The Fight for Young Professionals in the Hartford Area

Young professionals, usually associated with Generation Y (1980-1994), are where it’s at. Local towns and cities in central Connecticut are fighting over them because there are a lot of them (Gen Y is the largest demographic group since the Baby Boomer generation) and they have a lot of spending power.

Hartford has spent quite a bit of time and money courting young professionals to work and live in the city. Hartford 21, the Lofts at Main & Temple, Trumbull on the Park, in addition to other rental options downtown were created with the Gen Y demographic in mind. The currently stalled Front Street development, Colt Gateway, and Riverfront Recapture efforts were also part of the plan.

Blue Back Square in West Hartford is also seen as an attractive area for young professionals, with its restaurants and shops. While the condos there are essentially out-of-reach based on pricing, there is an upscale rental option with The Lofts at Blue Back Square.

And now Simsbury seems to be throwing its hat in the ring. The Simsbury zoning commission voted last week to a new mixed-use development that would have a rental component, marketed toward the young professional demographic.

With all of these options, where are the young professionals ultimately going to choose to live? While I am not technically part of Gen Y (I was born in ’76 and am a staggering 32 years old), I think I am still considered a young professional. What I see my clients and friends gravitating towards are areas that are close to work (long commutes are really a drag), walkability to shops, restaurants, and coffee shops, and some type of nightlife, whether it be a low key coffee shop or wine bar or a techno-thumping club.

Perhaps more importantly, are employers in the Greater Hartford area going to be able to attract enough young talent that all of these options can survive? At what point is saturation reached? I may be incorrect in my thinking, but I’m going to say it anyway. I have a feeling that the Simsbury development might be a little late to the game and Simsbury might not be the ideal location for young professionals because of its more rural nature and lack of “things to do.” But only time will tell…