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The Voice of Reason

The states big plans for Hartford

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Is the state going to sell off the buildings ringing the park for residential repurposing while moving thousands of jobs into Hartfords downtown?

So, there are a few things iv read including an article about the state looking to buy some 100000+ SF buildings on the cheap, and consolidate offices and departments int them. its is also looking to get out of some expensive leases.

mainly the state is looking to get out of small fragmented spaces, and sell those buildings.

The article even says this effort is concentrated in Hartford and references a few properties including ct river plaza

http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/news22050.html

The state owns 254,308 acres or 8 percent of all land in Connecticut. That includes more than 3,700 structures, which accounts for 59.6 million gross square feet of building space spread across 92 percent of Connecticut’s cities and towns.

Connecticut uses state owned space to meet nearly 96 percent of its total office needs, but pays $62.1 million a year to lease an additional 3.1 million square feet of office space.

That equates to about $20.34 per square foot.

I think I put a lot of that info in a thread about building a govt complex, but its good to post again. Amazing that 59 million SF figure is! I am content with consolidating the govt into a few downtown properties though Id rather a magic tenant arrives from out of state.

Anyways, If the state buys CT River plaza and its 556,000SF as well as say the BOA building and its 300,000SF, and then stuffs them full of state workers (3000-4000 of them) downtown would forever be changed!

then if the buildings lining the park are repurposed into residential, the city center and capital district would be completely different in such a good way.

I am not making this up either because the IQuilt and recent articles about it have referenced state support and interest in having the IQuilt area around the park surrounded with housing to reinforce vitality...

Am I crazy? because I have seen a few articles that have been leading me down this thought path. It seems as though the state is behind Hartford, and while not "buying" projects blatantly like the 7 pillars, is doing more important and perception changing things like the bio science center, IQuilt, This potentially massive office switch, Cigna HQ move that could lead to a new building.

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Really interesting stuff. Shocked by the fact "The state owns 254,308 acres or 8 percent of all land in Connecticut." That would have to include state parks, no?

I would think there would be fist fights in the state legislature if the state moved out of places like Wethersfield and into the city. But I would love to see it.

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It really would be fantastic if the state could significantly move into some of the office space downtown and really put a dent into that 30% office vacancy rate. It would certainly have a far reaching impact on future uses for some of the buildings they currently occupy and put positive pressure on the downtown office market.

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well, lets also not forget that the office vacancy rates in Hartford are totally skewed by our unique corporate presence and state/city use of traditional office space.

When they track those numbers they do not count civic office space (even if its leased space) and they don't count company owned space.

So, to break that down those numbers do not count any of the Travelers owned buildings that are 100% occupied. same with the Hartford, the Phoenix, Aetna. thats a few million square feet at 100% occupied. the report only counts 6 million SF in downtown Hartford across 15 buildings. I bet if they were included we are better than 15%. especially when you include all the SF that the state and city have leased.

Positive pressure would be awesome though. I mean CT River plaza is literally 9% of Hartfords total reported office space. If it were full we would be at 21%

but... because of the way they report it, as state owned it would be more like 23%

WOW, I am a NERD!

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Maybe the State can buy one of the big empty lots downtown and build a new state office building something like this:

Los_Angeles_City_Hall_(color)_edit1.jpg

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I think we would all love to see the parking lots go away, but they would need a lot more space than that building. CT river plaza at 560Ksf will only satisfy 1/6 of their potential need. and states being states, Id count on a soulless box.

Anyhoo, CT River plaza at 30 million is a steal compared to building a 600k SF building on a parking lot for probably 150 Million

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This is going to happen people!

I talked to someone who works at CBRE and is involved in the process of shuffling around the offices. they are apparently the lead consultant.

We are getting very close to start hearing about final decisions although I don't know which building(s) I have theories.

also to push the point the state approved the authority that will make the actual purchases and sell the vacant buildings, or turn them into apartments.

as far as my theories??

The state will buy CT River Plaza and consolidate a crapload of its workers there. in addition, they state will likely buy 200 Constitution plaza

http:[email protected]308;Article

It fits the criteris the state is looking for at 135,000SF. Even better, its right next to CT River plaza attached by a bridge.

Lastly I think there is a real chance that they would get involved in some other Plaza buildings...

http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/news23078.html

with this info in mind...

One Constitution is home to law firm Shipman & Goodwin. 250 Constitution houses several Hartford city agencies, including the City Treasurer and planning departments.

260 Constitution has offices for several state agencies, including the Connecticut Banking Department.

It makes sense for the state to also buy 260 even tough its smaller than 100Ksf , and possibly go big with 100 constitution plaza too. the XL building.

reason here being that IF the sate is really looking for alot of space, its all here for the taking! And they allready lease most of 260, while UCONN rents a bunch of 100. there are other state and quasi state groups in there.

250 is mostly city offices, so this part of the plaza would become Government plaza

556,000 SF in CT River plaza

135,000 SF in 200 constitution plaza

probably guaranteed by my view, but who knows!

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This is going to happen people!

I talked to someone who works at CBRE and is involved in the process of shuffling around the offices. they are apparently the lead consultant.

We are getting very close to start hearing about final decisions although I don't know which building(s) I have theories.

also to push the point the state approved the authority that will make the actual purchases and sell the vacant buildings, or turn them into apartments.

as far as my theories??

The state will buy CT River Plaza and consolidate a crapload of its workers there. in addition, they state will likely buy 200 Constitution plaza

http://www.hartfordb...[email protected];Article

It fits the criteris the state is looking for at 135,000SF. Even better, its right next to CT River plaza attached by a bridge.

Lastly I think there is a real chance that they would get involved in some other Plaza buildings...

http://www.hartfordb.../news23078.html

with this info in mind...

One Constitution is home to law firm Shipman & Goodwin. 250 Constitution houses several Hartford city agencies, including the City Treasurer and planning departments.

260 Constitution has offices for several state agencies, including the Connecticut Banking Department.

It makes sense for the state to also buy 260 even tough its smaller than 100Ksf , and possibly go big with 100 constitution plaza too. the XL building.

reason here being that IF the sate is really looking for alot of space, its all here for the taking! And they allready lease most of 260, while UCONN rents a bunch of 100. there are other state and quasi state groups in there.

250 is mostly city offices, so this part of the plaza would become Government plaza

556,000 SF in CT River plaza

135,000 SF in 200 constitution plaza

probably guaranteed by my view, but who knows!

It just makes too much sense. It's almost hard to imagine this state ever doing something this right. I'll be ecstatic if all of this comes to fruition.

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It just makes too much sense. It's almost hard to imagine this state ever doing something this right. I'll be ecstatic if all of this comes to fruition.

Indeed.

Further, the State is currently occupying some very choice real estate in the city which I would have to think would be very desirable to developers for conversion to residential. The big one, as we've discussed before, is 55 Elm Street.

P3150033.jpg

The building already has a great location next to the park, and if the park gets reconfigured as planned as part of iQuilt, this location will only get better.

There is also the building located at the corner of Elm and Trinity Streets that currently houses the Secretary of State.

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Indeed.

Further, the State is currently occupying some very choice real estate in the city which I would have to think would be very desirable to developers for conversion to residential. The big one, as we've discussed before, is 55 Elm Street.

P3150033.jpg

The building already has a great location next to the park, and if the park gets reconfigured as planned as part of iQuilt, this location will only get better.

There is also the building located at the corner of Elm and Trinity Streets that currently houses the Secretary of State.

Yeah, this building is gorgeous. It would be so much better as residential than housing state office workers. I'm sure the office workers would actually prefer to be in a modern tower with views of downtown and the river with an attached parking garage.

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I have an unhealthy love for this building...

Not only is it perfectly scaled, its also overlooking the burried river... and the park. think of that potential not only after I quilt, but if they ever figure out how to get rid of the whitehead and daylight the river?

even more so, the property behind it should be turned into ungerground parking garage with townhomes ontop at street level wraping the rest of the property.

its just a phenominal property in so many ways!

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In the article about Lincoln financial re leasing space, there is an update on the big moves the state is making...

http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120730/PRINTEDITION/307269944/1043/PRINTEDITIONDATES

But that could change soon. The realty community continues to wait for the state to complete its expected acquisition of multiple downtown Hartford office towers, so it can move some state employees to downtown.

Sources familiar with the state's plans say the Department of Administrative Services is in deep negotiations to purchase Connecticut River Plaza and 55 Farmington Ave., which was recently put up for sale by the Hartford Financial Services Group. But there is no clear timetable as to if or when a final agreement will be reached.

