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JHChris280

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About JHChris280

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  1. According to the HBJ the owner declined to renew the lease but gave no indication as to why. Downtown Hartford may be a challenging retail/restaurant environment but I find it highly unlikely McDonald's can't cut it, even if that particular restaurant looked like it was caught in a late 80's/early 90's time warp. Purely conjecture on my part but I would not be surprised to see another McDonald's in Downtown Hartford (non-Northland) in the next few years.
  2. No hallucination, the prep work has been happening for years. Do all the prep work you want, no plans=nothing to build. Considering the initial Arts Council comment, all that was stated was the obvious-condo market is soft and people are down on the Front Street project. Evergreen Walk and Blue Back Square have been either completed or nearing completion in this time frame. It's pretty much ensuring the district won't be nearly as unique-could've had a 5 year head start over South Windsor and West Hartford. Who knows if this project had been completed either before or in conjunction with the Convention Center opening, what impact that would've had.
  3. My preference is for something along the lines of mid-17,000-18,000 max. I think of the arena in Buffalo and how I think the atmosphere didn't change for the better with a new building. I haven't been since 2003 but I started going to games the last year at the Aud(16,200?) and probably saw 10 games a year in the new place (18,690). During that time there was a huge rivalry with the Flyers and those were probably the only games I thought the building came close to the intensity of the Aud. I'm not calling out Sabres fans either. Some of the best in the NHL. Passionate about their team, knowledgable, enthusiastic, but the building could be cavernous. (A side note-some of the best ushers to have hockey conversations with-the whole staff always seemed to be fans first). The Buffalo and Hartford markets face much of the same hurdles. When the team is rolling can they sell 20,000 seats? Sure. When the team struggles will there be enough in the metro area or corporate support to fill the place? No. I've gone on record before, I think there's going to be a "retro arena" building wave not unlike baseballs. People are finding while the amenities are nice, watching hockey, basketball, ice shows, concerts, the circus, etc. in these places leaves the spectator feeling detached. I'd like to see a new arena in Hartford really stand out with seating capacity appropriate for the market with an innovative construction (maybe a second tier behind a goal that isn't seating but rather filled with restaurant, bar, theater type seating, and unique pricing.....maybe even something like what the LA Dodgers will be trying this year with some outfield seating allowing for admission and all you can eat concessions.
  4. Oklahoma City did it. Kansas City did it. New Orleans did it. Memphis, Columbus, Nashville, and Salt Lake City have professional teams without having "to build a market". There are brand new arenas going up in all sorts of markets. Build it, integrate it, market it, and they will come.
  5. Too funny.... One of these years the D-Rays are bound to get it right. Well, maybe not. How about we send Rocco Baldelli to the Red Sox
  6. At first glance the interior looks like it offers the intimacy needed to create a dynamic fan atmosphere. I bet when filled the place will rock.
  7. Kansas City having the NFL, MLB, NHL, and MLS and Hartford having nothing..... I don't like the sound of that. Well, maybe after 5 years in Kansas City the oversaturated pro sports market will be forced to give up a league. If it can't be hockey I'll take the Royals switching to the NL with a new stadium in the city. An NL team is probably the only shot MLB would work in Hartford seeing how strong Yankee or Red Sox allegiances are here. Otherwise, this is huge MLB territory. I often find myself in the city during the summer thinking about how great a neighborhood ballpark would be.
  8. Quebec, Winnipeg, and Hartford didn't have the Stanley Cups or the names Gretzky or Lemieux attached like Edmonton or Pittsburgh. Don't get me wrong, I think the latter are good markets, even if one has the Canadian dollar working against it and the other might be at saturation point sports fan wise. One thing I know, or at least knew about the league before the lockout is how seriously they take tradition. They struggle enough with public relations but I don't think they want the headache of two of the best players in the history of the sport not having a "home" to go back to.
  9. This is true. However, they are still serving a purpose and if they're overseeing any aspect of Front Street or the Science Center than they should continue to put their best foot forward. Sometimes the best marketing and press doesn't come from a catchy slogan, slick commercial, or a highway billboard. Competence, efficiency, and ease of doing business can go a LONG way in changing perceptions.
  10. THE CCEDA should have plenty of time to finish this deal now that they completely ignore their website. It may be nitpicking but if they were truly firing on all cylinders these details would not be overlooked.
  11. AHL attendance figures are a bigger farce than their NHL counterparts. It's not uncommon to see tickets sold and/or comped as being listed in the box scores as opposed to actual people in the seats. If quality AHL attendance meant anything than Hershey or Rochester would be NHL cities at this point. Some of these league leaders in the AHL really aren't drawing paying customers any better than some of the bottom teams in the league. Come playoff time, league wide in the AHL, there's a tremendous drop off in attendance because of playoff revenue sharing and restrictions against free or discounted tickets. I think its fair to say many Whaler fans are turned off by a hockey team essentially wearing NY Ranger uniforms while also having an almost complete turn over of fan favorites. In my opinion after the Calder Cup championship in 2000 Hartford hockey fans expected less roster turn over. I think at that point reality hit many in this area that this isn't a franchise for the locals in the same way an NHL team would be (look no further than the MSG logo painted on the HCC center ice). As far as Whalers attendance it was quite similiar to what is presently being seen in Boston, Chicago, Washington, New Jersey, and on Long Island for teams struggling on the ice (NJ might be the lone exception to poor on ice product). Also, there are probably 2,000-3,000 seats in HCC that are not optimal for hockey. If you sit in 300 sections chances are you will have trouble seeing the goal closest to you and about 10 rows in each side of the 200's are under skyboxes making it impossible to see the center ice scoreboard. Why did they move? Few seem to agree but you can take your pick from what many have claimed: poor ownership, NHL commissioner, aging arena, smaller TV market, poor on-ice product, escalating player salaries, botched negotiations by politicians. Personally, I think we were squeezed by a league looking for a national TV contract trying to expand the footprint of the league, and the rest follows from there.
