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HartfordTycoon

Old MassMutual HQ in Asylum Hill to be Demolished

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I have mixed feelings on this. It's a beautiful building and it truly does seem a shame to simply tear it down. However, the market has kind of spoken on this building and there is simply no real demand for it to be reused the way we would like to see right now. The donation of land for a magnet school is a great idea and hopefully they can add some mixed use elements and not simply parking since they are committed to the city and want to help play a role in its revitalization.

Demolition Deal

The Hartford's Asylum Hill Idea: Parking, Magnet School

By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN

Courant Staff Writer

December 19, 2007

The Hartford is planning to buy the former MassMutual headquarters in the city's Asylum Hill neighborhood and demolish it, including the original 1926 structure and portico, to make way for parking.

An announcement of the planned purchase will be made today, including The Hartford's intention to donate a portion of the 16-acre site to the city for a magnet school.

Once the property is acquired, The Hartford intends to move quickly on its plans for demolition, which could come as soon as June, company officials said. It also is launching a study to investigate how the property should be used in the future and how it might play a role in the revitalization of Asylum Hill as envisioned by community leaders.

"Hartford has been our home for nearly 200 years, and we are proud to express our continued commitment to the city," said Ramani Ayer, The Hartford's chairman and chief executive. "The purchase will strengthen our connection to the Asylum Hill neighborhood, affording us the flexibility to remain headquartered here and enhancing our options to participate in future development initiatives."

Courant Article

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Ridiculous, make that building into the magnet school.

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Ridiculous, make that building into the magnet school.

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34341405.jpg

Pretty soon the surface lots on Asylum Hill will abut the surface lots north of downtown.

Is there no incentive for building a garage on their own site?

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Just what we need... another surface parking lot. The Hartford could be one of the worst corporate tenants the city has. Instead of contributing to thier neighborhood and building an urban fabric, they have built a walled-in paved-over office park in the middle of Hartford's once great Asylum Hill. Just look at that ariel view and the sea of parking lots.

Blame the city for allowing this. First they tore down a street of 19th century houses for a parking lot for MassMutual... now this. I am disgusted by the demolition of this beautiful building. As mentioned above, those that run this city have learned NOTHING. In a few years articles will be written about how this beautiful structure was ever allowed to be torn down. Of course Eddie Perez thinks this is a great idea. I wonder if Abe Giles is going to run this lot...

The city should have worked out a deal to move more of The Hartford's operations into this building to expand the workforce downtown while still preserving this building.

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34341405.jpg

Pretty soon the surface lots on Asylum Hill will abut the surface lots north of downtown.

Is there no incentive for building a garage on their own site?

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This makes me sick. I live on Fraser and enjoy looking out my front window and seeing the old building and the grounds that are so beautiful in the fall. There is a giant oak right on the corner which I suppose they will destroy also. I can't believe that the Hartford needs that much more parking than what already exists around the grounds. In a meeting with the current owners they said the major issue with many potential tenants was safety, which could easily been adressed by having security at each of the lots and have those who work later park in the lots right next to the building. Plus if they had used Myrtle Street in their ads rather than Garden which has a bad reputation they might have attracted more. I suppose the Hartford is also buying the apartment buildings on Myrtle that go with the property. Given their history of destroying housing that is kind of scary.

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There definately are better things to do than level 450,000 square feet of office space in favor of parking.

I would like to see some more garages built in and around this city. Surface lots make so little sense, not only in an asthetic way, a space useage way, but most importantly in a practical way concidering New England weather. I understand flat lots in nicer climates, but garage space is really much more practical in the North East.

I think the oldest part of the building should be turned into the magnet school. If not, how about asking Uhart if they need additional space. I always thought the old insurance buildings more resembled university buildings than office.

but to more practical concerns. The property was bought for 7 mill by those developers who are now sellinng to The Hartford. I can only assume they are selling at close to cost. How much is the city helping? If the city is helping, how far would those monies go towards building a parking garage. Furthermore, how much of a parking garage would 7 million buy?

so in short its a bad investment for The Hartford in terms of parking per $, but likely a good idea concidering the land grab associated with it.

Blah Im scatterbrained today

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There already is a parking garage for the Mass Mutual building. It makes no sense to tear down this building to create even MORE parking.

Since the Hartford has said they are open to ideas, the city needs to assemble a task force to figure out a use for this property that benefits all. Since the Hartford owns it, the city should consider incentives that will allow the Hartford to move more jobs downtown. Any plan should include the following...

1. Using at least the original structure for more office space for the Hartford. Demolish the additions.

2. Space for a magnet school.

3. Construction of housing that will integrate a residential component to replace the houses that were needlessly demolished on Fraser Place a few years back.

4. Possible construction of a new parking garage if it is at all neccessary.

Proponents (like Perez) of this awful plan are already arguing that this building only dates from the 1920's so it is not a historical building. That's BS. Its a beautiful structure that WILL be historical in time. Destroying it now with the argument that its only 80-90 years old is senseless.

