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Hartford Impresses the Corporate Scouts


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Hartford is officially at the point when people come to visit they are impressed and pleasantly surprised. :D Now lets keep up the momentum and completelely awe them next time they come to town.

In Greater Hartford, A Defining Moment

Tour Impresses Corporate Scouts


And KENNETH R. GOSSELIN Courant Staff Writers

August 28 2005

Whispers about the Hartford area have caught wind.

And they are building into a buzz.

For two days last week, real estate scouts who help companies find sites for their operations visited Greater Hartford to see what the region has to offer.

They left with an impression of an area taking wing - home to more than just the insurance industry, pleasantly uncongested, with an ample supply of educated workers, and, oh yeah, with a Cabela's superstore on the way.

Although the metropolitan area still faces significant obstacles, it's a noteworthy shift from the impression site consultants had of the region just two years ago.

"There's a lot more here than I thought there was. I didn't realize how much the area has to offer," said Joseph Callanan, president of Dallas-based Trammell Crow's Northeast region.

Several consultants echoed Callanan's pleasant surprise over the course of a two-day tour, which was coordinated by the MetroHartford Alliance in an attempt to put the region on the radar screen for this key constituency.

Site location consultants and their counterparts within a corporation play a critical role in the economic development process. Companies use them to help find sites that have the basic ingredients required to set up operations: an affordable, educated workforce that has industry skills or can be readily trained; access to suppliers and the main raw ingredients that go into their products; proximity to customers; and a transportation system that connects them all.

To Hartford's economic development officials, site selectors are gatekeepers to corporations - and the jobs, tax base and increased economic activity that accompany them.

Wooing business to set up shop in the area would help accelerate the region's economy, which has struggled for years to create jobs. The unemployment rate in Greater Hartford is among the top in the state, which in turn lags the nation in job growth.

"We needed to let the site selectors see that we can compete throughout the U.S. for new business and that we're a viable location for businesses to locate to," said Marie Bonelli, a spokeswoman for the alliance.

As a result of the tour, she said, "Hopefully they'll think of us."

The alliance sponsored its first tour for site selectors nearly three years ago and got an earful: The Hartford area wasn't on the map nationally as an option for expansion or relocation. Marketing efforts needed to be ramped up. Economic development websites, with information about available space and land, needed to be created or the area wouldn't be considered.

Since then, a website with thousands of pieces of information about the Hartford-Springfield area has gone up. Hartford now has a state-of-the-art convention center, an upscale hotel opened last week, and hundreds of apartments and condominiums are being built downtown.

Dennis J. Donovan, who heads site selecting firm Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting in New Jersey, said efforts to raise the Hartford area's profile nationally are, for the most part, beginning to gain momentum.

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A great read. The mass transit problem is one that I've always been concerned with. Hartford needs to get on the horse with ideas for viable mass transit. Also, great timing with bringing people in during the GHO. I wish I could have been on one of those helicopter rides.....

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