New London apartment complex near completion

The first major apartment complex to be built in the city in at least a decade has begun marketing the first of what is expected to be a wave of upscale units in the city that will cater to the influx of Electric Boat employees and other professionals.

Pennsylvania-based A.R. Building Company is completing the finishing touches on the $15 million, 104-unit complex at 60 Mansfield Road — appropriately named 60 Mansfield. The complex is a mix of studio, one and two-bedroom units with a starting price of above $1,000 with larger units exceeding $2,000.

A brochure for the complex lists it as an eight-minute bike ride to Electric Boat and 16-minute bike ride to downtown.

Company executives hosted a tour of the complex for Mayor Michael Passero on Thursday, showing off its well-appointed units, gym, yoga room, pet and bike washing station and billiard table-equipped lounge area, among other features.

The 60 Mansfield luxury apartment building in New London, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
A.R. Building Company, once poised to be the first company to break ground in the Fort Trumbull development area, plans to keep busy in the New London area for the foreseeable future.

While it has no immediate plans for Fort Trumbull, the company is preparing to submit plans for an estimated $18 million, 90- to 100-unit apartment complex at Howard and Bank streets, on city-owned land known as Parcel J. The land is the last remnant of a Shaw’s Cove urban renewal plan that was approved by the city in 1973 and has been vacant for decades.

A.R. Building anticipates what Jason Kambitsis, its vice president of development and acquisitions, called a flagship property for the city with an architecturally fitting façade and amenities that include a rooftop deck. Plans for another residential complex on Howard Street, Shipway 221, are currently before the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Mayor Michael Passero, far right, and people with A.R. Building gather to talk in the common area after a tour of the 60 Mansfield luxury apartment building in New London, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
A.R. builds, manages and retains its units, and has nearly 9,000 apartment complexes or townhouses in 10 different states, including several in Rhode Island. The 60 Mansfield project is its first in Connecticut. The company has also broken ground on a market-rate, 132-unit complex in Groton.

“We want to be here and do more business here. There’s a lot of opportunity and it’s a great city,” Kambitsis said.

The proposed agreement for Parcel J that was worked out by the Renaissance City Development Association and approved by the city council includes a $650,000 purchase price for the land.

RCDA had worked with A.R. Building in the past. In 2015, the company had submitted plans to build more than 100 units over three parcels in Fort Trumbull — an apartment building and townhouses with integrated parking garages and other features.

Mayor Michael Passero, second from left, talks with Daniel Mancosh, second from right, president of A.R. Building, Jason Kambitsis, right, vice president of A.R. Building, and Lee Blackwell, left, vice president of A.R. Building, in the common area after a tour of the 60 Mansfield luxury apartment building in New London, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
The company abandoned those plans shortly before a former would-be developer, River Bank Construction LLC — the team of Irwin and Robert Stillman — filed suit against the city seeking to recover what it claims was more than $2 million in development related expenditures for its own residential development. The Stillmans claim the city and RCDA breached its contract.

River Bank has pending litigation attached to four Fort Trumbull parcels designated as 2A, 2B, 2C and 3B, land that used to be home to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

A.R. Building President Daniel Mancosh said the lawsuit is an obvious deterrent for the time being but the location remains attractive — “a parcel of land we’d still be interested in developing.”

Mancosh said his company maintains a good working relationship with local officials who have made further development something the company looks forward to.

“The professional nature of everybody here has been a refreshing experience,” Mancosh said.

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By Greg Smith, The Day staff writer

*Attorney William R. Sweeney represents A. R. Building Company, Inc. on all projects in Southeastern Connecticut.