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grock

a Giant step for Hartford?

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It's not a giant step. But it is a step in the right direction.

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Even if it's a small step, it's a step in the right direction.

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Thanks. Our lease requires us to open 6 days a week, and because of first open disorganization, a lot of prep work end up being done on Sunday. Since we were there already, we just left the door unlocked, and before we knew it, we were doing business on Sundays. Don't get me wrong, weekends are still hit or miss, but at the very worst, we breakeven on a slow Sunday. For Starbucks, with a higher overhead, it is the classic the chicken or the egg dilemma. An former Hartford Starbucks employee told me they literally do nothing on Saturdays. For them, it doesn't make any sense. Why open to lose money? The Hartford Starbucks does well over $1500 a day on weekdays, why open to do $200 a day on weekends? This is not a case of if you open it they will come. Nobody is going to drive into the city for Starbucks when they have plenty of Starbucks in suburbs. Starbucks estimated they need a population base of 10,000 to support a Starbucks. During weekdays, downtown Hartford certainly has more than that, but on weekends the population number falls well short of that. But if Hartford has the residents/shoppers, they will open.

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do you mean that 10k have to live downtown?. i think the problem in hartford for a starbucks is a lack of robust retail downtown. there is some number of people living downtown that would create interest for retailers and increased retail would create interest for people to live there and on and on. i think for that process to catch fire would take way less than 10k, so please explain what exactly that 10k represents.

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The average Starbucks purchase (according to their CEO) is slightly over 3.00. So they are putting just south of 500 people through there on weekdays compared to 75 people on a slow Saturday.

They probably need to double that to make opening the door worthwhile. They might also save a little by reducing staff on week ends. H21, Trumbull On the Park, 55 on the Park and Bushnell tower are all a three minute walk from their door.

If they can stay open and change a few habits. They have a chance to make it work.

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A few years back when better time was for Starbucks, it once mentioned to financial analysts that they believe a small town with a population of 10,000 - 15,000 can support a Starbucks. It was their way of telling Wall Street that growth potential in the US for them is almost limitless. Their recent misfortune shows they probably need a larger population base than that but that number made certain sense. To have a stable retail environment, we need a good deal of downtown residents - more than what we already have and all the planned projects. Currently maybe 1500 people with decent disposable income live in downtown Hartford. It would be a very tall order for any retailer to live off office workers plus 1500 residents. For retailers to seriously consider Hartford, I am guessing we need 5,000 residents.

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I have been following downtown Minneapolis lately because I may have to move there sometime in the next year. As a city the Twin Cities are lightyears ahead of hartford, but they struggle with the same problems we do. Sure they have a Macys, and a Target, but there is much adu about losing what they have or adding to it. It seems their 10-15000 downtown residents do not give them the stability that we think it would. It may be that for downtown retail to truely be a success, the city needs more than just residents. maybe it needs tourists?

Thinking about the cities that I have enjoyed my downtown experience in, they are also very popular tourist towns.

Can anyone think of a city that has a great downtown that is not supported by tourists?

New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Philladelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC. These cities I have enjoyed, and they all have a pretty sizable tourist population. Baltimore being the least popular, and I honestly do not remember if there was downtown retail.

5000 would make Hartford feel totally different, but I am afraid we would then just be struggling to support a small retail base. and at 10K more of the same. I feel like Hartford would need be fully built out to the surrounding residential blocks, and those blocks would need to become mixed income before any sense of stability could be gained. So I am guessing something more like 30K would be the magic number. and at this point the retail density would have to be better than it is at any of the regional malls.

In my opinion Downtown would need to have as much as, or more more to offer than say BB2 or the Buckland mall, or Westfarms Mall. Is it possible? heck yeah, will it be anytime soon? nope, sadly it will not be, but I do think society is heading back to the cities, and Downtown Hartford is well situated to benefit from this.

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In Hartford's prime, people from all over New England and the mid-Atlantic states wanted to come to Hartford. On weekends, the hotels would be full with tourists. The biggest attraction was: shopping. However, it was a beautiful city at that time, with a lot of historical and other attractions. To get back to that, Hartford needs tourists, no doubt about it. The Old State House and the Wadsworth Atheneum definitely give people a reason to come. However, the lifeless state of downtown on weekends, poor facades of our modernist buildings, and the parking lots make visitors uncomfortable. Someday, hopefully, tourists will want to get off the highway for a few hours (or use the train station, preferably).

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You need tourists? Build a Space Needle, it gives people a big reason, one they can see while going 95 on the highway, to pull off and stop in. I find it ironic that the same people that insult me for this idea are now clamoring for tourists...

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You need tourists? Build a Space Needle, it gives people a big reason, one they can see while going 95 on the highway, to pull off and stop in. I find it ironic that the same people that insult me for this idea are now clamoring for tourists...

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Since we are on the topic of tourists, please bear with me while I rant...

I just got back from Las Vegas. I go there every year or two and every time I go, I am amazed at how much has changed since the last time I was there. Its a city that is constantly growing and constantly developing. Why? Because of the unbelievable amount of cash left behind by a staggering amount of tourists. The first time I went to Vegas I was practically a kid in the early-mid nineties. There were casinos, but no great restaurants, no clubs and no mega casino/resorts, some shopping, but nothing to write home about. How things have changed in such a short time. City Center... a mammoth development of highrises, hotels, condos, apartments, shopping and casinos is rising next to the Bellagio. Echelon - the biggest Casino on the strip is going up. Don't think of going out to dinner at any of the world famous restaurants without reservations. And if you are going out clubbing at any of the world class clubs that hold thousands, get there early or you won't get in. While maybe not on the same sacle, Hartford could have very easily had a piece of this pie courtesy of Steve Wynn.

