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IN PROGRESS: Front Street @ Adriaen's Landing


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Here's a crazy thought - why doesn't someone call Mr. Blue Back Square developer and ask him to ride in on his white horse to save Front St. and Hartford? He can use the same plans and build the exact same thing for all I care.

The fundamental problem is that if this site was still appealing to the private sector (developers and business owners), it would have already been developed by Nitkin or even Cohen.

Many months ago I voiced my disgust at this project and the state money it consumed. Little has happened since to change my view. As I witness the sea of gravel and growing weeds, I still think the land should be converted into a nice park until a firm development plan is cemented and construction begins.

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Oddly enough, I was just going to create a new thread about what Hartford can learn from other cities. Then I saw these posts. The Blue Back Square formula could absolutely work at Front Street, in fact, it should. Residential with ground floor retail, with a nice, tight fit. In fact, it could work on Capitol Ave as well. Brownstones or a Blue Back type deal, either would work for that area. It would get feet on the street, and in the air, that is paramount.

Also to be learned is what Bridgeport is doing with Steel Point. Imagine the North or South Meadows with that type of development, it would be huge for the city. The city cannot figure out how to use it's riverfront property. A nice park is good and all, but imagine the park with that development directly connected to it.

Tycoon, feel free to split this off if you feel it deserves it's own thread.

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This project really baffles me.

I know that I am not an experienced developer, but it seems as though my logic is strong regardless of experience.

The city and state were offering $70+ Million for this project!

The project was projected to cost about $150 Million.

Even if construction costs have risen signifigantly since these numbers were published and the total cost somehow rose to $250 Million THE STATE IS STILL CHIPPING IN $70+ MILLION!!

I dont know about you guys but if you told me I could invest $250 Million and after two years of construction I would get a refund of $70 Million I would be all over that. As an investment that represents a 19.44% return each year.

Once the construction was finished, and you as developer allready made $70 million, you would then continue to make money off of the 200+ housing units, and 150K+ sqft of retail.

If you concider 150,000 sqft of retail to be the developemnts footprint I ask you to then think that at 4-8 stories, the project total could easily range from 600K square feeet to 1.2 Million total square feet. I have no idea how this project could be risky.

Nitkin putting up 115 Apartments, and 60K retail on half the property seems also like a slam dunk. I mean its free money.

Once he gets this thing built, half of the land would still be available for development as well as 41 million is state monies. as per their origonal request the new developer would just need to build 85 housing units and 90k in retail to get those funds.

I know thaty if I were a developer I would be all over this project.

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That's the way I feel. I just have no idea why it's been so difficult to get this project moving.

I think the lack of momentum is an alarm to how little appeal the project has in the private sector. We are comming off one of the biggest real estate booms in 20 years, and yet most of the development in hartford had to be heavily subsidized. There just isn't the desire, by private developers, to invest in Hartford - even with the pot sweetend by large subsidies and tax abatements.

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I think the lack of momentum is an alarm to how little appeal the project has in the private sector. We are comming off one of the biggest real estate booms in 20 years, and yet most of the development in hartford had to be heavily subsidized. There just isn't the desire, by private developers, to invest in Hartford - even with the pot sweetend by large subsidies and tax abatements.

Or maybe it has something to do with Perez scaring off potential investors. Good job Hartford, you just elected the nails to seal Hartford's coffin.

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Or maybe it has something to do with Perez scaring off potential investors. Good job Hartford, you just elected the nails to seal Hartford's coffin.

I am not sure how perez has scared off potential investors. To me, Investors by their nature are forward thinking and they are not worried about current administrations so much. If there were no financial incentives attatched to the property I would maybe agree, but the state is all ready so behind this property that the current mayor is irrelevelt. This project will only have to operate for 2 years under this mayor and 2 years of construction. The 70 Million is guaranteed. The convention center is built and bringing people to the area. The science center is well under way and will be finished no matter who is mayor. Investors tend to look at things in 10-20 year segments.

