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Whistle-Stop (3/14)



  1. Completely agree -- what will be the first groundbreaking and when will it happen? We've been on the cusp of substantial downtown investment for years.
  2. Another article, this time on the tax assessment of the building. The project is also 51% low and moderate income, and 49% market rate. I don't know the breakdown of %AMI they're using for the income restricted units. http://courantblogs....ower-developer/
  3. Agreed, that is fantastic. I worry about this development more than others -- lots of retail relatively far away from the primary downtown pedestrian activity. The housing component is necessary.
  4. http://www.census.go...data/index.html Census data were released today. Here's the picture of Hartford since 2010. Metropolitan growth: 2010: 1,212,381 2011: 1,213,255 Growth: 0.06% Hartford: 2010: 124,789 2011: 124,867 Growth: 0.06% New Britain: 2010: 73,215 2011: 73,267 Growth: 0.06% Middletown: 2010: 47,636 2011: 47,749 Growth: 0.24% Bristol: 2010: 60,484 2011: 60,525 Growth: 0.07% ________________________________________________ There were no data on West Hartford, Manchester, or East Hartford. Looks like negligible population growth throughout the region, consistent with decent job growth (compared with the nation) but almost nonexistent housing growth. Alternately, the results could be partially caused by the fact that the census bureau underestimated the region throughout the 2000s and still hasn't updated their algorithms. For comparison, here is Bridgeport-Stamford which is estimated to be growing much faster, yet has seen slower job growth than the Hartford area, but much greater housing growth. Metropolitan growth: 2010: 918,339 2011: 925,899 Growth: 0.82% Bridgeport: 2010: 144,463 2011: 145,638 Growth: 0.81% Stamford: 2010: 122,848 2011: 123,868 Growth: 0.83% Norwalk: 2010: 85,746 2011: 86,460 Growth: 0.83%
  5. Great news -- hope it comes together. At least one of these developments will eventually happen, fill up, and have a tremendous positive effect on downtown. There is demand.
  6. Looks like nothing is happening without some sort of government help. That's all right if the developer is acting on a defined plan, is competent enough to execute, and downtown is clearly made better by the project. I'd classify the Capital Center, the Clarion, 101-111 Pearl, and even Front Street as worthy investments. VoR I'm in total agreement about Michael Grunberg, owner of the BofA building. Public help for his asbestos mediation...so...he can go poach a client from another downtown building? No way.
  7. Beerbeer, BRT systems with dedicated infrastructure have been a success even in the U.S. Where cities have slapped the BRT name onto limited stop city buses the service hasn't been what's promised -- you can't get something for nothing. As to your other point, there are a lot of poor and working class people living in Hartford and New Britain (as an aside, many are from Brazil) that already use the bus and deserve to have their transportation needs addressed. Bill, commuter rail offers a different service -- trains every half hour compared with busway frequencies of less than five minutes at peak. I'd argue that the latter service is more valuable and also won't preclude commuter rail in other parts of the region. In fact, the two systems should benefit one-another. At any rate, looks like it's going to happen. I think (hope) your concerns will be proven wrong.
  8. I applaud the decision to go ahead with the busway; there's a lot in here to like. The route serves low and middle income populations historically ignored by state transportation planners. The busway will be used, just not (at first or exclusively) by the upper middle class suburban repatriates always posited as the salvation of the state's urban areas. So, the short term effect will be increased access to those who already use or stand to benefit from mass transportation as well as economic windfalls from short-term government investment. And this is all something that can be done right now. More broadly, the Hartford region has seen a steady shift toward a more sober assessment of how to allocate state resources, one that focuses on incremental, steady, responsive improvement as well as eschewing a vision of a final state -- i.e. the pretty pictures of a "finished" Hartford with one-off attractions and shiny urban renewal projects. The busway is an example of this; so is the public safety complex and the emphasis on downtown housing. In the long run regional mass transportation always strengthens urbanity. Also, New Britain will feel mentally closer to Hartford, especially if there are definite positive economic synergies created between the two downtowns. This is a good development from a regional perspective. VoR, I'm not sure what you mean by existing riders. Does that mean riders taken from city buses? If so, the busway will be a giant improvement in quality for those who switch. City buses can also be reassigned or curtailed, which should help with either operating costs and coverage. Lastly, I believe the total cost is also $567 million; I'm not sure where you're getting $6 billion.
  9. The Hartford area has seen a substantial slowdown in the number of young people leaving the region. From 2005-2007, the area lost 791 people per year in the 25-34 year old demographic; from 2008-2010 the area is losing only 111 per year. Other New England cities (Boston, Providence) are experiencing a similar phenomenon. The easiest explanation is that the recession has forced people to put off moving -- but another explanation is that NE cities have also fared better economically because they aren't so dependent on a robust housing market to sustain area incomes. http://www.washingto...tion-to-metros/
  10. Only problem is that the pot is $12 billion and states have made proposals for $100+ billion.
  11. Jay, Nitkin is the developer of Front Street. Nyberg has actually done some good work around here.
  12. The name "Front Street" is now both inapt and cruel.
  13. What entertainment is going to be there? What stores will open in an unproven market in this economy? Hartford already has a glut of (brand new) retail space; the demand just isn't there.
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