21 Capitol Ave, Unit C, Hartford

21 Capitol C, Hartford

Historic charm and modern updates make this condo a fantastic option for carefree living, right in the heart of Downtown Hartford.

This townhouse-style unit is move-in ready with an open floor plan, high ceilings, exposed brick, oversized windows, hardwood floors throughout, new lighting fixtures and fresh paint.

The remodeled kitchen offers granite counters, stainless steel appliances, updated cabinetry, and a breakfast bar. The space flows into the dining area and beyond to the living room with a wood burning fireplace. Down a short hallway on the main level, you’ll find an updated full bathroom and a bedroom.

Upstairs, the master bedroom suite features double closets, a renovated en-suite bathroom, and a lofted ceiling with skylights.

The condo has central air conditioning, plenty of storage space, laundry in the unit, a reserved parking spot, and access to the green space adjacent to the rear of the building. The condo fee includes heat and hot water.

Enjoy a quick walk to the theatres, Wadsworth Atheneum, popular restaurants, Bushnell Park and more!

21 Capitol Avenue, Unit C, has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and 1,327 sqft. The home is offered for $249,900. If you’d like to see this home, please have your agent arrange a showing, or call Amy at 860-655-2125 to schedule a visit. More details and a photo tour are available.

5a Linden Place, Hartford

5a Linden Place, Hartford

Welcome to your new townhome at the historic Linden community, steps from Downtown Hartford’s numerous amenities.

The formal living room is a light, bright space with bay window, white washed brick, original fireplace and built-in shelving. Down the hall, the remodeled kitchen opens to the family room space with exposed brick wall. It also connects to the dining area, which walks out to a private porch, overlooking the community’s lovely garden space. A powder room and numerous closets are also located on the first floor.

Upstairs, the oversized master bedroom features a private balcony, fireplace, bay window, large closet, and en-suite bathroom. There are two additional bedrooms, both with good closet space, one with another private balcony overlooking the garden. A hallway full bathroom and laundry closet complete the second floor.

There are two new heating/cooling units and thermopane replacement windows throughout the unit. A deeded garage space and storage unit in the basement provide additional convenience.

Enjoy a short walk to work, the library, theaters, museums, restaurants and Bushnell Park!

5a Linden Place is offered at $329,000. If you’d like to see this property, please have your agent arrange a showing or call me at 860-655-2125 to schedule a visit. More details and a photo tour are available.

Visible Progress at 179 Allyn in Hartford

179 Allyn Apartments

Dakota Partners is in the process of rehabilitating the historic Judd & Root building at the corner of Allyn and High streets in Downtown Hartford into 63 one bedroom apartments over ground floor commercial space. The developer’s project page notes that tenants are expected to begin to move into the units in the summer of 2014.

The above photo was taken on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 and shows that work is well underway. Windows on the 5th and 6th floors have been replaced, as have most of the windows on the 4th floor. Zooming in on the original image, one can see studs through the windows on the 4th and 5th floors but not on the 6th. Perhaps the top level is close to ready for new Downtown residents.

A call to the Dakota office seeking comment on the project’s timeline and a local contact for potential tenants was not returned.

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…

Learning from Portsmouth, NH

We found Portsmouth to be a very interesting place. And as residents of an area trying to build the type of vibrancy that they seemed to already have, it was difficult not to compare and contrast Portsmouth with the Hartford area.

Market Square

For background, the City of Portsmouth proper is only 15.6 square miles and has a population of about 21,000. This is about the same geographic size as our municipalities, as the City of Hartford is 17.3 square mile with 125,000 people and West Hartford is 21.9 square miles with 63,000 people.

Downtown Portsmouth as a Neighborhood and Destination

We spent most of our time in Downtown Portsmouth. That’s where our hotel was, and that seemed to be the center of activity – shops, restaurants and attractions. Downtown has a critical mass of stuff, and we’re guessing it’s attracting people from the neighboring towns since there didn’t appear to be enough housing Downtown for all the people we saw out and about.

