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The Voice of Reason

City development updates WOW!

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Hello gang

 

http://www.hartford.gov/images/DS_Project_Updates/Project%20Updates-January%202013.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

The city website has this document up for review.  it includes just an amazing ammount of info, much of it new info to me about the status of se veral projects.

 

if this link is wonky, go to Hartford.gov  its on the front page slidehsow

Each of the items on the front page slide show are good reads however.

 

Back to the project updates!

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

One of the first things I noticed was the conversion of Columbus from 1 way to a two way street.  God knows its wide enough!!!  also Market street will get the same treatment

This is supposed to start This month!

I can only imagine this being a few curb cuts, some minor paving, new traffic light systems and some road re-striping.

 

I could not imagine it taking too long.  $6M project

 

Also, Albany Ave is getting a major street scape.  narrowing, traffic calming and wider sidewalks.  also trees!

they have $17.5M for the project already.  construction to start this spring.

 

Coltsville is getting some new streets as well.  we knew about this and have talked about it.  but construction should start this spring also.  infact I think the bid is closed and they have a contractor.  Albany Ave has not gone to bid yet.

 

 

NODO (I hate that term, but I also dont think you can call this area the north end)

The big sea of parking and surrounds....

There is essentially a 400K study happening so that the city/state can put together a plan for this area and ultimately seen an RFP for major projects to help bring life back and make this a successful area.

THE BOARDER IS I-91 the train tracks and I-84.  There is also a section across the tracks from the safety complex. including Hartford Lumber.

 

On the image provided in the PDF they identify the griffin line as a possible bradly connector and a possible train station location at the intersection of Albany and Main... COOL!

 

Also, there is another $300K study that will cordinate all of the plans of plans around transport and cordinate to maximize efforts.  this would ensure that the future needs of the city are met and that they capitolize on opportunities.  Both downtown and in the Greater hartford region.   

 

 

RANDOM

New Country Mini is building a new dealership  12,700SF seperate from the BMW dealership on Weston Street.

Construction to begin this spring

 

 

 

 

ZONING AS OF RIGHT PLAN THIS ONE IS HUGE

So, the city is actually doing something I proposed during the One City One Plan meetings. (I hope I helped to push this idea it would make me happy if I had a positive affect on this city, but it may well just be random)

 

The city is paying a consultant to study 3 sites within the city for economic influences and capabilities.  they will then determine optimal development on these sites and then set up zoning as of right so a developer could literally walk inand build what was planned by the city with little hurdles.

 

I suggested this to the chief planner and community organization to select 3-4 sites within the city and have them pre approved for office building or residential or mixed use at various square footages so that a developer would only need to select design elements.  this would have kept ING downtown.  Also, I suggested changing minimum parking requirements for developments... and that is being discussed right now by the city too :)

 

OK, Back to the big news part of this...

 

The PDF has an image of the old Hilton lot on the park with a 300 space garage wrapped with housing.

the housing is 2 buildings totaling 290 units.  the taller building is probably 8-10 storys the lower 6-8.  nots not super detailed, but clearly some is looking into this.  it appears as though it would be an oversized Trumbull on the park

the same image shows development on the vacant parcel that is part of the YMCA lot.  essentially the NW corner of that YMCA lot shows a simular massing and shows 55 housing units in maybe 6-7 floors.

I know we would all love to see more glamorous projects than 6-10 stories, but if you imagine 345 more housing units in this part of the city, directly on the park, with I presume retail, and combine that with 410 Asylum, 390 Asylum, 179 Allyn(possibly) the existing Pearl condos, and the 2 hotels over there, you have a serious residential concentration.    Also, looking at the massing model they show, the hole, or scar to the city would be mostly fixed.  I mean this would transform the reality and the perception of this area.  it would still leave room for improvement with the YMCA property, the vacant lot on the corner of Ann and Asylum, and the lot next to 55 on the park.

 

not to mention all that Allyn street parking and the potential future space created by the I-84 viaduct project.

 

 

The report gives some additional info about a few housing developments underway....

3 Constitution plaza...  its apparently actually ahead of the old hotel.. those guys are slackers I guess

AI means business, so here is what they have...


 

Budget to Date: $55,486,161; possible sources include:

$29 million-CHFA Tax Exempt Bonds

$2 million-City of Hartford

$5 million –DECD (CHAMP)

$17,137,817-CRDA

 

This does not show the cost of the building and demo etc, but Id assume that is part of the equity. 

 

5 CP is described as early stages... so thats why I think they are behind AI

here is what they say about possible funding


 

Budget to Date: $20,000,000

Equity: $4,000,000

Government Assistance: $2,000,000

Bank Debt: $14,000,000

 

 

 

777 Main Street

This one is more detailed.   I was not aware, but I guess the building has actually changed hands!  mind you over a year ago, so thats interesting of the total housing units, 80% would be market rate and 20% would be affordable. Affordable units will include 19 studios and 40 one bedroom units.

