjacentStates site off the ground. Luckily, the domain name is still available.