RMS CEO Randy Salvatore

RMS companies and ED breaking ground at 22 Gold street raised some questions

RMS CEO Randy Salvatore

Mayor Toni Harp, Matthew Nemerson of Economic Development, and RMS companies chief Randy Salvatore broke ground at 22 Goldstreet in the shadow of Yale New Haven hospital earlier this afternoon.

The forthcoming complex will be diverse in it’s nature, featuring businesses on the first floor, and over 110 apartments within the above structure.

The Connecticut Department of Housing has provided $5 million dollars in funding as part of its “Just in Time” program, which will allow 30% of the apartments to be available at affordable rates.

All the major players made remarks during the press conference, but the presentation raised questions as the proceedings unfolded.

Both Matthew Nemerson and Randy Salvator maintained that 30% of these apartments would be “affordable”, but at no point did they identify what affordable is.

“Affordable housing” implies a low income population, the terminology lends itself to that conclusion, to use the term without actual serving the low income population is a slippery slope, and the officials in attendance knew it.

I could tell by the general reaction when I questioned them about it that the low income population in this city will be unable to afford these “affordable” apartments.

Affordable is relative, what works for a guy that grinds at See Click Fix might not jive with someone who is a bus driver, it’s very risky to use the term “affordable housing” if your not actually providing it.

I interviewed Randy Salavatore after the press conference, and pressed him on both the definition of affordable, and the fact that he just flipped the Novella on Chapel street less than a year ago.

That’s troubling to me personally, because now he is getting a ton of public money to erect another one of his castles, and there is little to stop him from flipping another property, and enjoying a windfall that is underwritten by public dollars.

That concerns me as a beat reporter that covers the city, and as a New Haven resident, but but I will concede that such transactions can be good for the Elm City provided it does not become a consistent occurence.

The city cannot engage private contractors with public money, if the private contractors are going to sell the property shortly thereafter.

That has not happened yet, but the sudden sale of the Novella has my spider senses tingling.

Mayor Toni Harp

Not to mention the neighboorhood this new building will stand in is hot right now, the prices of those apartments are going to skyrocket with the massive workforce that works off Congress and York street, those tax paying citizens are going to eat this building for lunch when it opens, and that is not lost on anyone involved in the project.

Salvatore could raise the rent off that fact alone, I would have to see the contract to confirm that, but the true nature of his autonomy is worthy of investigation.

I spent time in the Novella, the place was a off the charts beautiful, and I know for a fact the apartments were considered overpriced by the residents.

I have no reason to believe that this new facility will serve the citizens that actually need affordable housing, and that’s no fault of Matthew Nemerson, Toni Harp, or Randy Salvatore, development and infastructure is good for the city, but the language used at the announcement should be tweaked.

It’s not entirely genuine.

It would also be nice to see the contract between the city, and RMS companies, and what buyout options Salvatore secured as part of the deal.

More on this story as it develops.

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