I would love the developers of this project to embrace the water views achieved over top of the convention center. Columbus may never be a great retail street, but that does not mean that front street should house the only retail. Columbus could becon conventioners, and could encourage the convention centers expantion (theoretical as that may be) to include columbus street retail.

http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=53corn...-chicago-il-usa is the kind of building I want to see built on both blocks fronting columbus. Each building would house over 100 units. That building on Emporis was to have 96 luxury condos, but I would rather see 120 mid level condos in each building. This would not only fit architecturally, but would be appropriate density and height for this area.

just more useless pontificating

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I like that idea, and I think you should e-mail it to Brad Nitkin.

As for the mayor scaring off investors, I believe there is some truth to that. City Hall has a reputation of being unfriendly to business, just ask ING, MetLife, Mass Mutual and WFSB. Throw the Wolmans in there too.

What downtown development isn't the result of the state's help, and instead the city's?

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That's the way I feel. I just have no idea why it's been so difficult to get this project moving.

Aside from the issues around CCEDA mismanaging Front Street, I think a major problem continues to be the site's location. I think I may have indicated this a long time ago. When you look at Front Street, what do you see? To the east is the convention center; to the south is the Conland Highway; to the west is Prospect Street and the Wadsworth; to the north is Travelers.

The convention center has drawn many people to Hartford; that goes without argument. However, the center draws inconsistent crowds at inconsistent times. I have to say that during my numerous times to Hartford since the convention center opened, I've seen that area devoid of foot traffic more often than not.

The Conland Highway and its access roads comprise a big barrier between downtown and the Sheldon-Charter Oak neighborhood. The walk between them (on Columbus Boulevard) is loud, unpleasant, and not very pedestrian-friendly -- especially in terms of shade.

Prospect Street is a pleasant but dead street in terms of activity. Sure, there's a little foot traffic during the workday but nothing during off-hours. And the adjacent block of Main Street features nothing but City Hall, the Wadsworth, the MDC building, and Bushnell Tower (set back from the street).

Travelers speaks for itself. It's a large office complex and little else.

This is my point: Front Street does not connect to any other residential neighborhood or residential development in downtown Hartford. The site is relatively isolated from areas and businesses in the city that cater to nightlife and residents. Heck, even the river is cut off by the convention center. Unlike Blue Back Square, a development in Front Street cannot be easily integrated with an existing neighborhood where people already live. If I were a developer, this fact would make me very concerned.

Given the lack of private interest in Front Street over these past three to four years, I really think there should be a discussion on marketing the property for another purpose and focusing increased retail and residential interest in the areas that already have a "foundation population" so to speak.

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Aside from the issues around CCEDA mismanaging Front Street, I think a major problem continues to be the site's location. I think I may have indicated this a long time ago. When you look at Front Street, what do you see? To the east is the convention center; to the south is the Conland Highway; to the west is Prospect Street and the Wadsworth; to the north is Travelers.

The convention center has drawn many people to Hartford; that goes without argument. However, the center draws inconsistent crowds at inconsistent times. I have to say that during my numerous times to Hartford since the convention center opened, I've seen that area devoid of foot traffic more often than not.

The Conland Highway and its access roads comprise a big barrier between downtown and the Sheldon-Charter Oak neighborhood. The walk between them (on Columbus Boulevard) is loud, unpleasant, and not very pedestrian-friendly -- especially in terms of shade.

Prospect Street is a pleasant but dead street in terms of activity. Sure, there's a little foot traffic during the workday but nothing during off-hours. And the adjacent block of Main Street features nothing but City Hall, the Wadsworth, the MDC building, and Bushnell Tower (set back from the street).

Travelers speaks for itself. It's a large office complex and little else.

This is my point: Front Street does not connect to any other residential neighborhood or residential development in downtown Hartford. The site is relatively isolated from areas and businesses in the city that cater to nightlife and residents. Heck, even the river is cut off by the convention center. Unlike Blue Back Square, a development in Front Street cannot be easily integrated with an existing neighborhood where people already live. If I were a developer, this fact would make me very concerned.

