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Luca Brasi

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Everything posted by Luca Brasi

  1. That whole section of Constitution Plaza has been screwed up over the years. The Clarion is positioned awkwardly under pedestrian overpasses that were added years later when HSB and the Uniprise buildings were built. These overpasses also all but killed pedestrian traffic on Columbus Blvd. and actually made the main entrances to these building 3 stories up. I'd like to see them tear down the overpasses, the hotel and WFSB and start over with a new fresh design that will enhance this area at the street level as well as the plaza level. What we have now just doesn't work.
  2. There are no definitive plans or renderings yet. According to the Advocate this week, CCEDA will have a definitive deal finalized in the next two weeks.
  3. I do speak for myself. The Advocate is a joke. The link you posted has been corrected. The original link had names completely wrong which is probably why it is no longer active.
  4. Typical Hartford Advocate bashing. And in true Advocate fashion, they failed to get accurate information. "Richard" Cohen was the previous developer who had invested in and presented plans for Front St. previously. "Laurence" Cohen is a columnist for the Courant who is actually as anti urban as you can get. Bravo Advocate - you've done it again. Its no wonder no one takes you seriously.
  5. Nitkin needed to know exactly how much the state was willing to give up before he could do anything. Up until a compromise was reached in the last week, he and the state were far apart and had very different ideas as to how much "phase 1" ( that term scares me) of Front St. was actually going to be. It would seem thats why construction is starting next spring and not this year. If the state didn't implement some kind of penalty for not completing the second phase of this project in a certain amount of time, I would be very disappointed. With the amount of subsidy this guy is getting, the state would be well within reason to do so.
  6. A lot can happen between now and the spring. Like I said, they didn't release any plans because there aren't any yet. Nitkin just signed a formal deal with the state last week! Up to that point there was nothing. How can there be plans to release? This "groundbreaking" was all symbolic to make it look like the project is actually moving forward. It was pure PR.
  7. I fly Alitalia to Rome once a year out of JFK. It doesn't surprise me they struggling - the service was horrendous. Hopefully they won't go the way of SwissAir. A few years back, I flew SwissAir and they lost my luggage not only on my way to Europe, but also on the way back. I wrote an email complaining and got a form response saying thank you for the correspondence, but we will no longer be in business as of next week. Retail Brand Alliance in Enfield is owned by an Italian group and heavily employs Italians. RBA owns and operates LensCrafters, Luxotica, Brooks Brothers, Casual Corner, Adrienne Vittadini, etc... Permastalisa in South Windsor is a major Italian construction company that designs and builds curtain walls for high profile skyscrapers all over the world. They currently have the contract for the Freedom Tower in Manhattan.
  8. We haven't seen any renderings because I don't think there are any.... yet. I think this "groundbreaking" is more symbolic than anything. They are not going to begin building today. Its probably more infrastructure type stuff that has been planned out for a while. I think officials want to show this project is moving ahead more than anything.
  9. When Spris signed on to Constitution Plaza, they were excited to be part of a plan to circle the fountain at CP with restaurants, bars and cafes. The retail was to extend down to the plaza at the clock tower and down to Market St. It never happened and Spris... which serves out of this world authentic Italian cuisine... was left alone as an island. The city or state can't renovate CP because it is private property owned by Capital Properties. There is a broad misconception that CP is public property. It isn't. If there is going to be any development at all, it needs to come from the owners. And on another note, there is nothing I would like to see more than the Front St. neighborhood eventually extend down to Charter Oak Ave. replacing that awful housing project and disjointed neighborhood. Restore the street grid and restore a true downtown neighborhood from St. Cyril's, the Capewell and The Polish National Home down to the Wadsworth, Constitution Plaza and the Convention Center. It is very doable now.
  10. That is quite a housing subsidy. Works out to what... about $85,000 per unit? At this point I'm just glad its getting built. If construction is starting this month, there must be plans to be released...
  11. You are referring to John Elkington who was working with the Waterford Group before the money for Adriaen's Landing was ever approved by the legislature. He was in the picture when Adriaen's Landing was first conceptualized in the late 90's. Elkington was the master planner who was accused of throwing around tenant names whom he had never contacted. He was passed over in favor of Casden Properties (there was never a bid process, the state just liked Casden better) who was replaced by Richard Cohen who was replaced by Nitkin. When Nitkin was named the preferred developer, I don't think there was anyone else in the picture.
