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Cotuit

COMPLETED: Hartford 21

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Cotuit    0

Hartford.jpg

36-Floor Story

By TOM PULEO

Courant Staff Writer | June 24 2004

Nearly 30 years after it opened, Hartford once again is pinning downtown renaissance hopes on the Civic Center mall.

Only this time, the concrete bunker will get turned inside out in a new design intended to transform downtown's sleepy sidewalks into an outdoor commercial crossroads.

At a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, the developer even updated the name from "Town Square" to "Hartford 21" to reflect the new century's metropolitan spirit.

"This will be a 24-hour neighborhood," said Lawrence R. Gottesdiener, chairman and chief executive officer of Northland Investment Corp., "a catalyst to make Hartford the place to work and play in the daytime, nighttime, anytime."

Northland's $160 million project, six years in the making, will feature a swanky, 36-story apartment tower that will stand as Hartford's fourth-tallest building and the tallest residential address between New York and Boston.

Retail stores would open onto Trumbull and Asylum streets and plans also call for restaurants, offices and public gathering spots. The project is expected to open in the summer of 2006.

Under abundant sunshine at the Trumbull Street entrance, a parade of top public officials rose under a huge "Hartford 21" banner to proclaim the project's importance.

"It's clearly the one that has the potential to have the greatest impact," said Chuck Sheehan, executive director of the Capital City Economic Development Authority. The authority worked with Northland to put together a complex financing package that includes $61 million of public money in a combination of grants, loans and equity positions.

Because of its central location, Hartford 21 is expected to influence downtown streets more than the new Connecticut Convention Center and Marriott Hotel now rising at the 30-acre Adriaen's Landing parcel just south of the I-84/I-91 interchange.

All of these projects are being developed under the state's $1 billion downtown initiative.

"This project is going to be the envy of everyone in New England," Mayor Eddie Perez exclaimed to about 200 people gathered on both sides of Trumbull Street.

Despite all the fanfare, one big question about the project remains: Who will live there?

Northland intends to lure both young and old people to the 236 luxury apartments - a "core constituency" of so-called empty nesters and urban professionals, a formula that has helped revive downtowns from Boston to Seattle.

One city resident attending the 11:30 a.m. ceremony questioned the chances for success.

"I'm really concerned about why they're putting apartments in here," said Jay Duran, 69, of Buckingham Street. "You ever been here on a Saturday and Sunday? Not a damn thing is moving in Hartford."

Northland went ahead with the ceremony even though it has not yet closed on all of its private financing. That paperwork is expected to be finalized by Friday.

Northland has staked a lot of money on Hartford's future. In recent years the Boston-based, privately held real estate investment firm has acquired several properties, including: CityPlace II across from the mall on Asylum Street; Trumbull Place across from the mall on Trumbull Street; and the nearby Metro Center.

As the ceremony wound down, an eager Gottesdiener picked up a sledgehammer and prepared to sink it into a hollowed-out section of the mall's base concealed with a few loosely patched bricks.

"I'd like to ask Mayor Perez to join me," the executive exclaimed, his voice deepening in emphasis, "to tear down this mall!"

From The Hartford Courant

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Delta    0

Nothing like a rendundant mall makeover!

Seems like it needs it like........real bad. Can only be a good thing.

The apartment tower gives 'good move'. Though residents and their guests will "strut their stuff" elsewhere, or go through periods of not using all the mod cons of the (re-vamped) mall, they'll succumb to rely on many services literally at their feet. A captured market indeed....

...and from 'freak to frock', aiming @ all the market. Yessa!

Yerrr, just groundbreak it!

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G W North    0

The net loss of retail is not a good sign, no matter how good the new development may be. I don't know how big the old mall was, but obviously it was bigger than 53,000 square feet.

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Cotuit    0

Raising Tower, Traffic Issues

Planners Working To Ease Disruptions

By TOM PULEO

Courant Staff Writer | July 5 2004

New England's tallest apartment tower won't rise from a central downtown block without some traffic disruption.

So city planners are working to minimize spillover from the $160 million redevelopment of the Hartford Civic Center mall.

Demolition crews are working from inside a chain-link fence that skirts the construction site. The fence has caused the closing of only one traffic lane on Trumbull and Asylum streets - the parking and bus lane closest to the mall's curb.

No further disruption is expected when construction begins next year on the 36-story residential tower at the "Hartford 21" project, planners say.

Milford-based Turner Construction Co. will park its tall crane inside the site when it erects the tower. The developer, Northland Investment Corp., is predicting only minor traffic delays when trucks pull up with building materials.

"We have been working pretty hard to minimize any impact," said Peter M. Standish Jr., senior vice president with Northland. "We have been working on the logistics for about a year."

Hartford 21 will feature 262 luxury apartments in the tower, along with 53,000 square feet of sidewalk-oriented retail and restaurant space and 90,000 square feet of office space.

On the mall's wide sidewalks recently, excavator vehicles were busy dismantling the pre-cast concrete facade, hydraulic claws and pinchers pulling out huge chunks of stone and rebar. The demolition tools then pick through the debris - steel, tin, plasterboard, insulation, concrete and rebar - to separate it for recycling.

