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Thursday, March 31, 2011


In classic Hartford economic development style, it looks like the city is ready to let the former Capewell Nail Factory collapse into the street rather than push to market its redevelopment.

Barricades have been set up on the north side of the former mill and factory and the sidewalk has been blocked, apparently to try to keep pedestrians and motorists from being in the collapse zone when the building finally gives up.

This property would have made great housing if rehabbed or even great retail style use for something creative like an outlet mall. The building featured high ceilings, hardwood floors and even some great architecture, especially the main entrance and what appears to have been the main office at one time.

If Hartford really understood what economic development was all about, this project would have been a great tie-in to the Colt's Building, the new Dutch Point housing as well as being only a couple block walk to the Connecticut Science Center, Convention Center and the still vacant and undeveloped Front Street retail.

The picture below says a lot about the Front Street development, which is still vacant. The first tenant to announce their move to the project apparently backed out and a new tenant recently announced plans to move in there, but as of today there was still no activity to be found on the property.

Next week I'll be posting about many of the "announced" projects that were hyped with press releases and photo ops and never moved forward. Was it because of corruption, incompetence, the economy or maybe a combination of all three? Plaza Mayor, WFSB's Main Street move, Northland and the YMCA building, Calos Mouta and 95-101 Pearl Street and even a little known project on Tower Avenue that received hundreds of thousands of dollars in government funding and a shovel was never put in the ground.

Is this the message being sent regarding tenants for the Front Street retail area?


Anonymous said...


Have a little bit of patience with Front Street. The new theater is moving forward. They are designing the space as we speak and will start construction very soon. Another announcement may come shortly. There is a new leasing team in place also.

Just because this has been talked about for 6 years, does not mean there has been a built product to sell to tenants. The name was thrown around well before the existing developer had control. This type of project has to be in place to get anybody to look at it.

There are so many misconceptions and naysayers. Did you read Dan Haar yesterday? This is not an apparel or hard goods retail project. It's a destination entertainment, nightlife and restaurant project that can also serve the daytime CBD population.

You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. Let's turn people's attitudes about this around and get some support.


Your points are more of the excuses we keep hearing all the time. I'll believe a movie theater is coming when the first ticket is sold.

You most likely come from the "city side" of this project and are used to making sure the spin machine is tuned up. Let me ask you if you are familiar with a little project called Blue Back Square.

A project that went from concept to reality and tenants moving in in probably less than 24 months, so to hear that it has "been talked about for 6 years" shows Hartford's problems. We as a city are all talk and no action.

And just as a sidenote, our former leader, Mayor Eddie A. Perez had stated publicly that Blue Back Square would be a failure. That is all we need to know about Hartford's vision. I wish we had a few failures like Blue Back underway in our city.

How are those hi-rise luxury condos at the old YMCA site coming along. Northland isn't even keeping up with the taxes there. How is the "green building" we saw hyped so much for the old WFSB site coming. I hear it is dead, and now we have another vacant lot to welcome people entering the City from the highway.

Anonymous said...

Wrong about the city side. Just an eternal optimist. You and others have every right to be skeptical until the first ticket is sold, however there is a difference between the ignorant naysayers(not pointing at you on this) and people that are informed who don't see results. Too many people are hoping for failure at Front Street and other city projects and those people are impediments to success.

Front Street has little to do with the city, other than the fact that it is in the city. The state controls the land and has guided the process. They are to blame for the reason this has taken so long. They let the first developer drag their feet for way too long, before pulling the plug and getting it in the hands of someone that could execute. Until Segarra, the City did not talk about it, as they were bitter about being shut out of the process and not getting tax revenue.

Blue Back did not go from concept to reality in 24 months. Many many years of planning by the town and developers went in to acquiring land and reshaping an area of the downtown that ultimately took 2 years to approve and construct from the time plans were on paper.

Time will ultimately tell the tale, but I think if enough like minded people with positive energy get behind something, it will work.

Mr King said...

We need to work with the Indians to put a casino on Front street. Nothing else will bring people to Hartford. Nobody will come downtown to go to the movies. Suburban theaters have been closing. A casino would bring in restaurants, bars, etc and this would bring in people.

Anonymous said...

"I wish we had a few failures like Blue Back underway in our city."
[in today's Courant]

The National Jean Company store in West Hartford's Blue Back Square has closed due to declining sales, the owner of the store said.

The 4,100 square foot store, located at 73 Isham Road, offered women's apparel, accessories, gifts and children's clothing.

In an email, the store's owner, Steve Simon said that he has decided to expand the two National Jean Co. stores he operates in Massachusetts, including one in Newton. "People in [West Hartford], they really don't like to shop. We've had quite a few people from [there] shop in our stores in Massachusetts."

"Our stores are doing great in my Massachusetts locations," Simon added.

Ernie said...

Congratulations to Panagore and his cracker jack team of employees!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on -- one store closes and you are acting like Blue Back is a failure? Blue Back is doing very well, thank you.