So it seems that 55 Farmington is the choice. @ 286K SF, its not a huge building, but will surely replace a handful of small offices.

I think CT river plaza was the most obvious, so thats no surprise. I still think that lumping state offices closer together might be smarter than putting some all the way in Asylum hill...

but still good to see this moving forward.....

Lets assume this rumor is correct. This means that 777 Main street is still set for residential development. YAY. because that is the project I am most interested in at this time.

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55 Farmington kind of came out of left field but it does make sense considering how close it is to the Capitol. It's a very nice building. I used to work there when I was in High School working at the Hartford. It seems as if the state will be moving there and to CT River Plaza. CT River plaza is key though. That location is prime, right on the river, and that area needs to be full of workers and eventually residents.

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saw that!!! this bodes well for the downtowns near future.

assuming CT river plaza with 2000 odd workers, Front 9 tv studion on the plaza, 199 apartments in the Clarion.... the Plaza should be seeing a major boost by 2014.

add in 286 apartments at 777 Main street and the foot traffic around State house square up main street towards 960 should really pick up.

the United Health folks used to frequent the square and that part of main street so I assume the state workers will as well, and the residents of course will. as discussed somewhere on here earlier, I think 777 Main will connect downtowns two main housing clusters.... so, I will likely post this link in the downtown housing thread as well as it surely belongs there too.

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saw that!!! this bodes well for the downtowns near future.

assuming CT river plaza with 2000 odd workers, Front 9 tv studion on the plaza, 199 apartments in the Clarion.... the Plaza should be seeing a major boost by 2014.

add in 286 apartments at 777 Main street and the foot traffic around State house square up main street towards 960 should really pick up.

the United Health folks used to frequent the square and that part of main street so I assume the state workers will as well, and the residents of course will. as discussed somewhere on here earlier, I think 777 Main will connect downtowns two main housing clusters.... so, I will likely post this link in the downtown housing thread as well as it surely belongs there too.

The Sonesta CP renovation is huge. According to that article, they still don't have financing. If this puts them over the hump, great. But they said they would start construction last yaer. That obviously didn't happen.

The corner of Pearl and Trumbull would have been my next priority not 777 Main. Get the density up on Trumbull Street and that gives the city a really humming corridor. 777 seems like a pipe dream right now.

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777 may kinda feel like a pipe dream, but it is clearly more than just that.

The state is giving them 5 million for the now income housing component. they are likely to seek funding as a historical tax credit of some sort like the plaza did. the new state development agency is likely to be involved, and the owner is motivated to make something happen to his property. (Imagine the cost of keeping this building empty for a year)

The clarion property does not have the same financial pressures on it. its kind of hidden, and only cost the owner 500K not 12 million. the tax burden is also a fraction of 777 main.

I think the state will pony up funds for asbestos removal, and some kind of tax break as a historical redevelopment. Grunberg will make some concession to the developer making it more affordable but retaining a nice stake. the developer will get his financing from some bank looking to expand into the area.... First Niagara.

60 million total cost right?

5 for low income

10 from state for asbestos?

3 M tax credit? total guess

I think these developers will get close to 1/3 of the development cost from the state... the state will get one less burden and additional tax revenue over time.

developers equity maybe 10-15 million, and the rest financed.

Its entirely possible. and not all that pipe dreamy.

The Clarion however really seems ready to roll now. That project was projected to be way cheaper right? something like 20 million, and they now have 25% from the state... Awesome! and they are approved as historic and all the way through zoning... just need building dept approval now I think and they seem to be waiting on that till the last minute.

If they can get this started and have it open by spring 2013, I think it will fill up quite quickly.

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In this article regarding the increase in office sales, the HBJ again mentioned that the state is in active negotiations with CT River Plaza and 55 Farmington Ave.

http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121001/PRINTEDITION/309289962/1003/NEWS

Also the same article mentions over $83 million in sales still possible this year. assuming that a ghood chunk of that is these 2 buildings.

We are starting to get an inkling of what Hartford will look like in 5 years.

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Regarding the Office deal.

There has been no news really in a while.   Must be a negotiations thing.

 

Ct River Plaza = 556K SF

55 Farmington = 286K SF

and in a recent article about the shift in opffice vacancy, the state was quoted at around 2500 positions to move.

I had previously read 2000, so either this is an increase or a clarification or I suppose a further random ambiguous number that means nothing.