Hoses are connected to sidewalk fire hydrants to help crews dampen dust clouds. The job is akin to remodeling a house - ripping out the siding and walls without disturbing the roof or structural supports.

Structural demolition will take place only at the corner of Trumbull and Asylum, where the residential tower will rise. That work will begin next month.

The Civic Center Coliseum and Exhibition Hall will remain open throughout the two-year construction period. The operator, Madison Square Garden Connecticut, is encouraging concertgoers to use the Church Street entrances and exits, away from the activity at the main Trumbull Street entrance. But the main entrance will stay open to keep the box office windows accessible.

The 500-car Civic Center garage closed Wednesday for a year. The garage operator, LAZ Parking Ltd., has made arrangements for monthly renters to use nearby city garages.

The developers have been meeting with neighboring property owners to keep them abreast of plans.

"I think there will be some challenges, but we're willing to put up with it because we're looking forward to the end result," said Michael Van Parys, general manager of the Goodwin Hotel on Asylum Street.

Kenneth R. Kahn, executive director of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, said no one has complained about the project.

"People are always willing to put up with inconvenience if something positive is being done," he said. "The psychological part is key. It's work being done in the name of progress."

From The Hartford Courant

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Cotuit    0

The net loss of retail is not a good sign, no matter how good the new development may be. I don't know how big the old mall was, but obviously it was bigger than 53,000 square feet.

There won't be a net loss of retail, just a net loss of poorly planned retail space, in a city that has more than it's share of vacant retail space already.

Hartford has a well-deserved reputation as a city that rolls up it's sidewalks at 6pm when the office workers head home. This project will bring a healthy number of residents into the city centre to help foster 24 hour street life. The hotel and nearby new convention centre will also work to bring activity to downtown during non-office hours.

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Cotuit    0

Hartford Civic Center

Northland Investment Corp., the State of Connecticut, the City of Hartford, and Aetna are working together to rejuvenate the Hartford Civic Center Mall complex in downtown Hartford.

The project, called Hartford 21, will help transform the aging retail, office and restaurant portion of the facility attached to the Civic Center Coliseum into an attractive new residential, retail and entertainment center in the heart of downtown.

The plan embraces the overall planning vision initiated by The Hartford Economic and Urban Design Action Strategy. Hartford 21 contemplates the elimination of the bunker-like Civic Center Mall and the creation of a cluster of integrated structures, resulting in a 24-hour neighborhood of housing, shops, restaurants and public spaces. Hartford 21 includes up to 262 residential units in one high rise tower and a variety of retail, restaurant and entertainment establishments in an externally oriented retail block. The development will also include office and flex space, and structured parking. Hartford 21 will create a living environment that appeals to new and existing urban dwellers.

Hartford21-001a.jpg

Hartford 21 under construction. View from Pratt Street

Hartford21-001.jpg

The Hartford 21 development will include a dedicated private garage entrance for residents of the apartment tower. There will also be parking facilities, shielded from the street by retail buildings, to support the attached Hartford Civic Center Coliseum and downtown businesses and attractions.

Hartford21-002.jpg

Along Asylum Street, the Hartford 21 development will feature a high rise luxury apartment tower, and exciting street-oriented retail and restaurant venues wrapped around the existing sports/entertainment arena. In this view, looking north from Asylum Street in downtown Hartford, the Civic Center Mall is replaced by an outward-looking retail/entertainment complex.

Hartford21-003.jpg

Hartford21-004.jpg

Along Trumbull Street, the Hartford 21 development will feature a high rise luxury apartment tower, and exciting street-oriented retail and restaurant venues wrapped around the existing sports/entertainment arena. In this view, looking north from Trumbull Street in downtown Hartford, the Civic Center Mall is replaced by an outward-looking retail/entertainment complex.

Hartford21-005.jpg

In this view, looking northwest down Asylum Street (left) and Trumbull Street (right), the Civic Center Mall is replaced by a street-oriented apartment, retail/entertainment complex wrapped around the existing arena.

Hartford21-006.jpg

The retail portion of the facility will be reversed so that shops face the street, creating an energetic pedestrian atmosphere. A 240 unit luxury apartment tower is planned at this corner of the site.

Hartford21-007.jpg

In this view, looking south down Trumbull Street in downtown Hartford, the Civic Center Mall is replaced by a modern apartment tower and an outward-looking retail/entertainment complex.

Hartford21-008.jpg

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SOCOM    0

Given that its Friday night and I'm homebound do to feeling like crap, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to start updated this project with some recent pics I took.

November 2004

The old Mall along Trumbull Street being ripped to shreds (yay!) back in November.

Hartford21construction3.jpg

At the corner of Trumbull & Asylum Streets is the future location of the new residential tower. Farewell old drab concrete!

Hartford21construction2.jpg

January 2005

The new entrance to the colliseum taking shape on Trumbull Street.

Hartford21mallJan052.jpg

Trumbull Street again...

