After a better-than-expected experience with marketing a large apartment complex in Granby, developers Reggie Kronstadt, Bard Kligerman and Robert Kligerman are putting up 165 rental homes in Granby and Bloomfield — with another 150 or so planned.
At a time when some single-family home builders are caught between high construction prices and rising interest rates, Kronstadt and his partners believe they have found a niche that’s financially solid: Rental duplexes and townhouses aimed at young families and empty-nesters.
“We’ve realized this area is so under-supplied for high-quality Class A housing,” Kronstadt said Tuesday. “Our big focus now is single-family rental space: SFR. We’re really focused on building larger unit configuration rental houses.
“Our average homes in Granby are about 1,800 to 1,900 feet, they’re all three- and four-bedrooms. That’s what we’re going all-in on now,” Kronstadt said.
Until a few years ago, Kronstadt’s Krown Point Capital wasn’t known in Connecticut. But that changed when he partnered with the Kligermans, principals in Connecticut Realty Trust, to buy The Grand, a new but struggling 130-unit apartment complex in Granby.
“When COVID hit, leasing stalled. It was 45% leased. We basically rebranded it and closed on it two years ago,” Kronstadt said Tuesday.
“We’d never done anything in Granby or Hartford County before. It was a one-off. We thought it would take 18 months to lease, it took eight months. We’ve been 100% leased for a year.”
That success put Kronstadt and the Kligermans on a construction campaign in central Connecticut that shows no signs of letting up, despite a year of viciously high construction costs and rising interest rates.
They are building 75 units on Murtha’s Way in Granby and expect the initial ones will be ready for occupancy in August. In Bloomfield, they took over a long-stalled plan to build traditional one-family houses and instead are putting up 90 townhouses and attached duplexes.
“The demand for larger units is stronger than ever. The whole work-from-home phenomenon means people want the extra bedroom for the home office,” Kronstadt said.
“People want more space nowadays. When you’re not going to the office every day, that whole live-work-play phenomenon of your home changes entirely. Everyone wants more space than traditional apartments,” he said.
Most of the partnership’s new projects are two- and three-bedroom units. But Krown Point and Connecticut Realty Trust are trying out a few four-bedroom units in their new construction, believing that young families and empty-nesters will be eager for them.
“Even if it’s a higher price point, they want the extra bedroom, they want the privacy of a home, they want a private garage,” he said.
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Like many developers introducing large-scale residential housing in the past few years, the plans are heavy on amenities. Part of the new Granby project is centered around a swimming pool and clubhouse with outdoor fire pits; another section has more fire pits, a dog park and bocce courts.
Robert Kligerman said a key feature of the Granby project is the location: “It’s minutes to required household goods and services, yet in a country setting which feels a world apart.”
Large rental units offer tenants the “actual and emotional benefits of luxury home ownership,” he said, but without the upfront investment or the maintenance demands.
Bard Kligerman noted that 25% of the new Granby apartments were pre-leased even before a model was available to show.
“Single-family rentals are one of the fastest-growing real estate sectors across the country, but has been lacking in the Northeast,” he said.
Project Manager Perry Gold is directing a team of 75 subcontractors and trades workers at the Granby site. The Bloomfield project is expected to break ground early next year, and Kronstadt said another one — in a central Connecticut community that he won’t name yet — should bring another 120 to 160 units.
Don Stacom can be reached at email@example.com.