Downtown getting new residents as Avalon tenants begin moving in

The residential population of downtown is beginning to increase as the first tenants move into the Avalon Shelton apartment complex along the Housatonic River.

Thirty-nine apartments in the 250-unit development on Canal Street became available for lease about 10 days ago.

“Our first move-in took place on the weekend of March 9,” said Todd Nicotra, senior development manager for AvalonBay Communities.

The available units are on the bottom three floors of the southernmost structure. Other parts of the four-story complex still are being finished, with 13 to 15 new units expected to become available every few weeks. Avalon Shelton should be totally open by September.

It’s the second major residential project downtown, with at least one other proposal in the works, as part of a plan to revitalize the core of the city.

The adjacent Birmingham on the River condominiums opened about five years ago.

“It’s a new thing to be able to rent a luxury apartment in downtown Shelton and walk to restaurants and retail,” Nicotra said. “Downtown has a lot to offer.”

The leasing office is open to meet with prospective renters, who will be greeted with a sign in the parking area near the office that says, “Future Resident Parking.”

The company's marketing approach

Nicotra said marketing efforts are under way to “a variety of different people in different ways.”

Avalon is counting on Shelton’s “great employment base” to help fill the units.

“We expect a lot of the people who will rent will work in Shelton,” Nicotra said. “The strong employment base here makes it an attractive place for us.”

In addition to the waterfront location and complex amenities, selling points include “the walkability and downtown aspect,” according to Nicotra.

Plans call for extending the public Riverwalk — now located farther south, where The Slab used to be — to the area between Avalon and the Housatonic River, continuing north toward the dam and canal locks.

Top-floor lofts to an outdoor swimming pool

The complex will include one- and two-bedroom units, ranging in size from about 700 square feet to 1,500 square feet. Top-floor units will have lofts. Prices range from upwards of $1,300 to $2,000 per month.

“It’s going well,” Nicotra said of leasing. “We’re pleased with the results so far.”

There is a 370-space indoor parking structure in the middle of the complex, with controlled access. Each unit will get one space with its rent, plus the option to lease another space for $10 to $60 per month.

Amenities include a fitness room, outdoor swimming pool (opening in late May), outdoor courtyard with firepit, and large indoor lounge near the main entrance with sitting areas and flat-screen TVs.

According to AvalonBay publicity material, the units have “gourmet kitchens,” large walk-in closets, and washers and dryers, and are pre-wired for high-speed Internet. Some units have outdoor balconies. Pets are allowed for an additional fee.

About AvalonBay

AvalonBay, a publicly traded company based in Virginia, owns more than 80,000 housing units in targeted parts of the United States.

Its Avalon Huntington complex in Shelton, off lower Bridgeport Avenue near the Trumbull border, has 99 two- and three-bedroom units at higher prices than the downtown location.

Elsewhere in the area, Avalon operates rental complexes in Danbury, Darien, Stamford, Milford, New Canaan, Norwalk, and Trumbull, with construction about to begin on one in Stratford.

The company aims for 95% occupancy at its complexes. It offers both short-term and long-term leases.