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Surface parking is the absolute worst use of land ever. There is one building, the butt-ugly building, that needs to be a surface parking lot (for now), there are NO other buildings that need to be knocked down for surface parking. Period, exclamation point.

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It's too outmoded and too many changes have been made over the years, he said Tuesday.

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OK so all reservations a side, I was just looking at this building from Microsofts virtual earth birds eye mode.

You can see that there have several additions, and then many renovations.

I understand what "they" mean when they say it has been changed quite a bit as an argument to it not being historic. I am sure its impressive on the inside, but the biggest problem here is the size of the building. its too big to preserve really. if it was 45000Sq ft some law firm would take it, but 460K thats big enough for over 2000 employees, and todays office needs require modern communications technology that I am sure that building greatly lacks. Just too much money to bring it up to snuff.

I love old buildings! but I can see how this building might be more of a hassle than a company would want to deal with. Aetna spent boatloads of money on their building, but it is "THE" Aetna building. No one, but a company that does not exist anymore would invest that kind of money in this gem. So I guess the problem is that since it makes no ecomomic sense, and since there is not a campany that would fix it up for historical reasons, it will fall on the public to pay for fixing it up (lot likely) or private industry will recycle the land. Pretty sad, but the real crime was commited when Conn. Mutual was bought.

Heres to hoping that The Hartford does more than just park there.

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Wishful thinking here, but maybe they can just style the new building similar to the old one. I know the old style buildings like the old MassMutual have faded out of style for the cheaper glass and steel. But if The Hartford was dedicated to the city, why not put up something impressive architecturally.

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This is ridiculously shortsighted, and something members on this board should take an active stance against. If we care about Hartford and its future we should not let our history get torn down for another parking lot. The state should help rehab this building and incorporate the older structure into the magnet school or they could find one of the dozens of other empty lots in the city and build the magnet school there.

Something needs to be done about this, and for starters I'd like to author a letter (to The Hartford, Eddie Perez, the City Council, and perhaps the state as well) if others are willing to help find enough information about the building so that I can make an informed case for its preservation.

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Proponents (like Perez) of this awful plan are already arguing that this building only dates from the 1920's so it is not a historical building. That's BS. Its a beautiful structure that WILL be historical in time. Destroying it now with the argument that its only 80-90 years old is senseless.

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A silver lining that is not really silver.

If this building is destroyed it would make hartford looks like a better office investment to the outside world.

I know its crap, but the Office vacancy for Hartford would go from 16.45% to 14.87% And office vacancy in the CBD would go from 15.42% to 11.46%

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Yes, and think of all that surface parking!!!!!!

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A silver lining that is not really silver.

If this building is destroyed it would make hartford looks like a better office investment to the outside world.

I know its crap, but the Office vacancy for Hartford would go from 16.45% to 14.87% And office vacancy in the CBD would go from 15.42% to 11.46%

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I swear that Eddie backed this stupid plan just to get his magnet school that turned into an embarrassing debacle at the corner of Broad and Farmington.

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I just received a letter from the city notifying me that an intent to demolishhas been filed for 140 Garden. I don't know if the Hartford would automatically file this even though it's not decided yet or if it's all definitely coming down.

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Hey I found something on "The Hartford's" web site.

that I do not recall reading before.

http

://www.thehartford.com/servlet/Satelli...age%2FFullPage

***Snips***

Once the purchase is complete, The Hartford will begin to use the Garden Street property's parking and garage to make way for new construction on The Hartford's present campus and relieve the parking overflow that requires many employees to leave their cars at remote lots and be bussed into headquarters. With approval from the city, The Hartford may begin to use portions of the parking prior to final purchase.

***

Second, the plans call for The Hartford to use some of its existing parking area to invest in a $70-million-dollar capital improvement project to upgrade its technology infrastructure.

***

Future development

The increased size of The Hartford's headquarters campus footprint will provide the company flexibility to engage with stakeholders in discussions related to all of The Hartford's real estate holdings on Asylum Hill. The Hartford will be able to consider, for example - in a way that it now cannot without the Garden Street property - future uses for some of the property it owns that front on Asylum Avenue.

Not sure what this all means, but if any of it is to be believed The Hartford plans on redeveloping some of its land especially its Asylum street frontage.

lets hope something good comes from all of this.

I also wanted to bump this topic since its been a while and we have not seen any recent developments in this saga.

pappa bear any news?

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They have been parking in the lots around for a couple of weeks. I imagine they are using the garage too, there shuttles circling around in the morning and evening. It's kind of nice having some life back in the area even if it does empty out before the sun goes down. I look out the window every day at the landscaping, soon the daffodils will be out, spring flowering shrubs will come later. In the article on the Hartford's site they spoke of the negative of the old building so I suspect one of these days I'll see the wrecking ball arriving. I haven't been able to get to the meetings they had with the city so I have no real news. I've been thinking that when the end arrives at ING I'll take a job with The Hartford's security. The sit in back of one of the lots in their vehicles and chat with each other all day.

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