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The Voice of Reason

FOCUS!

9 posts in this topic

This topic is pretty much me beotching about the city and its focus, or more appropriately, lack of focus.

 

I have some cerns that the coming wave of developments, while likely to vastly improve Hartford downtown will to a degree fail.

 

The city has a hard-on (pardon the term) for developing the area north of I-84

 

The State is investing in Adrians landing

 

the DOT is innitiating a project that could recreate 16 developable acres west of Bushnell Park, iQuilt is interested in the Capital area and The area around travelers Plaza.

 

So much of these major plans and concepts overlap, but seemingly represent a lack of focus.

 

 

 

 

I am completely fine with the state/Uconn putting more eggs into Front Street in an attempt to truely secure that aanchor for the city.  But not if everything is low/mid density and 4 stories tall.  The location is really a great place close to Travelers and the Convention center and ultimately could be part of an urban neighborhood given enough density of residential and or future office /hotel space.  But we should be sure that this is built upon.

Riverfront recapture and iQuilt should try and remove the highway with the DOT help and make this area even more desirable to developers so that inverstments at Colt and capewell are not wasted.

 

sadly, the city is focusing on other areas.  North of i-84 is desolate, it is true, but this is like the pacific ocean!!

it is HUGE and outside of the current borders of downtown proper.

 

The city should cut off this rotten arm for another 5-10 years.

this is Front Street 2.0

 

The city should focus solely on 1000 Main street as a development site for some residential/retail

 

in addition to 1000 Main, look at Asylum and Main, look at the church street Garage area, fill in the Allyn Street parking lots.

 

there is SO MUCH OPPORTUNITY within the borders of downtown proper that we do not need to force low density development on the outside edge of downtown.

 

People with money will want to develop North of Downtown when there are no surface lots in downtown Proper. 

 

200 Million dollars spent in North of Downtown would make a difference, but it would not connect it to the area to the North, and it would not be significant enough to really matter.

 

Put the same ammount of money into the capital area, and you have a proper neighborhood!!

same for the Allyn Street area or in downtown proper.

 

 

 

 

My point is just that we so many great ideas happening that we dont want to get too distracted.

 

When the DOT has finished up the i-84 remake, EVERYONE is going to need to be on the same page in regards to the redevelopment of the newly available 17-13 acres next to Bushnell Park.

 

Let the area North of 84 go for now, its not great, but its also not causing ay real additional harm

 

Fix the Scars that include

 

180 Allyn, the AT&T Parking lot, Asylum and Main, Asylum and Ann, the Hilton Lott, Church Street garage area, and 1000 Main before you look for new areas to mess with.

 

or better yet... Build a new Arena up there.

 

 

 

 

 

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I mostly agree with this post.  The problem with the city is that it is focusing on weakness (north of I-84) rather than strengths (Main, Trumbull and Front Streets).

 

Enhance a robust Trumbull Street by developing the corner of Trumbull and Pearl.  Enhance Main Street by renovating 777 and the empty lots next store. Kick Front Street into high gear by moving forward with the apartments and the nearby former Sonesta Hotel and the AI site.

 

Do all three and it will lift every other project downtown. Get the state and city on the same page with the same priorities.

 

And if an outsider comes in with his/her own money. Let them do whatever they please. Let's keep capitalism alive.

 

But for the governments.  A little focus would be a very good thing. It will be much easier to put a little more muscle on strong bases than to develop muscle where there is none. Build on strengths. 

Edited by beerbeer

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Critical mass creates success!!!

 

If you take all of the proposed projects and make them happen at the highest level!!!  There will still be zero happening north of 84

 

also we will still have huge holes that take away from the cities vibrancy

 

the city should be investing every resource into the vacant lots along the park and along Asylum.

 

I appreciate 5 million at Colt if it make the project happen, but there are so many more critical parcels for the cities future.  

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So, if the City Does a new City Hall N of I-84, what does that mean for the continued investment in spreading out downtown?

 

I mean, It seems like a good idea from a city standpoint, but if they do this, the old city hall better be used for something awesome, like more Wadsworth display space.

 

Also, will it be another 4 story building like the public safety complex?

 

We need the city to have density or else it will lack vibrancy.

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So I've been thinking on the need for focus/coordination with the developments happening in the city and greater hartford region.  I live very close to Union Station at the Hollander and everyday I notice the lack of connection of Union Station to the rest of downtown (and asylum hill for that matter).  With CT Fastrak and the NHHS rail coming on board over the next several years, creating this connection is critical to the success of these projects. 

