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PROPOSED: AI Tech Center

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The owner of a Middletown-based company has bought the WFSB-Channel 3 Broadcast House at the heart of Hartford's Constitution Plaza and says he plans to demolish the now-vacant structure and erect a 100,000-square-foot "tech building."

"I have benefited from Hartford. My first job as a young engineer was in a Hartford firm," said Abul Islam, owner of AI Engineers Inc. "Now I want to come back to Hartford

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Well.... its not bad as news stories go...

Introductions are in order -- My name is Dan Whittemore, an Associate Vice President at AI Engineers and, right now, one of the leads for this project. Yes, this is for real. :thumbsup:

I've been waiting quite a while for this story to break, as I've been lurking here for quite a long while. I'm a big fan of a number of the active posters here - and we've made note of what many of you have been saying.

We are not a developer. We are a medium-sized, locally based engineering firm that thinks that, despite our size, we can make a difference. And, while I can't say too much right now, bigger news is still on the way. Stay tuned - we're aiming to make a one-of-a-kind building that every citizen of Hartford can be proud of.

Dan Whittemore

AI Engineers, Inc.

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Help me out....Generally speaking...how tall might a 100,000 sq. ft. building be in this sized footprint?

Been away from the board for a while....but glad to be back posting, btw.

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Dan,

How tall will the building be?

It really is too soon to say. While we have some broad outlining goals, this building is still in the early phases of development Truth be told, our hand has been forced somewhat by the Courant article.

At this stage, everything you have read regarding the building, including the 100,000 SF number, is not set in stone. We are working hard in finalize all of this to give eveyone a better picture of our vision for this location, including the all important render. Please stay tuned...

Dan Whittemore

AI Engineers, Inc.

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Well.... its not bad as news stories go...

Introductions are in order -- My name is Dan Whittemore, an Associate Vice President at AI Engineers and, right now, one of the leads for this project. Yes, this is for real. :thumbsup:

I've been waiting quite a while for this story to break, as I've been lurking here for quite a long while. I'm a big fan of a number of the active posters here - and we've made note of what many of you have been saying.

We are not a developer. We are a medium-sized, locally based engineering firm that thinks that, despite our size, we can make a difference. And, while I can't say too much right now, bigger news is still on the way. Stay tuned - we're aiming to make a one-of-a-kind building that every citizen of Hartford can be proud of

Dan Whittemore

AI Engineers, Inc.

I can only say thank you for making your business decision a personal one.

Welcome.... A big welcome to the board!

Cheers!

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Well.... its not bad as news stories go...

Introductions are in order -- My name is Dan Whittemore, an Associate Vice President at AI Engineers and, right now, one of the leads for this project. Yes, this is for real. :thumbsup:

I've been waiting quite a while for this story to break, as I've been lurking here for quite a long while. I'm a big fan of a number of the active posters here - and we've made note of what many of you have been saying.

We are not a developer. We are a medium-sized, locally based engineering firm that thinks that, despite our size, we can make a difference. And, while I can't say too much right now, bigger news is still on the way. Stay tuned - we're aiming to make a one-of-a-kind building that every citizen of Hartford can be proud of.

Dan Whittemore

AI Engineers, Inc.

Welcome to the boards; insider knowledge and perspective is always greatly appreciated. The addition of a company headquarters is always the best kind of news and the prospect of a "one-of-a-kind" building (and demolition of a blighted one) makes it all the sweeter.

Edited by Chessplayer

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Help me out....Generally speaking...how tall might a 100,000 sq. ft. building be in this sized footprint?

Been away from the board for a while....but glad to be back posting, btw.

The existing building is 80,000 so not much bigger than what is there now. Another way to look at it is that the building I work in has 18,000 sf floor plates. but like he said who knows what the design and or final sq will be. This is extremely exciting news. I hope that the local government does not find a way to mess this up.

