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About Whaler0718

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    West End, Hartford
  1. I love Hartford to pieces and I think you've got a very valid point, though I'd hardly call Gottesdiener a slum lord. All of the state money pouring into the Beat should've been used to reform property taxes and shift the burden of revenue-making from the towns and cities to the states. That's the only reform that will have a truly long term impact on Hartford's success. That said, I think this seed effort might be what it takes to catalyst people investing in and caring about the city again, which might spur the political will necessary for true reform. It's a tough call.
  2. I am not in commercial real estate, but I can't for the life of me understand why a coffee shop and a cell phone store would be rejected, especially given that your space needs--I presume--weren't extraordinary, certainly not the scale of a Borders, B&N or clothing retailer. If I'm a national retailer, I'd look around Hartford and think, this supports no retail. But if a few stores like yours are moving in, then I think, ok, it's not a developed retail market, but there are enough feet on the street to support these businesses. I mean, especially given that people don't need a cell phone every day. If you thought you had enough of a customer base in Hartford to support a store, then surely shops that generate more frequent visits should have an interest.
  3. That's sad for folks at the Linden.
  4. I disagree. The building sits directly along the highway/river, with its terrace overlooking the river. Setting it back would have eliminated that vantage point, which is one of the building's assets. I think the room for development on the Columbus Blvd. side makes the most sense. The problem is that it's a parking lot, and we all despise surface parking. They should have made it a park, and the street should be lined with trees to keep a linear perspective for motorists and pedestrians alike.
  5. (1) Chipotle is no longer owned by McDonald's and they do not franchize, which means they're consistent, and, IMO, consitently good. I would welcome them anywhere in Hartford, but I imagine they'd prefer to be downtown b/c it'd be easier to attract the lunchtime crowd. (2) I have been advocating for Hartford to try to attract stores not elsewhere in CT, and not in most cities--though I can't imagine there's anything not in New York--such as Pink or Zara. This would unquestionablly be a huge challenge, if not down-right impossible, despite my confidence that we're a very strong market and that folks from Avon, Canton, West Hartford, etc. would come into town to shop there--not to mention the folks staying for conventions.
  6. I think it's a good move, and, at least, a bold one, and you always have to give a public or quasi-public authority some credit when it does something bold. Of course, of the bold options, it's the conservative one, giving Larry risk and reward. I think that was the best route to take, definitely. I have to say, however, Northland's stake in downtown is so huge, it makes me a little nervous. On the one hand, the stakes are huge and Larry has every reason to make the Civic Center work; he's got such a huge investment in the city, he can't afford to mess up. That said, if he does mess up, his whole boat sinks, and we're all pretty much in that boat at this point! No pain, no gain--I think it was a good move, but I've definitely got my fingers crossed that Larry will make it happen.
  7. I think UConn should sell Dempsey. If there's a market out there for the Farmington Valley, let a private company tap it. UConn could build a medical school downtown (north of I84 is perfect) and then it would be close enough to St. Francis and Hartford Hospital to form partnerships with them to educate their students. This public/private partnership could be tremendously beneficial to all parties involved, including the city and region. But I predict that UConn eventually will get it's hospital built in Farmington b/c the Farmington delegation in the legislature will thwart any effort to build in Hartford by appealing to the rest of the legislature, which is comprised of representatives from, gasp, the suburbs. How can we end sprawl when our elected officials all represent sprawl?
  8. Amen. And it sincerely would be nice to have med students living downtown instead of in those condos by "The Exchange."
  9. Then why do people want free parking in Bloomfield if they're so willing to ride the bus? And, incidentally, many of the folks who work downtown have to travel regionally for work (in part b/c so many businesses have moved out of downtown) so they have to have a car. Yes the folks with the cars drive in and drive out, but, um, they're the ones with the money to spend. Mayor Mike said something along the lines of, how do I get somebody to come to my restaurant for a $7 hamburger if they have to pay $10 to park?
  10. Now, I agree with you in spirit. In fact, my dream world would be public transport for Hartford and fewer cars. But that is a pipe dream. The reality is this. Slap a congestion charge on Hartford and see what happens. In fact, assume there's public transportation, and you'll see the same thing: an exponential mass exodus. It's the same thing that idiot mayor Saxon-Perry came up with during Hartford's nadir: businesses were leaving and the tax base was dwindling so she proposed a commuter tax! Yes, genius! Charge people more for something they already want less. Nobody but us urban planning, smart growth, fair growth liberals actually wants to ride the train. Especially not in an area that isn't really that congested. It may seem like it is, but then, it once took me 3.5 hours to get from the East Village to JFK airport--no accident, no construction, no US Open, just traffic. Google "smart growth" and you'll read story after story of massive light rail projects that nobody uses b/c they still insist on driving. (Portland, Or., in particular) Lots of people like the idea of light rail b/c they think it'll get people off the road--not them--other people, so they'll have an easier drive! True, make driving expensive enough and people will use mass transit, but we, one tiny state out of 50, cannot do that alone because people will leave for auto-friendly places, of which there are many. Right now, the car is still king, it's still the way 85% of people get to work, and even with mass transit, it still will be. Slap a congestion charge on driving into Hartford, build a light rail system instead, and watch the CBD vacancy rate rise faster than Al Gore's weight. You want to keep business in the Beat--and I'll tell you I do--then make it cost less.
  11. It's a waste of money. All of the funds, state and city, that would be used to build an arena should go to create free parking downtown and to enhance Hartford's ability to retain businesses. This will actually generate the revenues and create the demand for housing that will turn the city around, at which point it would be wise to invest in a new arena. If Northland wants to pay for an arena exclusively with private money, awesome, but it doesn't--nobody would--and and we should think carefully before we sink more money into entertainment. It definitely makes Hartford an attractive place for suburbanites to come every once in a while, but to actually keep people on the street downtown requires an investment in JOBS--keep them from leaving for the burbs and then you'll have your vibrant city. Have the state use the money it would spend on another arena to pay the suburbs in lieu of property taxes for the land businesses would've used had they not stayed in Hartford. That'd be money well spent.
  12. And the Civic Center hallways are TINY. The building is just totally sub-par in every way.
  13. I don't think they're selling at all yet b/c service doesn't start until July, does it? I mean it makes sense to me that they'd offer a big promotion at first to bring attention to the route. I may take a trip to Europe this summer but I'm not nearly ready to start planning it.
  14. Well, here here for property tax reform! I mean that would solve a lot of problems.
  15. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. It's so depressing. I agree that something is better than nothing, but we didn't bite when there was a market. If you put stores that previously didn't exist in Hartford County (Cheesecake Factory, Crate and Barrel) in Front Street, you corner that part of the market and give people something downtown that they can't get in their suburb. But Blueback beat us to the punch on that one--and to the extent there was a void of upscale shopping east of the river, Evergreen filled that gap. Frankly--and I don't mean to sound naive--I still think there's an unmet upscale market in Hartford. We need the likes of Saks, Zara, Barney's and Pink. The folks who dine at the Emperor are the target. Avon, West Hartford, Simsbury; they buy it online or take trips to Boston or Manhattan. You still can't find this stuff in Westfarms or Evergreen Walk, and it's what cities are made for. Make Front Street beautiful and safe, and offer nice restaurants and convenient parking, and I'm telling you; they'll buy. Then, you've got the conventioners to boot. I have a hard time believing it wouldn't take off if it were built.
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