ASTONBURY — When developer Martin J. Kenny picked the name Flanagan’s Landing for a new apartment development, it seemed the obvious choice: Flanagan Industries had occupied the site off New London Turnpike since the 1960s.
But the name didn’t resonate in early marketing research. Focus group members had trouble spelling it, often throwing an “i” or an “e” in the word Flanagan’s.
“A whole bunch of people thought it was the name of an Irish pub,” Kenny said.
The new name of the $50 million, 250-unit complex now under construction — The Tannery — again draws on the history of the property but stretching back to the early 1800s when it was used for making leather.
Kenny, a principal in the Hartford-based development company Lexington Partners, said he was skeptical at first, considering the tanning business “wasn’t pretty stuff.” Focus groups thought otherwise, he said.
“Millennials thought that was cool, historic and there was the connection to fine leather,” Kenny said.
The site was used by tanners earlier, but in 1886, the property was purchased by Herman Roser, whose family had been tanners in Germany since 1695. The Rosers were known for well-crafted leather, manufactured for U.S. cavalry saddles, bookbinding and later, limousine upholstery.
Plans for the 31-acre property include converting two old mill buildings — one into rentals — plus the construction of five structures to the rear of the property. The apartments will be a mix of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with estimated monthly rents ranging from $1,200 to $3,000.
One of the historic buildings, a pump house, is being renovated for a fitness center, which will include a yoga area. A 6,300-square-foot restaurant also is planned and has drawn interest from several operators, Kenny said. No deal has been signed, and Kenny declined to identify potential operators.
Construction began last fall, and the first apartments are expected to become available on the rear of the property early next year. The project is expected to be completed next summer.
Kenny has emphasized the need to incorporate the property’s history into the redevelopment: the reuse of the mill buildings; showcasing the history of the tanning business; and going for an industrial look.
He is now seeking the town’s approval to incorporate corrugated metal, once used on the property, in the architectural detail of the apartment complex. The conversion of the old mill building into rentals called for a new elevator shaft. Kenny wants to cover the shaft with the corrugated metal rather than brick to complement steel beams preserved from one original building. Those beams will be exposed when the development is complete.
“It’s a cool industrial look that is being used all over the country,” Kenny said.
Matching old brick is difficult to do and can push up an overall project’s costs.
Corrugated metal also would be used as siding on a planned clubhouse and elsewhere on the property, he said.
Kenny has waded into the Glastonbury rental market before: In 2009, he completed another mill project, the conversion of the old Addison Mill into 55 apartments
As for the Flanagan name, it is not going away all together, Kenny said.
“There will still be Flanagan Drive,” Kenny said. “The green will be Flanagan’s Green.”
[source:- Hardford Countart]