Given the lack of private interest in Front Street over these past three to four years, I really think there should be a discussion on marketing the property for another purpose and focusing increased retail and residential interest in the areas that already have a "foundation population" so to speak.

You make a lot of very valid critiques regarding why the site is less than ideal and how difficult it may be to finally get something done there. I think you are correct regarding those hardships but I think they can be overcome. The site was originally chosen because it was a huge underutilized site that would have been perfect for the Patriots stadium originally intended for it. Now that the plan has fragmented into smaller parts it is getting hard to get the pieces to come together but I think it still can and should be developed fairly closely to the plan. The current plan calls for less intensive retail and more emphasis on entertainment and dining. I still think that we need to make an effort to get some of that stuff there for the sake of the Science Center and Convention Center. I also think it is a decent area for residential development.

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You make a lot of very valid critiques regarding why the site is less than ideal and how difficult it may be to finally get something done there. I think you are correct regarding those hardships but I think they can be overcome. The site was originally chosen because it was a huge underutilized site that would have been perfect for the Patriots stadium originally intended for it. Now that the plan has fragmented into smaller parts it is getting hard to get the pieces to come together but I think it still can and should be developed fairly closely to the plan. The current plan calls for less intensive retail and more emphasis on entertainment and dining. I still think that we need to make an effort to get some of that stuff there for the sake of the Science Center and Convention Center. I also think it is a decent area for residential development.

I see your point of view. And I certainly see the benefits of a mixed-use development on that site. The fundamental problem is that nothing substantial has happened now for several years! Sure, there may be some blame placed on CCEDA, Cohen and Nikin for various actions or blunders. Despite all that, if there was adequate private interest to invest in a mixed-use development at Front Street, then the project would have been constructed already and this thread would have been put to rest a long time ago. Maybe we'd all be sharing a pint now at the Arch Street Tavern marveling at the urban wonder that is Front Street. My point is that developers have no incentive to indefinitely delay a project like this unless the site is failing to attract adequate private interest and investment.

I don't know what long-term use could be considered for that site. I'll think about it. But given the indefinite delays and broken promises, a discussion needs to take place about re-thinking Front Street, especially if we don't see action from Nitkin in the near future.

Edited by Yankee.Peddler
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The site had developers ready to go right out of the box. But the first group in wanted to put a lot more residential units than the city wanted, and the city declined. In retrospect, that was a stupid, stupid move.

Ultimately there is a lot more right with the site than wrong with it. You have the CCC, close proximity to to Travelers and Phoenix and downtown workers, easy highway access, there should be ample parking, and, of course, a boatload of financing. Someone will eventually figure out how to make t work.

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You make a lot of very valid critiques regarding why the site is less than ideal and how difficult it may be to finally get something done there. I think you are correct regarding those hardships but I think they can be overcome. The site was originally chosen because it was a huge underutilized site that would have been perfect for the Patriots stadium originally intended for it. Now that the plan has fragmented into smaller parts it is getting hard to get the pieces to come together but I think it still can and should be developed fairly closely to the plan. The current plan calls for less intensive retail and more emphasis on entertainment and dining. I still think that we need to make an effort to get some of that stuff there for the sake of the Science Center and Convention Center. I also think it is a decent area for residential development.

I defy anyone to prove to me that an NFL FOOTBALL STADIUM would have EVER fit in the space bordered by: the Founders Bridge/Riverfront Plaza, the CT River, the Whitehead Highway, the Travelers Plaza Building, and The Wadsworth/City Hall. Simply would not fit. Was it going to go over the river or over the Whitehead all the way to Colt??? Anyone have pictures of the plans?

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I defy anyone to prove to me that an NFL FOOTBALL STADIUM would have EVER fit in the space bordered by: the Founders Bridge/Riverfront Plaza, the CT River, the Whitehead Highway, the Travelers Plaza Building, and The Wadsworth/City Hall. Simply would not fit. Was it going to go over the river or over the Whitehead all the way to Colt??? Anyone have pictures of the plans?

Check out the first page of this thread.

Hartfordpatriotsstadium.jpg

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