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asylumhill

COMPLETED: Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts Center

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I read about it in the Hartford Courant this morning. Sounds a like a great plan.

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That old Car Dealership has been vacant for a bit, it's nice that it will blossom into something great....

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This is just the start for the total re invention of that area. Once Westbrook Village is redeveloped, the potential will be huge. I'm so happy they are doing this, being as how I grew up around the corner and my parents still live in the neighborhood.

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It is about time this thing got off the ground. This was originally supposed to open in 2004! I remember attending orientation on campus and them talking about how we would all get to enjoy the facility during our sophmore year. I'm glad to hear the state is kicking in the remaining 4 million. I just hope groundbreaking starts soon.

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Its great to see UHART finally investing in Hartford...between the Performing Arts Center and the dorms down at Sage Allen downtown this is great.

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This is just the start for the total re invention of that area. Once Westbrook Village is redeveloped, the potential will be huge. I'm so happy they are doing this, being as how I grew up around the corner and my parents still live in the neighborhood.

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I agree that this is really terrific news. I also should mention that on your suggestion, I took a drive up Ridgefield Street last weekend, and it really is beautiful. I hadn't focused on this before, but Blue Hills really is separate and distinct from North East and the neighborhoods on the other side of Keney Park, and it seems to me that it rather unfairly gets lumped into the term "North End," when news reports of violence east of Keney Park are reported.

Anyway, the point of this post was to ask about Westbrook Village. What is that, and how is it being redeveloped. Is that the neighborhood of brick housing just over the Park River / RR tracks on the north side of Albany Avenue?

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This is just the start for the total re invention of that area. Once Westbrook Village is redeveloped, the potential will be huge. I'm so happy they are doing this, being as how I grew up around the corner and my parents still live in the neighborhood.

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Hahaha "To be completed in 2005" How typical. :P

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The courant does a horrible job keeping up with this stuff so I figured I'd give an update. The State Bond Commission agreed to give 4 million to Uhart on Saturday. President Harrison announced today that groundbreaking will be in March/April. This is great news. The subject title should be changed to, "IN PROGRESS: University of Hartford Performing Arts Center" :thumbsup:

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Ex-Dealership Nearly Ready For Close-Up

UofH Performing Arts Center Opening In Summer

Tom Condon

December 16, 2007

I was a bit skeptical when the deal was announced back in 2000. University of Hartford president Walter Harrison was going to turn a former car dealership on Albany Avenue into a performing arts center, at a cost of about $20 million. Could he raise the money? Could the building be saved? Was this a good idea?

It's taken eight years, but the former Thomas Cadillac property at the corner of Albany and Westbourne Parkway is indeed becoming the Irma and Mort Handel Performing Arts Center (Mr. Handel of West Hartford is a former Coleco executive). It will open next summer and be ready for the fall semester.

I walked through it the other day with university executive vice president John Carson and architect Tyler Smith, who has designed the restoration. The building, built in 1929, has been taken down to its brick and concrete shell which, fortunately, is in good shape.

The main building is much, much bigger than it appears from the street. If you look up at the building from Albany Avenue, you see the main part of the structure, which used to be the showroom. That's what you were intended to look at.

But behind the showroom, heading north toward Granby Street, is a series of connecting buildings, originally built with slanting floors so cars could be moved through various stations of maintenance and final assembly in the early days.

Taken together, the main complex has 51,000 square feet, enough for theaters, classrooms and five dance studios, along with some small retail shops, such a coffee shop and a bank.

Seen in its structural underwear, the building is spare and utilitarian, with some understated design touches.

It might have been torn down, regardless, except Harrison knew of the architect.

The building was designed by Albert Kahn, who is well regarded for his commercial and industrial buildings, as well as an array of public buildings. The key is that many of them are in Michigan, including the milelong Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn. Kahn (no relation to architect Louis Kahn) designed several major buildings on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Before coming to the University of Hartford, Walt Harrison was a vice president of UM.

When told the Thomas Cadillac structure had been designed by Albert Kahn, Harrison responded: "You mean the Albert Kahn?" The building would be restored, not demolished.

Courant Article

One of my favorite and IMO most important projects in the city is progressing. I can't wait to see this arts center completed and eventually the Westbrook Village development redeveloped as well.

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http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/news6273.html

I think we ignored, or forgot about this project too much. someone should have gotten construction photos.

Its a great thing that UHART is pushing into the neighborhood. opening this will surely bring more cops to the area as the patrons come to the area, and I hope make a bit of a beach head in the North End.

Eyesore Transformed Into Fine Arts Gem

A long-vacant eyesore on Albany Avenue has been renovated into a fine arts jewel, thanks to the largest fundraising project ever by the University of Hartford.

The Handel Performing Arts Center will serve as a classroom and showcase for roughly 250 dance and theater students at the university

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It's a great project and there is a lot of potential in this area. This is very close to my neighborhood and I would love to see it become more solidly middle class. If Westbourne Pkwy can become a mix of middle class and college students, that would be great. Most of the houses on that street have great fixer up potential and with the right investment in the surrounding neighborhood could be the first neighborhood to really rebound outside of downtown. Once the Westbrook Village Housing Project is addressed and re-invented as something useful and attractive connecting the West End, Blue Hills, and UHart, the momentum will be on our side. This area is close to the wealthiest parts of Hartford and the most solidly middle class and really deserves investment. This is not charity.

