777 Main HartfordFairfield, Connecticut based Becker + Becker, a sustainable development and architectural firm, is in the midst of a historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of an iconic Hartford office tower. The 26-story former Hartford National Bank building on 777 Main Street is being redeveloped into a sustainable, mixed-use, transit-oriented building at a cost of about $85 million.

Situated in the heart of downtown, the mid-century modern tower, originally built in 1967, will include a clean-energy fuel cell power system. The 400-kilowatt fuel cell that will provide the tower with most of its own power.

The $3 million fuel cell operates similar to a battery, combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat and water. The hydrogen comes from natural gas, but the fuel cell is able to produce more electricity from hydrogen than systems fueled by natural-gas.

Doosan Fuel cell installation

Despite four degree temperatures in Connecticut, workers recently installed a 30-ton Doosan fuel cell that will power downtown Hartford’s largest apartment building. Image: Doosan

“This is the third apartment building where we’ve utilized a PureCell Model 400 fuel cell solution to create electricity and heat, which is a much cleaner, more energy-efficient alternative to conventional use of fossil fuels – eliminating over 99% of particulate pollution and significantly reducing the project’s carbon footprint,” said Bruce Becker, founder of Becker + Becker. “We take a holistic approach in our design to leverage all facets of energy savings, which is the reason Doosan, whose fuel cell solutions have supplied more than 11 million hours of secure, continuous power, is the logical choice for this project.”

The leasing office for 777 Main opened this week and the first tenants are expected to move in this spring. The building renovation incorporates 285 apartments (including 59 affordable units) and will be downtown Hartford’s largest apartment building. It will also include six retail shops, a gym, club room, library and 250-car parking garage. The fuel cell, which will begin powering the project later this year, will help the project reach LEED Platinum certification.

“Low-cost, high-performance fuel cell systems are generating electrical power quietly and without pollution at more and more commercial buildings across America, and forward-thinking companies like Becker + Becker are helping to lead this evolution,” remarked Kent McCord, director of market strategy for Doosan.

The first apartments will be ready for occupancy in April according to the developer. Studios range in size from 514 to 556 square feet, with rents from $1,230 to $1,565. One bedrooms are 693 to 825 square feet, with rents from $1,500 to $1,985, and two bedrooms are 1,105 to 1,141 square feet, ranging from $1,910 to $2,360 a month.

Image courtesy Becker + Becker