 

I think perception is huge in getting people to walk between the two.  Currently Asylum Street can feel unsafe at night with little foot traffic, a lack of lighting over the sidewalks and 370 Asylum have gates surrounding it.  I think Intermodal Triangle improvements will help but mending the urban fabric is key.  I see NODO as a respectable idea (and it is definitely good to have a plan) but it is a distraction to what needs to be done.  The city should be working to bring 370 Asylum St online and filling in the parking lots (corner of Ann and Asylum and the one between Pearl and Asylum).  Asylum is the gateway for people entering downtown from the west.  What they currently see is a Welcome to Hartford sign and then parking lots and desolate sidewalks. 

 

I worry that the transportation improvements (CT Fastrak and NHHS), beautification (iquilt), and successful development (front street) will fail to capitalize on each other because of this lack of connection.  In my opinion, the level of synergy between these projects will greatly determine where we are in 5 years

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So I've been thinking on the need for focus/coordination with the developments happening in the city and greater hartford region.  I live very close to Union Station at the Hollander and everyday I notice the lack of connection of Union Station to the rest of downtown (and asylum hill for that matter).  With CT Fastrak and the NHHS rail coming on board over the next several years, creating this connection is critical to the success of these projects. 

 

I think perception is huge in getting people to walk between the two.  Currently Asylum Street can feel unsafe at night with little foot traffic, a lack of lighting over the sidewalks and 370 Asylum have gates surrounding it.  I think Intermodal Triangle improvements will help but mending the urban fabric is key.  I see NODO as a respectable idea (and it is definitely good to have a plan) but it is a distraction to what needs to be done.  The city should be working to bring 370 Asylum St online and filling in the parking lots (corner of Ann and Asylum and the one between Pearl and Asylum).  Asylum is the gateway for people entering downtown from the west.  What they currently see is a Welcome to Hartford sign and then parking lots and desolate sidewalks. 

 

I worry that the transportation improvements (CT Fastrak and NHHS), beautification (iquilt), and successful development (front street) will fail to capitalize on each other because of this lack of connection.  In my opinion, the level of synergy between these projects will greatly determine where we are in 5 years

 

Welcome to the forum! I think your spot on in your assessment. The Asylum street corridor is definitely key. The stretch between Union Place and Ann Street really does need to be made a whole lot more inviting.

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Getting Hollander II going is going to be critical to the part of town you live in.

 

I think, and I may (as usual) be overly optomistic, that Downtown West will really start to pick up after 179 Allyn Street and Hollander II come online.

the issue is that Hollander II has not started :(

 

Development pressure is going to be hard to develop in that part of town as long as there are those huge parking lots and as long as there is actual demand to park on them.

 

To me, the biggest short term fix over there is as you note getting Hollander II started... After this, it is honestly to get some actual construction on any of the following vacant lots....

 

1: The Hilton Lot (biggest opportunity downtown but least likely to happen for a while)

2: the Allyn Street surface lot in the middle there at 180 Allyn (likely the last major lot to ever develop downtown as it just is too big and has too little development pressure)

 

3: (this is where there may be a chance...)  The surface lot fronting Allyn, but across from 180 Allyn.   This lot has a huge street frontage and is used as parking for the Bond Hotel.... it however has amazing retail potential.   I think a 5 story building here could connect the west end of downtown very well,  it would likely fill its retail quickly with bars and eateries while offering about 100 units of housing above...  Economically I see this eas one of the easiest investments possible downtown.

 

4: The corner lot next to Blackbear facing the train station (to me this would be just amazing if developed as it would clean up the look of the area a great deal and make the tran station and bar scene feel safer.

5: the lots across from Black Bear.  there are 2.  Hard to develop and would not add much fabric to the area...

6: that lot that just webt for sale (4$ Mill.. too much) but it would maybe make people feel more like walking down to Black Eyed Sallys (something I did Sat night, and yeah its in need of more lighting and stuff)

 

 

so in recap...

once those 2 buildings open... every future change is gonna be a long shot and requires ground up copnstruction!!!   So, I hope that the ~100 new apartments are enough to improve the area enough to get a few more eateries along the park and more street lighting etc...

 

and lastly the city might want to consider creating some competition to the Allyn Street Surface lot. 

 

more comments upcoming on the other stuff said :)

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Whoever the tenant is that is necessitating building on Columbus must need a LOT of space because there are still spaces available at Front St. and new retail spaces coming at both the Times building and the new apartment building.

EDIT: Sorry wrong thread

Edited by Luca Brasi

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it may not be about space...

 

that why I think it is led by housing or lodging.

 

I mean what kind of retail space would possibly warrent new construction in Hartford downtown peripheral.

 

I think whatever it is, the retail opportu ities would be a secondary to some other primary use.

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