We all know the story... CT state law makers who saw the amount of business Foxwoods started doing, considered a casino for downtown Hartford. Steve Wynn (on his own dime) completed a study and architectural renderings for an entire casino/entertainment complex north of 84 downtown and gave a presentation to lawmakers. Wynn stated that with the amount of people who lived within a 2 hr. drive of Hartford (only NYC has more people in a 2 hr. radius), a casino was a grand slam for all involved. It was an industry that would undoubtedly grow as much as we would allow it to. If you dreamed about Bostonians and New Yorkers spending their weekends and their money in Hartford, this was the way. If you wanted a fun city for Hartford's 6 fortune 500 companies to recruit qualified workers, this was the way. If you wanted to create service jobs for Hartford's poor, this was going to do it. It all made sense to everyone except Lowell Weicker who struck a backroom deal with Foxwoods to allow slots (at that point they didn't) in return for a percentage of the revenues. The casino deal in Hartford was killed by our governor.

I know I've brought this subject up before, but it kills me that a once in a lifetime opportunity like this was killed by such short-sighted people. I wonder if Lowell Weiker and other opponents like Carrie Perry think Hartford is so much better off today 15 years later without Steve Wynn? The answer is obvious. I think 15 years later, we'd have a few casinos, a nice blend of entertainment and big business and all the tourists we can handle. I think Hartford would be a much more healthy city.

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Since we are on the topic of tourists, please bear with me while I rant...

I just got back from Las Vegas. I go there every year or two and every time I go, I am amazed at how much has changed since the last time I was there. Its a city that is constantly growing and constantly developing. Why? Because of the unbelievable amount of cash left behind by a staggering amount of tourists. The first time I went to Vegas I was practically a kid in the early-mid nineties. There were casinos, but no great restaurants, no clubs and no mega casino/resorts, some shopping, but nothing to write home about. How things have changed in such a short time. City Center... a mammoth development of highrises, hotels, condos, apartments, shopping and casinos is rising next to the Bellagio. Echelon - the biggest Casino on the strip is going up. Don't think of going out to dinner at any of the world famous restaurants without reservations. And if you are going out clubbing at any of the world class clubs that hold thousands, get there early or you won't get in. While maybe not on the same sacle, Hartford could have very easily had a piece of this pie courtesy of Steve Wynn.

We all know the story... CT state law makers who saw the amount of business Foxwoods started doing, considered a casino for downtown Hartford. Steve Wynn (on his own dime) completed a study and architectural renderings for an entire casino/entertainment complex north of 84 downtown and gave a presentation to lawmakers. Wynn stated that with the amount of people who lived within a 2 hr. drive of Hartford (only NYC has more people in a 2 hr. radius), a casino was a grand slam for all involved. It was an industry that would undoubtedly grow as much as we would allow it to. If you dreamed about Bostonians and New Yorkers spending their weekends and their money in Hartford, this was the way. If you wanted a fun city for Hartford's 6 fortune 500 companies to recruit qualified workers, this was the way. If you wanted to create service jobs for Hartford's poor, this was going to do it. It all made sense to everyone except Lowell Weicker who struck a backroom deal with Foxwoods to allow slots (at that point they didn't) in return for a percentage of the revenues. The casino deal in Hartford was killed by our governor.

I know I've brought this subject up before, but it kills me that a once in a lifetime opportunity like this was killed by such short-sighted people. I wonder if Lowell Weiker and other opponents like Carrie Perry think Hartford is so much better off today 15 years later without Steve Wynn? The answer is obvious. I think 15 years later, we'd have a few casinos, a nice blend of entertainment and big business and all the tourists we can handle. I think Hartford would be a much more healthy city.

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I know it is easy to look back at this and cry, but many peoples view of Hartford would have been ruined forever. I think Casinos would have been swell looking in hind sight. especially concidering that they allowed them near enough by to mess things up but far enough away to help in any way.

but that ship has sailed.

Maybe if someone tells Mohican sun to do their 1B addition downtown instead of out in the sticks. but even still tribal casinos are almost too common now and revenues are dropping nation wide as more and more competition develops.

so, since this is the past. what is the future?

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I know it is easy to look back at this and cry, but many peoples view of Hartford would have been ruined forever. I think Casinos would have been swell looking in hind sight. especially concidering that they allowed them near enough by to mess things up but far enough away to help in any way.

but that ship has sailed.

Maybe if someone tells Mohican sun to do their 1B addition downtown instead of out in the sticks. but even still tribal casinos are almost too common now and revenues are dropping nation wide as more and more competition develops.

so, since this is the past. what is the future?

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eddie perez. slow motion, by the time something gets done, its time will have passed (like our highways). no balls, no bluechips. our politicians could not have been that stupid. it is and was corruption plus no guts. lowell weiker fits the frame on all counts. too bad. there is still enough in hartford to interest me, but the most exciting thing happening in the future that i am aware of is the science museum.

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I would have to agree with you 100%. My father was one of the anti casino NIMBYs and even though I was pretty young, I knew then that he was off base saying that we would end up like Atlantic City, envisioning crime and blight of a larger scale then what we are already afflicted with. But, AC was always a tourist spot without a healthy corporate base and attractive sprawling suburbs. Hartford would not have been anything like AC had we built a couple of Casinos. Hartford would have been so much better off then it currently is. It's very sad indeed to think of what could have been.

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eddie perez. slow motion, by the time something gets done, its time will have passed (like our highways). no balls, no bluechips. our politicians could not have been that stupid. it is and was corruption plus no guts. lowell weiker fits the frame on all counts. too bad. there is still enough in hartford to interest me, but the most exciting thing happening in the future that i am aware of is the science museum.

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