September 20, 2023
Reporter: Shawn Bright
Downtown New Britain is undergoing a significant transformation. Avner Krohn, the driving force behind Jasko Development, has been pivotal in reshaping the city's center, unveiling plans for another major apartment complex, The Strand. This new six-story development will rise on the former location of the historic Strand Theatre, which was a hallmark of the city until the early 1970s. Once completed, this $27 million project will provide an additional 100 apartments.
The Strand, during its prime in the 1920s, boasted intricate designs, over 2,000 seats, and a grand architectural presence. Krohn aims to recapture some of its past elegance, including designing a large entry marquee and a plush theater for the building's residents.
New Britain's Mayor, Erin Stewart, emphasizes the city's rich history and the importance of The Strand. She recalls a time when the city center was thriving and vibrant. But as urbanization increased, businesses shut down, and residents moved out, the heart of New Britain grew desolate. Now, with projects like Krohn's, there's a renewed sense of vitality in the city.
Among the modern revitalizations, Jasko Development's contributions stand out. The Brit, another one of Krohn's ventures, features state-of-the-art amenities and contemporary designs. Alongside The Brit, The Highrailer is in the works, promising even more commercial space and residential units. And soon, work will commence on The Strand.
This rapid urban development isn't universally acclaimed. Concerns arise over rising rental prices potentially sidelining lower-income residents. Chris Anderson, the mayor's political rival, even criticized the tax breaks granted to developers. Still, Krohn advocates for collaborations between developers and communities to achieve top-tier developments. For him, New Britain holds personal significance – it's where he started his career and built his company's base. He's enthusiastic about the city's future and eagerly anticipates a bustling downtown filled with residents and businesses.