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As a beneficiary of Say Yes To Education I knew Mort and Erma Handel very well for a good period of my life. I am proud that something was done in my old neighborhood in their honor. Not sure how I feel about the U of H expanding much beyond this, in that area. There are certain demographic I'd like to see maintained.

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As a beneficiary of Say Yes To Education I knew Mort and Erma Handel very well for a good period of my life. I am proud that something was done in my old neighborhood in their honor. Not sure how I feel about the U of H expanding much beyond this, in that area. There are certain demographic I'd like to see maintained.

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As a beneficiary of Say Yes To Education I knew Mort and Erma Handel very well for a good period of my life. I am proud that something was done in my old neighborhood in their honor. Not sure how I feel about the U of H expanding much beyond this, in that area. There are certain demographic I'd like to see maintained.

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Personally, I was raised here and I want to see some degree of demographic change. The area is shedding it's higher income residents. I'd like to reverse that and get the property values increased thereby making the neighborhood more exclusive. I don't want to see a mass displacement of residents, but think the neighborhood in general needs to become more attractive to middle class residents again much as it was when my family moved there in the 80's. When I was growing up on Canterbury St. Doctors, high ranking city officials, lawyers, executives ect. were all moving in. That is not what I see now and would like to get back to that. Hartford needs to shed some of the poverty. There's no perfect way to accomplish this. One great place to start is opening up Westbrook Village and Bowles Park to higher income demographics. The city can't knock those eyesores down soon enough IMO.

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Off Topic: Do you or Voice happen to read The Monocle? It seems to be specifically written for this forums readership.

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Hartford Courant: Tom Condon - Former Dealership Transformed Into Stunning New U Of H Performing Arts Center

SmithEdwards Architects is on a roll. The Hartford firm will complete two major university-related restoration projects this month: Trinity College's Long Walk (see accompanying article) and the Hartt School's Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts Center of the University of Hartford.

I visited the arts center, the former Thomas Cadillac property at the corner of Albany Avenue and Westboune Parkway, in the winter, before the new windows and many of the interior amenities went in. It looked promising.

It's now finished and scheduled to open Friday morning. It is tremendously cool, a remarkable and counterintuitive reuse of a commercial building.

The one-story brick building was constructed in 1929 to the design of architect Albert Kahn, well-known for his commercial and industrial buildings, including the mile-long Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The Hartford showroom was purposely put on the rise commanding the busy intersection.

What becomes clear only on closer examination is that the building is much bigger than it appears. Buildings connect to the showroom section. Cars rolled through the elongated structures for maintenance and final assembly in those early days.

It all works. Kids starting classes were excited. "I'm just happy as hell," said a smiling Harrison as we walked through the facility Tuesday. That the building came in on time and under budget didn't detract from his sunny disposition. Interestingly, the opening of the arts center has drawn some development interest in at least one major abandoned building on Homestead Avenue, which Westbourne Parkway connects with across Albany Avenue.

After the arts center opening on Friday at 11 a.m. — which will feature some vintage Cadillacs, including a 1940 model owned by university benefactor Alfred Fuller — attention should turn to the west of the property. That is now the home of the aging and decrepit Westbrook Village housing project.

The project is in need of renewal. There is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redevelop that property with a mix of uses that enhance both the neighborhood and the university. This project ought to get a lot of attention in the next year.

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HARTT_DSC_8027_WEB.jpg

Mort & Irma Handel Performing Arts Center

I'm very happy that this project has been completed. Hopefully we will see some more improvements, such as tearing down Westbrook Village soon. I'm optimistic.

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Hartford Courant: Tom Condon - Former Dealership Transformed Into Stunning New U Of H Performing Arts Center

SmithEdwards Architects is on a roll. The Hartford firm will complete two major university-related restoration projects this month: Trinity College's Long Walk (see accompanying article) and the Hartt School's Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts Center of the University of Hartford.

I visited the arts center, the former Thomas Cadillac property at the corner of Albany Avenue and Westboune Parkway, in the winter, before the new windows and many of the interior amenities went in. It looked promising.

It's now finished and scheduled to open Friday morning. It is tremendously cool, a remarkable and counterintuitive reuse of a commercial building.

The one-story brick building was constructed in 1929 to the design of architect Albert Kahn, well-known for his commercial and industrial buildings, including the mile-long Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The Hartford showroom was purposely put on the rise commanding the busy intersection.

What becomes clear only on closer examination is that the building is much bigger than it appears. Buildings connect to the showroom section. Cars rolled through the elongated structures for maintenance and final assembly in those early days.

It all works. Kids starting classes were excited. "I'm just happy as hell," said a smiling Harrison as we walked through the facility Tuesday. That the building came in on time and under budget didn't detract from his sunny disposition. Interestingly, the opening of the arts center has drawn some development interest in at least one major abandoned building on Homestead Avenue, which Westbourne Parkway connects with across Albany Avenue.

After the arts center opening on Friday at 11 a.m.

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Have you ever heard the Black Governers ideas on turning the area around Woodland in the center of Black American culture in CT? I think with the two arts center sandwiching B.A.N.K & Blue Hills the area has pretty great potential especially if it is any legitamacy behind the governors plans. Honestly, I am pretty excited thanks for th article.

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