CT Main Street Keystone Award
sponsored by CIL & Colliers International

Capewell Lofts, Hartford

Recipient: CIL
Partners: Capital Region Development Authority; State of CT (DECD); InsurBanc; Guilford Savings Bank; Crosskey Architects; TO Design LLC

Opportunities & Challenges

  • The Capewell Horse Nail Company, established in 1881, was a dominant brand in the manufacturing of horseshoe nails. After a fire consumed the original building, the current structure was built in 1903. Reportedly the first fireproof building in the U.S., it was designed by a bridge engineer using the most modern construction techniques at the time, knows as the curtain wall system. In 1981, nail production ceased and the building sat waiting for a revival.
  • CIL Development Inc. was created in 2004 to address the development needs of communities that have blighted, abandoned, or environmentally contaminated properties in historic districts. Restoring these properties can fill holes in the urban fabric and bring economic growth, expanded tax base, vitality and energy to the community. If a project was ever in need of CIL’s expertise, the Capewell complex was it.
  • Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, CIL acquired the property in April 2014, with the plan to turn the old factory into the 72 unit Capewell Lofts – representing a new era for residential living in Downtown Hartford and the historic Sheldon Charter Oak neighborhood. A majestic building, a cathedral of the industrial age, Capewell is a three-story complex topped with a Romanesque Revival square tower.


  • Features included in Capewell Lofts include lofts in every shape and size, from studio to three bedrooms; 18-20 ft ceilings on the first and second floors, 15-26 ft ceilings on the third floor; a choice of downtown or neighborhood views; unique architectural details; and washer/dryer in each unique unit. A LEED Certified Green Building, Capewell Lofts also includes an outdoor grilling patio, pet spa, bike storage and numerous fitness facilities and studios.
  • A critical project to the revival of downtown Hartford, Capewell provides much needed market-rate housing choices within walking/public transit distance of where the jobs are. Located at Charter Oak Avenue and Popieluszko Court, Capewell is a key link in connecting downtown to the riverfront and Coltsville.
  • Rentals are a mix of market-rate and income-restricted units. At Capewell’s Grand Opening in January 50% of the units were leased. As of early May, Capewell is leasing well ahead of schedule.


  • A $26 million project, the financing package is complex and multi-layered, including:
    • $2.8 million loan from DECD for Brownfield Remediation
    • $9.1 million in Historic Preservation Tax Credits (state and federal)
    • $1.1 million equity investment from CIL
    • $5 million mortgage from InsurBanc, a Westport-based Connecticut Community Bank
    • $3 million mortgage from Guilford Savings Bank
    • $5 million second mortgage from Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA)