TheophrastusBombastus

IN-PROGRESS: Spectra Apartments on Constitution Plaza

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JimSawhill    0

Well Wal-Mart is still offering full time hours and no benefits to employees, so maybe we're not tough enough on business yet...

That Maharishi guy is scum. Something needs to be done about how that guy can just let the building rot without penalty.

mikel:

There you go again --BASHING Wal*Mart. Do you know most people in Wal*Mart are there as second jobs? Do you kow most of Wal*mart associates don't get the health bennefits BECAUSE their SPOUSE or they get it at their FIRST JOB?

Typical Wal*Mart basher -- someone with no facts bashing a SUCESSFUL AMERICAN COMPANY. Mikel, LIBERALS are killing this GREAT COUNTRY!

JimS

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JimSawhill    0

I agree as well eminent domain would be the way to go in this case. Apparently the current owner is sitting on his ass waiting to score millions on the property.

I have to say that eminent domain would by wonderful -- EVENTHOUGH I did DISAGREE with the USSC Kelo v New London ruling!

JimS

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drc72    5

I have to say that eminent domain would by wonderful -- EVENTHOUGH I did DISAGREE with the USSC Kelo v New London ruling!

JimS

I don't agree with that New London case myself, but in this case Hell Yeah!!!!

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Dan    0

My only fear is that after the city may set out an RFP (Request for Proposals) and hand pick someone and take all this time...and create a similar situation to Front Street.

Personally, yes condos would be perfect in this location because the rest of the new residential units in downtown are closer to the park and the Civic Center or by the Colt building...not by Adriaens Landing..yet that is (Front Street). But we need to occupy the residential units that are already coming on board in this city before we make huge new proposals.

There is a hotel shortage and the Clarion site could be a perfect place for a botique hotel for the city. An idenpendantly owned and operated one similar to the Hotel Providence near the Providence Performing Arts Center in downtown Providence.

If the structure is severely blighted and not properly maintained up to code, then the city should violate the owner. If its supposedly a $10M property then it should at least be kept safe and secure. Your first remark appears to be right on the money. :shades:

Our new tower at 110 Westminster St. in Providence was originally planned to be residential upscale condominiums. Its since been redesigned to include a W Hotel with residential on the upper floors. Think about that. If the residential units you mentioned aren't moving, I wouldn't expect announcements about any new condo towers.

If there is indeed an inventory shortage, then a boutique hotel by the new convention center sounds like a winner to me. The bridge could be demolished and the existing hotel structure rehabilitated for this use, I assume. Is $10M really that ridiculous of an asking price? Are there any tax credits available to investors?

We should be very careful when deciding on ED. In my opinion it should be used as a last resort - enough is enough. The government doesn't need to take the land to build a bridge, its just an old building with a stubborn owner (who probably gets a wink and a nod from Perez in passing).

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beerbeer    6

The residential units in Hartford are doing fiine. Hartford 21 is ahead of schedule at 25% and the upper floors units aren''t even on the market yet. The penthouses have a waiting list. Colt has filled it's first smal phase of twenty units and will soon open more. Trumbull on the Park is over 80% full. It looks like Sage Allen is very desirable and they haven't even opened yet.

The WFSB corner is highly desirable. A hotel is the most likely suitor.

Back to the subject. This a a vacant unused property that is clearly not up to code. There is an absentee owner who is letting the building deteriorate. I think the city could expediatre this process using existing powers.

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We should be very careful when deciding on ED. In my opinion it should be used as a last resort - enough is enough. The government doesn't need to take the land to build a bridge, its just an old building with a stubborn owner (who probably gets a wink and a nod from Perez in passing).

Back to the subject. This a a vacant unused property that is clearly not up to code. There is an absentee owner who is letting the building deteriorate. I think the city could expediatre this process using existing powers.

I think this property is a perfect candidate for eminent domain. It's not as if anybody will be up-rooted from their homes.

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ctman    0

There is an abundance of undeveloped land in hartford that many would think would be desireable, there are 2 surface parking lots on Bushnell Park that could easily be developed, but for whatever reasons are not. the city should not take the hotel by ED, especially if the current owner is paying taxes. hartford needs nothing less than another non revenue producing property.

Edited by ctman

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JimSawhill    0

There is an abundance of undeveloped land in hartford that many would think would be desireable, there are 2 surface parking lots on Bushnell Park that could easily be developed, but for whatever reasons are not. the city should not take the hotel by ED, especially if the current owner is paying taxes. hartford needs nothing less than another non revenue producing property.

ctman:

IIRC, the hotel is now tax emept because the owners was going to use it as a chuch. So they don't pay taxes on it.

JimS

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ctman:

IIRC, the hotel is now tax emept because the owners was going to use it as a chuch. So they don't pay taxes on it.

JimS

Actually, he does have to pay taxes on it - per this article, he waits till the last second and then pays up each year.

http://www.rickross.com/reference/tm/tm70.html

What, if anything, has the city done to take over this concrete albatross? Well, Peters says that before his fourth term as mayor concluded two years ago, he, as well as then-City Manager Saundra Kee Borges, had instructed the city's corporation counsel to explore the legalities of taking ownership of the Clarion Hotel building under eminent domain.

The problem with that move, according to one source from the corporation counsel office who asked not to be identified, is that such an action would've ended up being a white elephant for Hartford. "The idea of us taking that on wouldn't make any sense," says the source. "We could go after it, but with the kind of budget shortfall we have, we tend to look at these things very cautiously ... . We're trying to get out of the property-ownership business, because we want to expand our tax base."

Plus, when it came down to identifying what public use the building could serve, city officials were at a complete loss, the source explains.

The city did come close to foreclosing on the property back in 1995, when the maharishi owed more than $870,000 in delinquent back taxes. But at the 11th hour, payment was made. Since then, claims Thomas Morrisson, the city's finance director, it's been the same exact situation every year -- the maharishi waits until the very last minute to settle his tax debts with Hartford, preventing the city from foreclosing.

In fact, two weeks ago, the maharishi settled his 2003 tax debts, paying Hartford more than $162,000 -- more than $9,000 of that figure, accrued interest.

Still Freeman says he's optimistic that the Clarion hotel will, in perhaps even the next few months, be sold to developers. He says he thinks it will, in time, prove to be an asset.

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Building Plan Has Merit

January 3, 2007

Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez's idea of creating a redevelopment zone that includes the empty former Clarion Hotel building and the soon-to-be vacated Broadcast House building, both located on Constitution Plaza along Columbus Boulevard, makes sense.

The city may go so far as to take over the 12-story hotel building by eminent domain to get the project started - a controversial step that should be a last resort. But in this situation it may be the only answer.

The hotel has been an abandoned eyesore since 1994, not long before it was purchased for $1.5 million by the Maharishi School of Vedic Sciences, which has done little more than try to sell the building for a ridiculously high price of $10 million, roughly $50 a square foot.

Comparable properties downtown are priced at about $20 a square foot.

Broadcast House, which is right next door to the hotel, appears headed in the same direction now that WFSB, Channel 3, is moving to more spacious quarters in Rocky Hill.

Converting both parcels into a mixed-use condominium-office complex would help revitalize a key gateway to the city at the foot of Founders Bridge by bring more foot traffic to the plaza. It would also advance the mayor's goal of increasing homeownership in the city.

The school of Vedic sciences to its credit has been paying the city about $375,000 annually in property taxes on the empty 42-year-old building. But the building is deteriorating and is a blight on the plaza. The owner would get appraised market value if eminent domain powers were used.

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ctman987    0

I cannot stress how much something needs to be done with this site. These two properties are located at Constitution Plaza which as we know today could be called a "mistake" but we cant take away our mistakes or go back in time but we can fix them and this is the chance.

Some of the major problems with Constitution Plaza are that it is all office space with no retail space to encourage any real pedestrian traffic. If we bring street life to these to vacant properties by possibly as suggested earlier..a mixed use condo/office or even better a condo/hotel we can start fixing the problems created years earlier with Constitution Plaza.

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jcrc    0

I cannot stress how much something needs to be done with this site. These two properties are located at Constitution Plaza which as we know today could be called a "mistake" but we cant take away our mistakes or go back in time but we can fix them and this is the chance.

Some of the major problems with Constitution Plaza are that it is all office space with no retail space to encourage any real pedestrian traffic. If we bring street life to these to vacant properties by possibly as suggested earlier..a mixed use condo/office or even better a condo/hotel we can start fixing the problems created years earlier with Constitution Plaza.

Aren't there emptied retail spaces in Constitution Plaza? I thought initially there were shops in there, but none survived.

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Luca Brasi    1

The whole inner court at the north end of CP and street level along Market St. were all retail stores when CP first opened up. It worked until the department stores on Main St. started to suffer.

Edited by Luca Brasi

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Luca Brasi    1

I cannot stress how much something needs to be done with this site. These two properties are located at Constitution Plaza which as we know today could be called a "mistake" but we cant take away our mistakes or go back in time but we can fix them and this is the chance.

I like Constitution Plaza. Architecturally, its a beautiful space. If a high rise condo were built where WFSB is now, a boutique hotel were put where the Clarion is and more restauarants and cafes added around the fountain to compliment Spris, you would increase traffic on the plaza tenfold.

Hopefully, the owners of CP have some kind of plan.

Edited by Luca Brasi

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MadVlad    1

I like Constitution Plaza. Architecturally, its a beautiful space. If a high rise condo were built where WFSB is now, a boutique hotel were put where the Clarion is and more restauarants and cafes added around the fountain to compliment Spris, you would increase traffic on the plaza tenfold.

Hopefully, the owners of CP have some kind of plan.

Residential is, and always has been, the key.....

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Hartford Advocate

The clock is finally ticking for Hartford's 1960s-era Clarion Hotel, the 12-story eyesore in spooling white concrete worthy of an Eastern Bloc nation that sits in the way of hoped-for redevelopment of Constitution Plaza downtown.

With the passage by the City Council in January of an urban renewal plan for the plaza, the building's long-time owner, the Maharishi Global Development Fund of Fairfield, Iowa, has been put on notice that the city has begun the process to take over the hulking 12-story hotel through eminent domain.

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Hartford Advocate

The clock is finally ticking for Hartford's 1960s-era Clarion Hotel, the 12-story eyesore in spooling white concrete worthy of an Eastern Bloc nation that sits in the way of hoped-for redevelopment of Constitution Plaza downtown.

With the passage by the City Council in January of an urban renewal plan for the plaza, the building's long-time owner, the Maharishi Global Development Fund of Fairfield, Iowa, has been put on notice that the city has begun the process to take over the hulking 12-story hotel through eminent domain.

This is excelent. but it is a shame that the market is so bad right now that nothing is likely to happen here for quite some time.

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Mike D    0

I've wanted to see something done with that property for along time. Either remake the Clarion into a nice hotel or blow it up and start all over again with some other type of building. Now is the time for the city to act. Time to seize the hotel.

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I was thinking about this builting a little.

Assuming the city gets ahold of it. what can be done.

the reality is that right now the city cand do much with it. there is no market and no developers out there that would be interested. there is even a hotel glut coming to a Hartford near you.

The rooms at present are too small for hotel anyway and too small for apartments. there are no kitchens anyways.

so what do you do with this 12 story monument to emptiness?

My best idea for right now with everything the way things are....

Cheap UConn Dorms. Just do a once over on the inside and re open them as a dorm.

the university has a shortage of housing as far as I understand and there are tons of private companies that run 3rd party dorms for universities. I am sure this would at least be a break even affair for the city and state and could bring a bunch of young people downtown as well as create a few jobs in security, housekeeping, maintenance, and resident hall director action.

just an idea.

And old article about the place.

http://www.rickross.com/reference/tm/tm70.html

At first, when the maharishi, who was guru to the Beatles, paid $1.5 million for the vacated structure, the plan was to restore the 290-room hotel to its magnificence, and reopen it as the Constitution Plaza. There were even plans to utilize a portion of the building as a vegetarian restaurant. Then, there were plans to convert the hotel into one of his Maharishi Vedic Universities, where students would be schooled in the ways of transcendental meditation. But again, no action, and now, in 2003, the hotel lies in wait

Of course, Peters was right to doubt. The Clarion Hotel purchase was one phase in the maharishi's 40-year plan, according to news accounts, to open meditation centers in all 50 states. It's unknown just how many hotels the maharishi has procured over the years, but it's been reported that the Clarion is one of at least 25 distressed American hotels he owns -- 25 he has done nothing with.

Edited by The Voice of Reason

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