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101 Pearl St. -- Still No Agreement

By Jeffrey B. Cohen

April 06, 2009

Build or get off the site.

That's the message the city sent to developer Carlos Mouta regarding his plans for the city-owned downtown building known as 101 Pearl St. The city made Mouta the property's "preferred developer" more than a year ago. In a letter sent last month, Development Services Director David Panagore gave Mouta 45 days to sign a deal or move on.

Mouta says he still wants to build retail, office space and apartments on Pearl Street. But the environmental remediation costs came in high. (Photo: Hartford Public High School Athletic Hall of Fame)

"The environmental quote that I got seems a lot bigger than it was originally," Mouta said. He's having the environmental company redo the numbers to take a second look.

"I still want to do it, but if the [cost] went up [by a lot], that's a whole different story," Mouta said today.

Mouta also said "there was another thing" at issue, but wouldn't say what.

The city has tried to take the old downtown building and make something out of it for nearly four years. In 2005, it picked a New York developer -- Full Spectrum LLC. That developer backed out in August 2006.

In a press release in January 2008, Mayor Eddie A. Perez said Mouta's plan would "invigorate Pearl Street between Main and Trumbull and help to continue to increase the energy and vibrancy that we are experiencing."

Since then, there's been little news on the project and the two have yet to sign a development agreement.

"Its great location, and it's a challenge," Panagore said in an e-mail. "We hope Mr. Mouta is able to move forward, and we recognize the current condition of the real estate and the financial markets; however, significant time has passed and the needs of the city require that we must move forward, with Mr. Mouta if possible, but forward all the same."

Reprinted with permission of the CityLine blog of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the CityLine at http://blogs.courant.com/cityline/ and the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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