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Everything posted by Whaler0718

  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 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?
  7. Amen. And it sincerely would be nice to have med students living downtown instead of in those condos by "The Exchange."
  8. 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.
  9. Well, here here for property tax reform! I mean that would solve a lot of problems.
  10. 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.
  11. I'm sorry, but Front Street is drifting sideways. They have to move on this or the city will lose momentum, and they need a commitment from a national retailer, like Borders. I realize that after the state fired Cohen, the word was that national retail wouldn't be interested yet, but I think the market is here, there just has to be buzz. You can create demand by creating supply.
  12. Go for it. Please get involved in Hartford politics. Here's my perspective. I'm a 26 year-old white man who's lived in the West End for 4 years. I think Hartford's great. I think it's really poised to take off, but I'm totally perplexed when hear opposition to Front Street ... that Winch thinks "Front Street doesn't invite me." What does that mean?! Does it mean that most of her constituents can't afford to shop there? I well imagine that might be the case for a lot of Hartford's residents. But how is Hartford supposed to expand its tax base--how can it pay for itself, its schools, its police--if nobody comes here? Of course it's for out of towners--out of towners that come into Hartford to spend money. And maybe, one day, out of towners who say, hey, Hartford is a beautiful city, steeped in history, arts and culture, convenient to shopping, and safe. We should move here. I know from earlier posts, HartfordTycoon, that you're from the city's North End, and so it's especially important from my perspective to hear yours. Where are these community leaders coming from? How is this all supposed to work? What do you think the solution is? I feel like we need leaders in this city who understand business and economics, who can relate to professionals--both those who run the city's companies and those who could be attracted to living here--but that somebody also has to understand the community. I know a lot more about the former than the latter (though I have some ideas). Anyway, enough rambling. I think it would be great, though, to start a thread about solving some of this city's toughest issues, and the perspectives from folks from different backgrounds. Let me give you an example. I helped coach a debate team at Hartford Public a few years ago. The kids I worked with were great. Now, they were also self-selected--they didn't have to be there--I grant you, but they really tried their best. Anyway, we hosted a debate where kids from all over the region came to compete. My team showed up in street clothes while everybody else was wearing a suit. I said, "what are you doing?!!" (I worried it was because those clothes were too expensive. But now I realize that so much else--from sneakers to jerseys--are equally if not more expensive than a nice pair of trousers and a blazer from JCPenny or Sears.) Their response: "we're going to scare these guys; they're on our turf!" "Are you kidding?" I said. "You are on theirs! They may not be comfortable walking around Hartford at night, but they sure has heck are comfortable with debating you. Especially when it looks like you're totally unprepared." I realized that such a small thing makes a huge difference--these kids just hadn't grown up in a business culture. I had watched my dad put on a suit every morning, my whole life. How do you teach that? Throw all the money you want at a school, the teacher doesn't dress the kid every morning. ... Unless you have uniforms. Anyway, too much for this thread, I know, but important stuff, and I'd love to hear HartfordTycoon's perspective.
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