I would think that 2500 could fit in CT River plaza alone, but if the plan is for both buildings, who am I to question it.

splittiong by SF, that SHOULD mean that 55 Farmington would house about 850 workers  and CT River Plaza 1650

 

I am not sure the 850 in 55 Farmington would feel like a huge change since not long ago the Hartford has its Life operation there, and their leaving was not a huge hit to vibrancy.  partially because AETNA moved enough workers in to make up for it and for ING moving.

 

The 1650 should pretty well transform The Plaza just the way United health moving to City Place did in a negative way.  If I recall United health had closer to 2000 Workers when they moved, but maybe someone knows better than me and my guess.

 

The Other big move being UConn is likely to represent probably closer to 2500 people when nits all said and done.  as I said, they are now going to move Engineering and Writing as well as West Hartford.

West Hartford is 2000 students and faculty  Engineering is # Graduate students: 728 M.S. and Ph.D based on their web site.  not sure oh many of those are PHD, but I would think that at least 500 would be moving if the whole Masters program moves.

so 2500 seems like a good number now  and 200K SF

 

I figure 960 main is an option as well as taking more space in the XL building with the business school

Also maybe N of 84 in one of those data centers (near renseller school)

 

its a shame 200 CP is out.  maybe the state will take that on now and remediate the asbestos, while giving 55 farmington to UConn?

seems unlikely.

 

I think 260 Main Street might be mostly vacant now that I think about it UBS moved to the Steam boiler window a while back, n ot sure the size theer though.

Edited by The Voice of Reason

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its a shame 200 CP is out. 

 

The only place I have seen this reported is you from a source.  Is that an absolute fact or hearsay (no offense)?

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None taken.

 

It is definately inside info. as in an employee at W Hartford Campus involved in the transition.

 

I am not sure if I should have posted it nor not, but I consider my source to be of an appropriate level to be a key dicision maker in this process.  In fact I suspect that my source is involved in the process as a stakeholder.

 

Asbestos was just one sticking point, price was the other. there were allusions to even others.

 

I suppose my source could be wrong, but we will, I guess, have to sit and wait on that.

 

The info about the additional programs seems pretty legit as well.

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guess my source was spot on... lol

 

Didnt come here for thaT HOWEVER....

 

The CRDA had a housing meeting just the other day and the agenda items are getting interesting.  We seem to be extremely close to a couple of projects getting started...

 

housing commission met 9-6

full board met yesterday

 

from the housing committee minutes:

 

Per Mr. Deller, the 777 Main Street Project and the 179 Allyn Street Project have permits pending with the City of Hartford.

 

So thats cool.

but also 179 Allyn is adding 20% affordable units because they are now trying to get historic tax credits.  They are tied together and I suspect for such a old historic building, a no brainer.  as a result they asked to amend their CRDA funding to make it more aggresive pay down and such, so in short, CRDA is less involved, federal historic money is now part of the mix.   this was approved and went to the board yesterday.

 

101-111 Pearl  no realy bombshells here, just that the mayor of hartford expressed concern regarding color treatment to be utilized.  the developer is exploring other alternatives (ill agree, the render was nice but that color was a little institutional.

 

3 CP (AI Engineering)

48 apartments and 20K sf of commercial office  it moved forward, but no details given in the minutes regarding the funding

 

they did an update on 38-42 Elm too.  not sure what thats all about. but an update means there is progress

 

 

ALSO

 

the agenda for the main board meeting...

The mayor presented them the cities plan for North of 84  and a housing study

 

and the housing commpitte items of 179 Allyn and 3 CP were also to be voted on

.

 

then the venu comittee reviewed each of their facilities.

 

Im interested to see the I-84 plan as it should be part of public record and posted in the cournat any day now

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Someone has spruced up the outside of 777.  Sod has been put down and there are planters in front of the building. It actually makes a big visual difference.

 

My question is WTF does the mayor have to do with the color of a building?  It's none of his business and way, way outside his authority.  I remember one mayor that wanted the stegosaurous removed from Burr plaza because he didn't like it. Luckily, no one cared what art work he liked.

Edited by beerbeer

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I'm certainly curious to see the city's plan for NoDo as well.  I would hope it includes planning for a major development, such as a new arena.  There will need to be that sort of investment to get any developers interested in reclaiming this area for downtown. 

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