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Welcome to the boards; insider knowledge and perspective is always greatly appreciated. The addition of a company headquarters is always the best kind of news and the prospect of a "one-of-a-kind" building (and demolition of a blighted one) makes it all the sweeter.

Well -- the insider knowledge seemed only fair as I've been (unknowingly!) rummaging through all of your heads for so long now...

Dan Whittemore

AI Engineers, Inc.

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I really don't care about the height. I'd love to see something as unique as the Phoenix Building; given that this is an engineering firm perhaps it'll be a LEED gold/platinum building? Incorporating conservation into design can make a structure quite striking. I also hope the ground floor is inviting; office or not it should function within the urban context - something the Phoenix Building (for all its architectural merit) fails at.

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This is awesome news!!!!!!!! I hope it's a tall tower, but if not I'm sure whatever is developed will help Hartford immensely.

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Terrific News! Thanks, DanielW and welcome to UP!

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This really is great news. I also like the idea that the city is actively trying to either condemn or take the Clarion Hotel by ED. I like that the city has a redevelopment plan.

What a great addition to Constitution Plaza. The city needs more people like AI.

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I also like the idea that the city is actively trying to either condemn or take the Clarion Hotel by ED. I like that the city has a redevelopment plan.

They've been talking about condemning using ED for the Clarion Hotel for years. Don't put too much stock into it happening any time soon.

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They've been talking about condemning using ED for the Clarion Hotel for years. Don't put too much stock into it happening any time soon.

I'm very familiar with the Clarion situation... I however did not know that the city had an actual redevelopment plan for the area.

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I really don't care about the height. I'd love to see something as unique as the Phoenix Building; given that this is an engineering firm perhaps it'll be a LEED gold/platinum building? Incorporating conservation into design can make a structure quite striking. I also hope the ground floor is inviting; office or not it should function within the urban context - something the Phoenix Building (for all its architectural merit) fails at.

Did you see the press release on our website? Again, I have no official word, but there are a few clues sprinkled in there as to what we're thinking.

Dan Whittemore

AI Engineers, Inc.

Edited by DanielW

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I'm assuming that the new building won't be much higher than Broadcast House due to only a 25% increase in square footage, and also assuming a better use of space. Personally, I think it would be great to have a 10 story building with a 600ft space needle on top (just kidding, kinda). Welcome to the boards Daniel, have at it....

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Did you see the press release on our website? Again, I have no official word, but there are a few clues sprinkled in there as to what we're thinking.

Dan Whittemore

AI Engineers, Inc.

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Did you see the press release on our website? Again, I have no official word, but there are a few clues sprinkled in there as to what we're thinking.

Dan Whittemore

AI Engineers, Inc.

Dan, I am not sure you know the answer to this, but I think it worth asking.

with this as my preface:

It is my opinion that a new office building in Hartford would generate significant interest from the existing office tennants. and even pull from the burbs. We have had no new offices in this city in decades, and it is this reason many potential tennants choose new construction in the burbs.

I wonder, if "you" would be finalizing design before shopping the space around, or will you be shopping the space around before you finalize the design.

Meaning that if someone is interested in a decent sized chunk of space would you build larger than 100k? how much larger?

I ask partially due to my thoughts that there is a demand for LEED buildings in Hartford and also Trevelers just across the street is leasing space like crazy.

<LI>Mr. Michael Sherber, PE, LEED-AP, has recently joined AI Engineers, Inc. as the Director of Facilities to oversee all mechanical, electrical and plumbing projects. He has over 20 years of experience as an Engineer-In-Charge/Project Manager on various facilities projects and is the first engineer in the State of Connecticut to be a LEED-Accredited Professional (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). We are glad to welcome him to our team!

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Dan, I am not sure you know the answer to this, but I think it worth asking.

with this as my preface:

It is my opinion that a new office building in Hartford would generate significant interest from the existing office tennants. and even pull from the burbs. We have had no new offices in this city in decades, and it is this reason many potential tennants choose new construction in the burbs.

