Positive Developments on the Plaza

Hartford's Consitution Plaza

Constitution Plaza is one of the centers of redevelopment in Downtown Hartford. A number of projects have been on the drawing board for years, and recently there seems to be signs that they will begin moving forward.

The former hotel in the back right of the photo is slated to become apartments. Ken Gosselin, author of the Courant’s CT Property Line blog recently wrote about his encounter with the developer at the site after noticing new fencing.

The former restaurant just behind the fountain in the photo is in the process of becoming a TV studio for a new sports network specializing in golf. The Hartford Business Journal published a piece about the status of Back9Network in April 2013 as they continued to build their brand.

The CT River Plaza office building in the back left of the photo, along with its companion hidden behind the hotel, have been bought by the State for office space (Note: CT River Plaza is not technically part of Constitution Plaza, but the two are connected by a pedestrian bridge). Ken Gosselin reported on the State’s plan to renovate the buildings and have workers on site by 2016.

Out of the frame to the right is the former site of the Broadcast House, for which a new apartment tower is proposed. Greg Bordonaro of The Hartford Business Journal covered the announcement about a year ago.

The building at the far left of the photo is another candidate for redevelopment, as you can see from the green banner at the top. It was evaluated early on in the UConn discussion, but they eventually selected the Times building on Prospect Street.

There is a lot of chatter around Hartford’s Constitution Plaza right now. If these projects are completed, then the space is going to be transformed into a very different environment. The photo at the top was taken in the mid-afternoon on a weekday. It’s safe to say that there will be dramatically more life on the Plaza with hundreds of new apartments and thousands of State workers. Fingers crossed that the different plans work out…

2 thoughts on “Positive Developments on the Plaza”

  1. So, net-net a loss in tax revenue for Hartford? The State doesn’t pay taxes on its properties and the rates for residential are lower than commercial (right now, anyway). And, UConn in the times building… another non-taxable entity. Better hope that the additional people in Hartford makes up for the lost revenue.

  2. Clearly a loss in tax revenue on the CT River Plaza buildings that the State bought.

    Both of the apartment buildings and the TV studio should be taxable, though may have special tax deals/abatements. Apartment buildings are in their own tax bucket (neither commercial nor the heavily discounted residential), and will pay commercial property tax rates by Grand List 2016.

    The Times building that UConn is evaluating is currently owned by a public entity and is presumably not paying taxes. So the proposed use will continue its tax-exempt status. But one can argue that putting UConn in there permanently would lock in the non-taxable use, versus turning it into a taxable use, and be a loss for the City.

    Even after these projects are completed, there will still be many Downtown properties that could be redeveloped into taxable uses, some in prime locations. Some opportunities are existing buildings, and others are currently surface parking lots. I think the goal with these subsidized/public projects is to build a critical mass Downtown and encourage developers to consider additional investments in the City.

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