  12. Forgive me for being a pessimist but in my opinion this project, as it stands, is no better off than it was 2 or 3 months ago. There are too many parking lots in Hartford which were born from green lighted projects. In some situations 4 or 5 months might not be so bad but this means 115 apartments and 60,000 square feet of retail will come on line 10 years after the original Adriaens Landing proposal. I'll now take the role of optimist and argue there is no way at this point in Hartford's redevelopment this project is high-risk, especially with a boat load of state dollars and virtually no restaurants, entertainment, or retail within view of convention center. If this were a project at the "12B" location or even the proposed Plaza Mayor...just a stone's throw away...you might convince me it has a chance of not succeeding. Start building already.
  13. I just want to be clear after reading some of your other posts..... You'd prefer this stadium Downtown or in a neighborhood so 6 times a year UConn fans can pack local bars instead of tailgating because it is more "European" and less "Redneck?" I would see that as an even greater waste of valuable space. Plus this isn't converting a tobacco field in Windsor or cornfield in Ellington to a shopping plaza. This is land being converted from an industrial use. Personally, as a sports fan I prefer variety and as American sports fans we have that. Arenas tend to be in urban areas and support restaurants, hotels, and bars in those vicinities. If they're home to the NHL or NBA or both they have at least 40 to 80 guaranteed nights of use, not to mention other events that can be scheduled. They're also 2-4 times smaller which, as I don't really need to explain, makes it easier logistically to avoid surface parking. It's also far more practical to build venues like this in an area in which a community can work with the synergy these buildings provide. I'd much rather have something like the Hartford Civic Center than Nassau Coliseum in this regard. Maybe I shouldn't speak for Hartford Tycoon, but I'm sure he'd feel the same way, even if he didn't, he'd recognize the importance in this. Different venues work for different events. Football has a different dynamic. 6 to 8 home games a year makes for a different type of celebration. It's why I can be a "Fat American" and enjoy a beautiful night under the stars with my friends, cooking my own food, and the next night grab dinner and a drink at a nice restaurant before I attend an NHL game. My original post on this was meant to discuss the inefficiencies in the project and how, if not done properly, could undermine each component. The site can still be a success with retail, stadium, housing, public transportation, etc., but as I said earlier I think it's going to take a coordination not often seen in CT public projects. Cabela's can be a tourist destination. Rentschler can be a positive gathering place, UTC's and the Air Force's research center can be a great economic boost, but mess up one and you can mess up all. As a side note I did email the folks at Rentschler and they hope to greatly improve the condition of the lots before the September 16th game. They didn't mention about working towards permanent improvements but acknowledged the new general parking lots needed work.
  14. After tonight's UConn/Rhode Island game I'm seriously wondering about how this project is going to relate to the stadium and the needs of the 40,000 attending the game and how this is going to affect the overall "big picture" for the site. The new "Red" and "General" parking is absolutely horrible. I am not exaggerating when I say I had an easier time parking and walking to Shea Stadium this weekend (new stadium construction is underway & parking reduced). The new RED area is where at least 50% of cars must park. There was little disclousre to the public how parking would be handled for this season. All I'm going to say for those walking or driving through the lots, especially at night....watch out for tree stumps. My point is I think for this to work communication and cooperation between UTC, CT (especially the DOT), The Matos Group, UConn, MSG, and any group I might have left out will have to be near perfect with no cutting corners for this site to be acceptable. Will people want to live among football crowds? Will the football experience suffer? Can retail afford the traffic of 10,000 cars filled with non-shoppers on 6 prime fall Saturdays? Without integrated Mass Transit will corporate development be substantial? Now that Rentschler is entering it's 4th season and the "kinks" haven't been worked out I fear what is probably the most important development site for the CT/Western MA region isn't going to be as well thought out as it NEEDS to be.
  15. I think it will take much more than downtown development to approach the same levels as the 1950's. However, there are many out there that believe Hartford (and numerous) urban areas were grossly under counted in the last census so maybe it really isn't all that far off??? If a new arena is built on the other side of 84 which in turn spurs some new development (maybe the arena district?) while the old Civic Center is converted to more housing it'll certainly help. To see larger growth I would think existing neighborhoods would need to see substantial redevelopment money. As far as the "Face the State" discussion. I did watch on Sunday and I didn't interpret the interview to be anti-new arena by any means. I took it as being early in the discussion, with the expectations the CDA will be approached with all sorts of proposals that could mean a, renovated, rebuilt, or new arena/site. Basically it looks like a "let's see what developers throw at us" approach. While it might not be on the fast track the discussion is more open than it was a year ago. One important statement from the show-a hockey team is going to be a major tenant. My personal opinion is the powers that be (MSG, CDA, Northland, City of Hartford,etc). knows the existing Civic Center will not be able to compete for top flight events much longer if it shows its age.
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