I wonder, if "you" would be finalizing design before shopping the space around, or will you be shopping the space around before you finalize the design.

Meaning that if someone is interested in a decent sized chunk of space would you build larger than 100k? how much larger?

I ask partially due to my thoughts that there is a demand for LEED buildings in Hartford and also Trevelers just across the street is leasing space like crazy.

.... Its a great question, and it says a lot about the insight you have in city workings.

You know I can't answer it. :rolleyes:

I wish I could share beyond what I already have, really I do. You folks have been such a good source of insight into what is going on with Hartford in its current state, I felt like I owed it to you all to say thanks. And, for the record -- we're still watching - I don't want that relationship to end by any means. Feel free to keep putting in your wishlist items and personal thoughts on our little project.

But please understand that this project is vitally important to all of us working on it. We sincerely stand by our original statement that we want to make this a project that you will all be proud of. I can't -- I won't -- do anything here to muck any of that up, even in an indirect way.

The project, as I have said, is in the early planning stages. Nothing is set in stone as of today. The story in the Courant has certainly gathered interest, and we will see what and where that interest will lead to.

So, until the time that I can release more - and that day is coming soon - the most I can do is the occasional wink, nudge, and/or a redirect to the company website and press release.

Dan Whittemore

AI Engineers, Inc.

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thanks for the info! any hints on a timeline? when might we expect ground breaking? (i have no concept of how these things proceed).

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Feel free to keep putting in your wishlist items and personal thoughts on our little project.

I've heard (indirectly) that many companies give discounts to workers willing to live in or near downtown. Is AI considering such incentives for its employees?

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.... Its a great question, and it says a lot about the insight you have in city workings.

you flatter me.

Seriously, I feel fairly naive most of the time but thats mostly because I recently (3yrs) moved here.

And, for the record -- we're still watching - I don't want that relationship to end by any means. Feel free to keep putting in your wishlist items and personal thoughts on our little project.

Oh, now you've done it. You went and opened up a can of worms. :)

For the people who want a highrise or something

the current building has

10,852 SF in the basement

12,400 SF on the first floor

16,148 SF on the 2nd floor

20,618 SF on the 3rd floor

12,656 SF on the 4th floor

totalling 72,674 SF

The current foot print is 182X132 according to the city. This is pretty close to the entire property size of .55 acres or 23,958 SF

A large portion of the first floor is taken up by parking ramps. I am just guessing here but I would assume the basement is used for broadcast equipment or editing or some such stuff.

I would think that any new building hoping to reach the goals put fourth would interact wih the street. Therefore including retail street frontage would be a high priority, and possibly retail on the 2nd or 3rd floor where it interacts with the plaza and part of state street due to the incline. Retail might not be the right word since there is mention of some kind of training center or what not for young engineers, but I could easily see the first 3 floors being used for purposes other than office. The design of this building being interesting, or something we can be proud of means it is likely to be a cube.

The only floor of broadcast house that is really all office is the 3rd floor. At 20,618 SF it is quite a sizable floor plate. If you lose a few thousand SF to some kind of interesting asthetic design the office could easily be 6 stories tall. this means at 100,000 I would not get my hopes up for anything more than a total height of 8 floors from Columbus. AI would occupy 2 floors leaving another 4 to lease.

for scale purposes only

_Exterior.jpg

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Dan, do the metro Hartford area a favor and have your demolition company "accidentally" place a couple of charges about 50 yards north of Broadcast House and knock that rat infested hotel down.

I have a funny story about that hotel...

A few years back they had an open house inside the hotel where they were selling all the dirty, outdated, out of style furniture and such. I went to this event (really to just see the inside of the hotel) and stumbled upon the kitchen where everything was left as it was the last night of operation, almost as if the place had closed the day before (dirty dishes, pans, etc. all over the place). Also left in the kitchen? A penthouse mag dated the month the joint closed for good - sitting on a counter! It's probably still there...

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