Its nice to see the actual numbers of units

$37.6 Million-HUD

$17.7 Million-CRDA

$3.9 Million-DECD

$18.9 Million -Historic tax credits (State and Federal)

 

Thats A lot of historic credits...  the HUD aspect is a loan, so probably the primary debt

 

 

They mention phase 2 of Front Street, but we read about that in the papers..... what we did not read was something I just read about Nitkin talking to CRDA about Phase 3.... yes, PHASE 3 of Front street to include the Hartford Times building as part of the new UCONN downtown relocation.

Highly interesting stuff.

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Continued.....

 

101-111 Pearl.

Project Description : The property located at 95-101 Pearl Street con-sists of a commercial building with approximately 100,000 SF of former office space. The preferred developer, Lewis/Pearl Ventures, LLC, in-tends to redevelop the property into restaurant or retail on the 1st floor with office/commercial space on the 2nd through 6th floors and 66 market rate residences on the remaining floors consisting of a mix of studios, 1 and 2 bedroom units. Construction is anticipated to com-mence in 2014. The developer is seeking to purchase the property and enter into a tax fixing assessment agreement with the City.

 

 

Candlewood suites on Market Street N of I -84

This is still active... I think it was 85 rooms?  construction to bein in spring???!??!?!?!  see pasted below,

 

Timelines: The project plan was recently re-approved by P&Z for an additional 3 years, with an automat-ic 1-year renewal upon demonstration of significant progress. Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2013.

 

 

 

There is also a ton of information about the progress at dutch point in the PDF including sales figures and such.


 

Milestones:

Phase 1 with 15 units constructed,

13 units sold, 1 under contract & 1 model

Phase II with 8 of 15 units constructed,

5 units sold; 1 under contract & 2 available

 

Timelines: Phase II construction of 2 remaining buildings with 7 units to begin after 3 more units are sold, Construction to restart in early 2013

 

Capewell townhomes

Current Status: Environmental site remediation nearly complete All 4 buildings under construction in varying stages of completion – on schedule

Budget to Date: $5.4M – Federal $2.0M; State $754K, Private Financing $2.7M

Milestones: Building #1 with 4 units 99% complete 1st homebuyer under contract in Nov. 2012

Timelines: 2 P&S contracts expected by end of fall 2012 Construction completion expected by Dec. 2013


Capewell Nail factory main building

ITS BACK!!!


 


 

Milestones: Negotiations with property owner underway Obtained owner approval to allow LEP entry

Brownfields application in Dec. 2012

Timelines: Environmental assessment - LEP bid in Dec. 2012, with work completed by April 013

Development plan proposed by July 2013

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Reading between the lines. Wonderworks is just sitting on the old Sonesta site.

 

There doesn't seem to be any action at Pearl Street either.

 

I like the idea of turning the old Hartford Times building into part of a new UConn/Hartford building. I would still prefer that AI build their CP building to UConn specifications and put their HQ on the top floors. This project will happen somewhere because UConn will make it happen.

 

One weird thing about that document. The pictures on the pages were often of projects other than the page heading. I didn't get that.

Edited by beerbeer

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Not sure if that is fair on Wonderworks

I think they are just getting less love than say Becker and Becker so they are not as motivated.

 

I think that if they acted immediately 2 years ago... they would be fully occupied right now, and way head of the game.   they have however taken their time to go after every tax credit and such.  remember they had agreed to be 50% low income before CRDA said not gonna fly.  so that might have affeced them.  we shall se, I still see that project as a no brainer.  I mean its ideal for studios for new grads.

 

Pearl has plenty of action.  they just have a later timeline than the other clump of projects.   can ya blame em?  at tis rate it seems 777 Main and Front street will be the first 2 followed closely by AI and then its a crap shoot.  I think this new 179 Allyn proposal seems to be moving quickly out of the gate, so thats interesting, and it seems as though the Sonesta is just waiting to hop into traffic.  So they could be right behind AI with Pearl after that.  more likely though Pearl, Allyn and Asylum will all be at around the same time with Asylum being the last of that group.

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How many proposals and timelines have been created fo Peartl Street? I am skeptic for good reason.

 

I also believe they should turn Pearl into apartments not offices.  I used to be offices. Apartments on that corner will help every other business on Trumbull.  It also, I believe gets you to the criical mass that brings the street alive.

 

I hope you are right abotu 777 and the others but would not be surprise if UConn is the first movment we see fr any of these projects (except streeetscapes).

Edited by beerbeer

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How many proposals and timelines have been created for Pearl Street? I am a skeptic for good reason.

 

I also believe they should turn Pearl into apartments not offices.  I used to be offices. Apartments on that corner will help every other business on Trumbull.  It also, I believe gets you to the criical mass that brings the street alive.

 

I hope you are right abotu 777 and the others but would not be surprise if UConn is the first movment we see fr any of these projects (except streeetscapes).

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I think they are still slated to be apartments.

 

Its hard to tell based on that document because it was generated very close to when  the bidder was picked.   the other informnation we have was from an interview done by the courant and quites from Sandy Cloud, one of the owners.  While this document of course holds some weight considering the source, I am inclined to innitially believe the owner himself.

