February 17, 2006
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer
With the signing Friday of an agreement
between the state and a developer for the Front Street retail and
residential district in downtown Hartford, the attention now turns
to discussions about funding between the developer and the city,
In the agreement, the state's Capital
city Economic Development Authority and developer HB Nitkin Group
took the next step in a deal that could bring 200 residential units
and 100,000 square feet of retail to Adriaen's Landing.
As part of the deal, the state agreed
to $11.5 million in rental housing assistance, $6 million in retail
assistance, and about $16 million in improvements to the site, including
a new parking garage.
Should Nitkin succeed in converting
the project to condominiums, the state will not be obligated to
the funding terms set out in the agreement - a mechanism officials
said is designed to avoid a massive windfall to the developer.
Nitkin and the city have up to 120
days to negotiate a funding deal between them. The agreement anticipates
$7 million in federal funding to be approved by the city, in addition
to a tax abatement agreement - both of which are considered key
elements of the project.
But Matt Hennessy, chief of staff to
Mayor Eddie A. Perez, said the city has received the agreement but
does not feel bound by its expectations or its timeline.
"Anticipating a certain [dollar]
number or trying to put a 120-day deadline or something, that just
doesn't fly," Hennessy said, stressing the city has a public
process to follow.
"It's taken the state many
years to get its point, so the fact that they'd throw around a 120-day
deadline without consulting us, or showing us financial information,
is really neither here nor there for us."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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