Hartford21mallJan05smaller.jpg

Crane at corner of Trumbull & Asylum has been in place for a month, but still no steel rising. :(

Hartford21siteJan052.jpg

February 2005

Walking around the "backside" of the project (Ann Street). Another portion of the old mall being gutted. This particular area will be an aestheticly pleasing private parking garage for tower residents with street level retail.

Hartford21fromChurchStreet.jpg

Hey look! PEOPLE! In Hartford?! :lol: This view is looking down Asylum Street.

Hartford21fromAsylumStreet2.jpg

Trumbull Street facade with the newly renovated Hilton Hotel in the background ($45 million in upgrades just finished)

Hartford21fromTrumbullStreet.jpg

Close up of the materials being used (not sure what I think about it yet, but its a huge improvement over the blank concrete walls)

Hartford21fromTrumbullStreetcloseup.jpg

And now, the moment I'vbe been waiting patiently for, for over 2 years...the tower's steel rising! (break out the bubbly)

Hartford21towersitefromAsylumStreet.jpg

A little bonus...I decided to stop in Elizabeth park on my way back to my parents house out in the western burbs and got this great view from a hilltop. This is great because the tower will be featured prominently from this vantage point. (not the best skyline view of Hartford, but it does a good job to illustrate how much of an impact this tower will have on the western facing skyline)

HartfordskylinefromLizPark.jpg

Close-up of the crane where the tower is rising.

HartfordskylinefromLizPark2zoom.jpg

Well thats it for now, I hope to make it back up to CT in a couple weeks so I should have some new pics by then.

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Southron    14

There won't be a net loss of retail, just a net loss of poorly planned retail space, in a city that has more than it's share of vacant retail space already.

Hartford has a well-deserved reputation as a city that rolls up it's sidewalks at 6pm when the office workers head home. This project will bring a healthy number of residents into the city centre to help foster 24 hour street life. The hotel and nearby new convention centre will also work to bring activity to downtown during non-office hours.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree 100% -- this project will do wonders for Hartford. That old mall was a depressing dead zone. I'm not in love with the architectural style chosen, but that doesn't get in the way of giving this a big thumbs up. Hartford deserves many more good developments like this. :thumbsup:

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ctman987    0

June, 2005

The redevelopment of the Civic Center property is well under way in Downtown Hartford. The 36 story residential tower which will be the largest residential tower in New England is currently being constructed. Trumball Street (street of the civic center, major street in downtown Hartford) is seeing lots redevelopment as a result of the Hartford 21 aka Civic Center project.

The attached Hartford Hilton Hotel just reopened after a major 34million dollar renovation. The hotel features 392 rooms, 11 suites, indoor pool, fitness center, new restaurant and fully renovated rooms which are all a great asset to the city.

Next door to the Civic Center the Goodwin Square property has just been purchased by the redeveloper of the Civic Center for 41million dollars. The property features 330,901 square feet of office space, a 330 space/ 8 level parking garage and the famous Goodwin Hotel.

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uconn99    0

I don't know if any of you have noticed that there is a live camera overlooking the new Hartford 21 development. THere are 4 cameras in total.

http://www.northland.com

Also, does anyone know if there is a web page with info about Hartford 21 other than the ceda site and northlands. I am interested in how much condos are going to go for, and possibly will be in the market to buy one.

Post any new photos you may have of Hartford here too. I am going to be back in Connecticut next week and plan on taking hundreds of photos throughout the city.

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Cotuit    0

I am going to be back in Connecticut next week and plan on taking hundreds of photos throughout the city.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Can't wait! :thumbsup:

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beerbeer    6

Has anyone else noticed that the actuall building doesn' match the drawing of the buildiing?

every sixth floor was suppose only have one window that matched the floors above and below. That issn't the case on the Trumbull street side of the buildiing. Check the webcam versus the drawing.

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SOCOM    0

Has anyone else noticed that the actuall building doesn' match the drawing of the buildiing?

every sixth floor was suppose only have one window that matched the floors above and below.  That issn't the case on the Trumbull street side of the buildiing.  Check the webcam versus the drawing.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, I did notice that! I think they simply made a mistake in putting in those extra panels on the Trumbull street side. I'm sure they know about it already, and just figured they'll fix it later.

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Mike D    0

Hartford 21 is a big step in the right direction for the city. In order to have a 24-hour downtown, you gotta have places for people to live and things for them to do outside of Monday-Friday 9-5. The tower looks like it's coming along great.

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SOCOM    0

They repeated the mistake on the 16th floor!  Must be a redesign.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You're right, I was downtown yesterday taking pics and I saw that too! Small difference, but not a good one IMO. :( I wonder why they changed it...

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Cotuit    0

This is getting a little too interesting for Urban Planet!

Keep it clean people!

:lol:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, thank you TaureanJ.

There really is no reason for me to have to import moderators from Florida is there everyone?

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Mike D    0

Yes, we should get back to discussing how Hartford 21 is a positive part of how Hartford is working to improve its downtown. That's what matters. Let's not have a rehash of the Hartford vs. Providence thread.

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