After half a century of service as a Simsbury motel, Iron Horse Inn will become a luxury apartment complex – Hartford Courant

The Iron Horse Inn in Simsbury is closed and developer Luke Florian will convert the building into 25 luxury apartments.

The two-story hotel has been operating along busy Hopmeadow Street for nearly 50 years, but closed early last month just days before Florian’s Freedom Horse bought it for $875,000.

The company plans to carry out extensive interior renovations over the next half year so that leasing could begin in late summer or early fall.

Florian said he was convinced that a modern apartment complex with high-tech features and green amenities would be a big draw.

“Demand makes this project work,” he said on Tuesday. When the epidemic broke out, people were moving in with their families. Now they are tired of it, they want to get out. A lot of millennials – all these people my age or younger – are sick of living at home.”

“Our residents will be people who have gone to college and are back. They work in or around professional office buildings or medical buildings, and they want to live in Simsbury but can’t afford rents or a single $400,000 family home.”

Florian also expects the tenants to include Simsbury residents who have sold their homes and moved but want a summer site for visits, and parents of students at nearby Westminster School.

The project will include 21 one-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 450 to 750 square feet, with rents ranging approximately $1,700 to $2,500. Some will have balconies overlooking Mount Talcott. Four studio units priced between $1,400 and $1,500.

Features will include stainless steel appliances, keyless entry, large windows, custom tile backsplashes in the bathrooms and kitchen, and in-unit washers and dryers.

Freedom Properties plans additional parking as well as a large patio for outdoor entertaining.

Florian said the pandemic and competition from Airbnb have put pressure on small, independent hotels like Iron Horse in recent years.

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“This property was referred to by a friend a few years ago. The timing wasn’t right, the market wasn’t right, the funding wasn’t right. “The market is now in a frenzy, we need new units. We are seeing these boutique hotels and hotels going through a tougher time now.”

Florian, a Southington High School graduate, has reconstructed and sold single-family and multi-family homes in central Connecticut for the past decade, and estimates that his company undertakes about 25 of these projects annually. He also remodeled a 24-unit apartment building in Plainville and a 12-unit building destroyed by fire in Norwich.

“I love reusing a perfectly good building — there’s less cost to redevelop, it’s good for the environment, you throw in less,” he said. “And I like this kind of project; it is easier to do one big project in one place.”

The Iron Horse had 28 huge rooms and suites for the owners of the first floor; Freedom Horse will redesign the interior spaces including hallways and storage area to produce 25 apartments.

Connecticut-based Enviro Power will install its SmartWatt Boiler hot water system. Freedom Horse said it produces electricity on site in addition to hot water, providing low cost and low emissions of heat and energy.

“I find it exciting that the newly renovated, energy-intensive properties will bring a vibrant new community to our main street,” First Selekman Wendy Maxtotis said in a statement.

“Housing is critical to a vibrant and walkable downtown which is why projects like this are so important,” said Sarah Nielsen, executive director of the Simsbury Main Street Partnership.

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