 

that being said, I think the plan in the PDF still included 90 apartments.  Ill have to read that again though.   see below


 

Project Description : The property located at 95-101 Pearl Street con-sists of a commercial building with approximately 100,000 SF of former office space. The preferred developer, Lewis/Pearl Ventures, LLC, in-tends to redevelop the property into restaurant or retail on the 1st floor with office/commercial space on the 2nd through 6th floors and 66 market rate residences on the remaining floors consisting of a mix of studios, 1 and 2 bedroom units. Construction is anticipated to com-mence in 2014. The developer is seeking to purchase the property and enter into a tax fixing assessment agreement with the City.

 

Current Status: The City’s Economic Development Division is prepar-ing a DECD application for the purpose of utilizing state funds in order to conduct environmental testing and remediation at the site. The City is working with CHFA to sell all of the following properties to the se-lected developer: 100 Trumbull Street; 95-101 Pearl and 111 Pearl.


 

Budget: $50.5 million (estimate)

 

 

All that is discussed in the taller building.  I am not a fan of the office aspect because like you said, that didnt work before, why will it work now.  111 Pearl if turned into housing would bring the total on this project closer to 150 units and that, I would be OK with.  If the only housing on this corner were 66 units that would be terrible.

also, those 66 units are on 6 floors, so they are expecting to make these puppies pretty darn small. 

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I think we are getting awfully close to a turning point. If the BOA tower, Front Street II, AI, and the Hotel conversion all get done, I think it will completely change the feel of Downtown and people will have no choice but to start to notice this progress and have a more positive perception of how Hartford's redevelopment is actually going. Far too many haven't really fully taken note of all the things that have already been done, but hopefully that will soon start to change.

 

After that, getting Phase III of Front Street and the 101-111 Pearl block done, I believe would basically make Downtown Hartford undeniably vibrant and revitalized. Then we could focus on more infill and extending development to NoDo.

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101-111 is pretty key to the perception.  its within view of the XL center.  so if Pearl Asylum and Pratt were all a little more vibrant and 111 Pearl were lit up and alive it would greatly change the way people look at things.  even more so, that housing as well as the rest might help put more retail in the XL xenter.   95% of greater hartford only know what they see from the XL center.  making them want to walk a block further away is going to be a huge improvement. 

 

I agree, we are getting closer to that point.  Sadly Ill argue that we wont be there yet thought for real.  Not untill the development sperads past downtown proper. 

Charter Oak has a good chance if Front Street Phase III and the nail factory is converted, the colt gateway continues to be fixed up and fill in the blank happens... its the blank that needs to happen.  not sure what it is, but It needs to turn undeveloped land into developed land.  thats a big one.  I suppose land on the capewell would be a nice start as would the NU land near the candycane building.  likely the latter. 

 

Just saying that once you have a neighborhood that is "acceptable" for people to live thats not the CBD then, the change is really ON for real.

I would love to see the city get back to growing like the olden days.

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101-111 is pretty key to the perception.  its within view of the XL center.  so if Pearl Asylum and Pratt were all a little more vibrant and 111 Pearl were lit up and alive it would greatly change the way people look at things.  even more so, that housing as well as the rest might help put more retail in the XL xenter.   95% of greater hartford only know what they see from the XL center.  making them want to walk a block further away is going to be a huge improvement. 

 

I agree, we are getting closer to that point.  Sadly Ill argue that we wont be there yet thought for real.  Not untill the development sperads past downtown proper. 

Charter Oak has a good chance if Front Street Phase III and the nail factory is converted, the colt gateway continues to be fixed up and fill in the blank happens... its the blank that needs to happen.  not sure what it is, but It needs to turn undeveloped land into developed land.  thats a big one.  I suppose land on the capewell would be a nice start as would the NU land near the candycane building.  likely the latter. 

 

Just saying that once you have a neighborhood that is "acceptable" for people to live thats not the CBD then, the change is really ON for real.

I would love to see the city get back to growing like the olden days.

 

I actually agree 100% that the city won't be there until some of the non-downtown neighborhoods are considered livable by the people of greater Hartford. I think Downtown is so close to that point that it can taste it though. This next wave of housing is going to be huge!

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101-111 is pretty key to the perception.  its within view of the XL center.  so if Pearl Asylum and Pratt were all a little more vibrant and 111 Pearl were lit up and alive it would greatly change the way people look at things.  even more so, that housing as well as the rest might help put more retail in the XL xenter.   95% of greater hartford only know what they see from the XL center.  making them want to walk a block further away is going to be a huge improvement. 

 

Pearl Street is the key. Bring that alive and Trumbull is a 24 hour neighborhood. It has the street life to make folks feel safe and alive. It changes the perception of the city. It becomes a "place" -a destination. I do not understand why the city doesn't recognize this and make the development happen.

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I think they do, and I think they are working in this.

 

I think unfortunately due to the 18 square mile thing, Hartford actually has very limited resources.  so the state has had to get involved and I am very thankful that they are investing in our cities.  this will pay us back for decades!

 

IF and an big IF... Asylum hill and charter oak become viable livable neighborhoods to the people of greater hartford, I would bet that hartford would manage to become much more self sustaining than it currently is. 

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