Upward ‘co-living’ apartments in downtown Hartford near Pratt Street Debut
Kenneth R. Gosselin
Sep 17, 2020

HARTFORD — Upward, a downtown hub of 21st-century entrepreneurs and innovators, debuted its “co-living” apartments on Trumbull Street across from the XL Center on Thursday.

Shana Schlossberg, chief executive of Upward, shows a community space in the “co-living” space in the renovated 196 Trumbull St. in downtown Hartford. (Kassi Jackson/The Hartford Courant)

The design of the apartments in the renovated building at 196 Trumbull St. is geared to entrepreneurs in the Upward programs so they can quickly get to know each other outside of work hours, important because the programs are often short in duration. The 32 apartments are considered a key component to help raise Hartford’s profile as a center of innovation.

The rentals — all furnished and with utility hookups — open out into large common areas rather than hallways, with different amenities on each of the building’s four floors. The amenities include collaboration space, a game room, community living room and a commercial-style kitchen for larger dining gatherings.

The exterior of 196 Trumbull St. has been renovated into furnished co-living space for Upward participants and other potential renters. (Mark Mirko / Hartford Courant)

“It’s the ability for people to live together, to create together, collaborate,” Shana Schlossberg, Upward’s chief executive, said, during a tour for the media. “It’s a cross between an apartment and a hotel.”

Half of the rentals are already occupied by entrepreneurs chosen for Upward’s “Upward Labs” program, which will receive up to $3.9 million from Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-public state agency that invests in early-stage companies that are seen as critical to the state’s economic future.

The investment will help fund the work by startups participating in the program. The hope is that the companies eventually establish operations in Connecticut.

The apartments also can be rented by the public, especially by those seeking an entrepreneurial atmosphere, Schlossberg said.

The renovation was expected to be completed a year ago. But Schlossberg said requirements to qualify for state and federal historic credits slowed the work, as everything from painting brick and restoring tin ceilings to what type of new floors could be installed had to be approved.

A commercial-style kitchen in one of the common areas in ‘co-living’ space at 196 Trumbull St. in downtown Hartford. (Kassi Jackson/The Hartford Courant)

The cost of the renovation also rose from $3.2 million to $5.8 million.

Schlossberg said the design of the building with its open spaces came well before the COVID-19 pandemic and “naturally” there have been some concerns.

“The common spaces, like any common spaces, you just have to be a bit smarter about,” Schlossberg said. “We do require masks in the common spaces right now.”

A studio apartment at 196 Trumbull St. (Kassi Jackson/The Hartford Courant)

Schlossberg said the demand for co-living spaces has actually risen in the pandemic because the rentals also cater to people “who don’t want to buy furniture, who doesn’t want to own, these people who live with two suitcases and this is the perfect lifestyle for them.”

“They move in,” Schlossberg said. “They are ready to go.”

At 196 Trumbull, starting rents range from $2,245 to $2,605 for studios that range in size from 378 square feet to 507 square feet, with all expenses included.

A kitchenette in a studio apartment at 196 Trumbull St. (Kassi Jackson/The Hartford Courant)

The building at 196 Trumbull was most recently used for offices but has a history of innovation. In the 1890s, Heublein emerged as a homegrown innovator in the alcohol distilling industry, bottling the first “club cocktails” in the same Trumbull Street building.

The Trumbull Street building was purchased by Shelbourne Global Solutions LLC of Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2018. Shelbourne’s managing member is Benjamin Schlossberg, Shana Schlossberg’s brother.

The game room on one floor of 196 Trumbull St. in downtown Hartford. (Kassi Jackson/The Hartford Courant)

Shelbourne is downtown Hartford’s largest commercial landlord and is a partner in an ambitious, $100 million redevelopment of the Pratt Street corridor, around the corner from 196 Trumbull.

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