As New Haven’s economy has improved in recent years and as the city center has attracted more residents, New Haven has come up short on housing stock, achieving a vacancy rate among the lowest in the country and, subsequently, elevated rents in a growing area around downtown. We believe it is critical for new affordable and attainable housing developments to not only provide economically viable alternatives to an increasingly inaccessible residential rental market, but to create safe, beautiful, and healthy dwellings that are integrated into the local community.
Traditionally, affordable housing developments require significant financial investments to create durable and attractive projects, often balancing the cost of conventional structural materials and construction labor with the desire for convivial, well-designed buildings. Mass timber structural assemblies offer an innovative, sustainable, and cost-effective strategy to produce beautiful, durable buildings that benefit both the inhabitants, the neighborhood, and the regional economy.
Teaming up with architects Schadler Selnau Associates and local affordable housing and community development nonprofit Beulah Land Development Corporation, our objective in this project is to improve a large vacant site on a prominent intersection in New Haven's Dixwell neighborhood by bringing the property to its highest and best use as approximately 70 units of affordable housing and ground-floor commercial space. The project is funded partially by a US Forest Service Wood Innovation Grant, for its proposal to build affordable housing with mass timber structural systems. By using mass timber, we will promote environmental health of the planet, long-term health benefits for residents, and the resilience of local communities.
The construction of a mass timber building at this scale in one of New Haven's economically disadvantaged neighborhoods will facilitate training for the local workforce in these emerging material systems and methods, promoting new job opportunities and marketable technological expertise. It will create a new and replicable system for the delivery and construction of distinctive, quality housing, catalyzing local product manufacturing in the renewable construction sector to meet the building demands of an urbanizing population in need of affordable, healthy housing
340+ Dixwell will serve as a neighborhood anchor and a model of sustainable construction practices. We consider it a pivotal opportunity to broaden the social, health, and economic potential of affordable housing construction, leveraging the unique capacities and assets of mass timber assemblies to benefit Dixwell, New Haven, and the state of Connecticut.