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The Voice of Reason

Just useless babbling

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So I was thinking the other day about the things that make places great, and the things that make places successful.

I was also thinking about the built enviroment.

It occurs to me that in terms of a city like Hartford, the most important things are the concrete things.

for example. H-21. many people might call it a failure because it does not have a waiting list, or because its retail spaces are vacant. But think about the alternative. say it does not exist at all? is it not a permanent improvement for Hartford to have a residential tower with 262 Units in the center of Downtown?

Same can be said for all of the office conversions, and Trumbull on the park.

In this current recession, we are going to loose a ton of jobs to the area. that sucks!, but really, the office space is built, and eventually something will give and the owners of the building will lower rent or smething abd bring in a new company and bring in jobs with it. Hartford in the main employment center between Boston and NYC period. nothing will change that. the office space is here the cost is pretty cheap, and ultimately it will not in any easy or realistic way be userped by Springfield, or start ups like West Hartford.

So as say maybe 10000 less people might work downtown in some horrible scenerio, we still have 1500 new residents. could we loose some of thes residents? sure, but it would not be any kind of dramatic loss. Built buildings like H-21 and LV on the Park are built, and here to stay, and have permanently changed the make up of this city.

if the developer of H-21 goes bankrupt, the building is still there, and would fall to new owners. the residents would be largely unaffected.

Hartford used to completely rely on the daytime worker. today Hartford largely relys on the daytime worker, but the residential growth has created a small cushon. If we can somehow get a few more residential projects built in this city, there will be a turning point. A point where West Hartford can not derail out success, nor can springfield or any other "competitor". I am confident after this kind of negative epifiny that hartford will eventually take its rightfull place again as the center of new England. It is really just 2000 residents away I would guess.

am I completely off my rocker?

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Until Perez is gone, there will be problems. Eddie was losing thousands of jobs in a good economy. I hope Peters new liver is doing well.

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Until Perez is gone, there will be problems. Eddie was losing thousands of jobs in a good economy. I hope Peters new liver is doing well.

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To be honest, the H21 tower looks nice and adds to the skyline, but I would leave it at that. There is no retail at that site and how much time has past since the ribbon was cut? Jeez, there was more retail at that site before the re-development began. For those that remember Wendy's, Hartford Steak House (Chuck's), Chicken by George, Taco Bell, TJ Maxx, GNC, etc. None of those places have resurfaced since the tower was completed. So, was the redevelopment of the "mall" a success? Right now, I think not...

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To be honest, the H21 tower looks nice and adds to the skyline, but I would leave it at that. There is no retail at that site and how much time has past since the ribbon was cut? Jeez, there was more retail at that site before the re-development began. For those that remember Wendy's, Hartford Steak House (Chuck's), Chicken by George, Taco Bell, TJ Maxx, GNC, etc. None of those places have resurfaced since the tower was completed. So, was the redevelopment of the "mall" a success? Right now, I think not...

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Connman, I think my point might have been missed. HT gets it. or maybe you get me but disagree, so in that case... Cheers!

The building is built. Its better than what was there. If we lost retail it is not because of this project it is more likely that it was not successsful retail to begin with. think about it, if those stores were making money they would have come back. They would have found a space to come back to. Its what retail does. if they are making money they find a way.

All the time in cities across the world developers evict retail to build a new tower or whatever. If there is any reason for them to stay around they quickly open a new location near by. The new Building is built, and new tennants come in. Clearly Hartford does not have the draw for retail at this point.

so, whatever.

I guess it comes back to my lament that the condos at the YMCA never got started. Because if they had, well, they would be built, and a permanent part of our city. They would have been better than the YMCA, and the city would be better for it.

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Connman, I think my point might have been missed. HT gets it. or maybe you get me but disagree, so in that case... Cheers!

The building is built. Its better than what was there. If we lost retail it is not because of this project it is more likely that it was not successsful retail to begin with. think about it, if those stores were making money they would have come back. They would have found a space to come back to. Its what retail does. if they are making money they find a way.

All the time in cities across the world developers evict retail to build a new tower or whatever. If there is any reason for them to stay around they quickly open a new location near by. The new Building is built, and new tennants come in. Clearly Hartford does not have the draw for retail at this point.

so, whatever.

I guess it comes back to my lament that the condos at the YMCA never got started. Because if they had, well, they would be built, and a permanent part of our city. They would have been better than the YMCA, and the city would be better for it.

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I think Chuck's was gone either way, to be truthful...

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VoR, you are an optimist. To me, what's being done in Hartford are just band-aid repairs. The growth in this region is still flowing outwards, into sprawl, thanks to a wonderfully state and federally subsidized highway system and cheap gas. Instead of renovating beautiful old buildings in Hartford, many are still being toppled into dust while cheap wooden homes and condos and being built in Ellington, Canton, and Marlborough. Instead of building more office space downtown, sprawling new corporate buildings are still going up on undeveloped land in Farmington, Cromwell and Windsor. The apartments and condos downtown are keeping some great people who enjoy city life and help the area, but there are hardly enough. We are still deep in the dark ages. Hartford still embarrasses me sadly, the city where I grew up and remain is still pathetic overall.

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You have to think long term though. The new retail spaces are without a doubt superior aesthetically to the enclosed mall. We all want to see some new tenants or even some old ones come back, but the new space is built and it looks great. It should yeild results evenutally and there is an attractive residential tower that has pretty decent occupancy numbers now. Future retail should do better business than the old retail used to. Maybe the rents are too high or whatever, I'm not thrilled with the job Northland is doing in getting it leased, but think something will give.

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The long term trend of Hartford for the last 50 years is that of sliding ever downward. H21 may yield retail results in the long term then again it may not. The only certainty is that you don't kick out good paying tenants unless you have better paying tenants in the bag. You improve your portfolio by gradually replacing current tenants with better tenants, not by letting the place sit empty for two years. If H21 can only sign one shop in the good time (the wine shop moved from Main Street to H21), it is doubtful that the glass right now is remotely half full. So in the near to mid term is it better to have Wendy's, Hartford Steak House (Chuck's), Chicken by George, Taco Bell, TJ Maxx, GNC, etc. fillinh the street scape or is the big empty better? I would think Northland is pretty darn disappointed that there is no retail taker for H21, but it is their attitude of "we are in it for the long term, so until we sign high quality tenants like Cartier or Armani at much much above Hartford market rate rental, we are going to leave the place empty" that got them where they are at today.

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