Portsmouth NightlifeThere were a lot of tourists/visitors there, but it wasn’t clear why they were in town. Many (like us) were there for the local beaches. Others staying in our hotel were there on business. But unlike visiting Downtown Hartford during a big event, it was not obvious why they were there.

Defining the Built Environment

In terms of geographic size, Downtown Portsmouth is about the same size as Downtown Hartford. Both have many street blocks while remaining very walkable. My unscientific way of measuring is that I can get the most interesting parts of each Downtown into a single screen at the same zoom level of Google Maps (Portsmouth, Hartford). If anything, Downtown Hartford is a bit bigger.

In terms of building scale, Downtown Portsmouth is about halfway between Downtown Hartford and West Hartford Center. Most buildings are mid-rise structures (generally 4 levels or fewer). There are no skyscrapers (as there are in Downtown Hartford), but there are also very few single level buildings (as are common in West Hartford Center).

There are very few super-blocks in the active part of Downtown Portsmouth. Most of the blocks were small, with multiple buildings on them. Downtown Hartford, and to a lesser extent West Hartford Center, have numerous examples of a single structure occupying entire blocks (or more).

BakeryHighway access to Downtown Portsmouth is very good. I only recall seeing one public garage in addition to the on-street parking. I do not recall any surface parking lots in the Downtown core itself, though I see online that there are four. There is bus service in town, and it looks like they have their own Downtown loop route – like the Hartford Star Shuttle.

Observations

Portsmouth is charming. The historic buildings are interesting to look at, and because there are so many of them they define the look of the town. It is an attractive place to visit.

Every space was utilized. There are some hills in Downtown Portsmouth, so you see buildings where there are walkout basement levels around back on a little side street/alley. They were almost always finished spaces that were shops, restaurants, or apartments.

Their main museum (Strawberry Banke) is Downtown, making it very accessible for visitors.

They were the only game in town. There did not seem to be any other downtown areas competing for the attention of locals or visitors. There were big malls, and there is outlet shopping. But if you want an urban feel in that part of the country, then Downtown Portsmouth appears to the be only option.

There were few national chain stores or restaurants. This was very surprising to us, and we’re not sure if it’s because chains don’t see opportunity in Portsmouth or if the locals discourage chains from entering the market. Either way, the dominance of local shops makes Downtown Portsmouth even more attractive since it’s a different experience than going to the mall.

Street SceneThoughts

Our main takeaway is that Portsmouth has done well for itself given its location, size and history. It has its challenges (economy dependent on cyclical military spending), but it has been consistent in prioritizing history as a core asset to build around. It’s a fun place, and we will likely go back to visit again.

Downtown Hartford is much larger than Portsmouth and the two aren’t really comparable. However, we have many of the same types of complementary attractions, and may be able to learn from them. They have a summer tourist season due to their coastal location. We have visitors coming to town year-round for events at the convention center. They have a modest park on the water, we have a park along the water and a much larger park integrated into Downtown. They have one main museum, we have multiple signature attractions.

The main difference we see is that Portsmouth is a complete and integrated economic system that can easily handle the ebb and flow of visitors. Downtown Hartford sees much larger surges of visitors. When we’re prepared and geared up for it, everything goes smoothly and our guests enjoy the City. But at times it seems like the visitors overwhelm the system.

Hartford projects that are under discussion should improve our baseline economic activity. More apartments and the proposed UConn campus will boost demand for goods and services in Downtown Hartford – many of the same things that visitors need. The iQuilt project is already helping guide visitors through the City to the various attractions.

Hartford seems to be taking positive steps. We have the potential to evolve into a unique Downtown environment that is not only a mixed use neighborhood, but also regularly draws in (more) visitors from surrounding towns. Once we get the baseline activity up to a critical level, we will hopefully see a snowball effect and see development projects that don’t rely on subsidies to be viable.

 
 

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