  12. This neighborhood needs better connectivity and more density. As it stands now, it seems too disjointed to me. Way too many surface parking lots and office park style buildings with big lawns. The shelters and projects certainly don't help things. That being said, the potential is huge. The area across the street from the Colt Factory needs to be developed. Too much unpaved surface parking. The buildings from the Capewell Nail Factory down to the Colt Factory are all historic. And the neighborhood also includes the Church of the Good Shepherd. The area south of the Colt building is a literal dump that needs to be bulldozed. Dillon Stadium needs a cleaning up as well.
  13. Were there others interested? When the project was taken away from Cohen, I thought Nitkin was the only one who was genuinely interested.
  14. I tend to see Yankee Peddler's POV also. Lets not forget that the original driving force behind all of this was Rowland's 5 pillars which in effect subsidized the housing part of this development to the tune of $60,000 per unit. The state is getting hosed here. Like everyone else, Nitkin held out for more cash and it looks like he's going to get it. I would love to know exectly how much in total the state is subsidizing this project. I guess when there is no one else interested in developing the site, Nitkin can basically call the shots or pick up his ball and go home.
  15. As we all know Hartford is the Insurance City, and the conservative nature of the business permeates all aspects of life around here IMO.
  16. Hartford officials insist projects like this take time. In the mean time, other smaller cities have built their projects. A history of the Front Street mess. How embarrassing: http://www.courant.com/business/columnists...hc-utility-home
  17. I'm very skeptical of these numbers. I really don't think that 60 units is going to cut it in any way. And the whole phase I and phase II thing doesn't give me a good feeling either. To really put some steam behind this, you need 500-1000 residents and a daytime workforce. Its why I was so disappionted when the 13 story office tower was taken out of the plan years ago. A large residential and daytime workforce base combined with Convention goers would give Front St. the best chance of survival. It will be tough for retail without a daytime workforce as part of the plan.
  18. This is exactly what happened with Richard Cohen and Capital Properties. And this sounded less than promising: "But progress stalled as Niktin and the state considered overtures by an unnamed party that was interested in the property, state officials said at a meeting Friday morning. "In the end, it did not work out, so now we are refocused back on the original scope," said Michael Cicchetti, spokesman for the authority" Does this mean that Nitkin was ready to let the project go to another possible developer that showed interest? If so, it doesn't say much about Nitkin's commitment.
  19. Mezzanine is also located at 960 Main St in the old G Fox building. Its in the mezzanine of the lobby about 100 ft. down the hall from Room 960.
  20. Room 960 has done an unbelievable job of bringing big city clubbing and the world's best DJs to downtown Hartford to an upscale grown up crowd. Their upcoming lineup rivals that of any club in NYC and they are constantly mentioned in clubbing and DJ magazines. And their outdoor parties on Constitution Plaza are second to none.
  21. Larry Gottesdiener - a Connecticut boy - has been quoted as saying he wants to be the man responsible for changing Hartford.
  22. From the Courant: "Still no development deal between CCEDA and HB Nitkin Group... just a memo of understanding that commits CCEDA to giving a ton of money in assistance if Nitkin can nail down a package of subsidies from the city. Number of rental units to be built varies from 60 to 200 depending on whom you talk to and on what day." Doesn't sound encouraging.
  23. The YMCA will mainly be a workout facility on the second floor. The main space at the corner is in negotiations with Borders Books and/or Virgin Records. A specialty gourmet market (like Balducci, Dean & DeLuca etc.) is under negotiation for Asylum St, along with a clothing boutique and a lounge/nightclub on the corner of Asylum and Ann. Trumbull St., is in negotiation with two restaurants. A hip, ultra trendy restaurant with owners from South Beach and an Italian bistro.
  24. After Capitol Properties was fired from the job, Northland stepped up and offered to take over Front St - under the condition they submit a plan and the city skip the entire bid process. The city passed, and Northland had no desire to be part of another long drawn out process. This is how we ended up with Nitkin as the "preffered developer." I believe there is still no formal contract/agreement.
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