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City Hires Demo Team

Contractor To Start Demolition Of Capitol West On April 4

By Jenna Carlesso

March 20, 2012

The city has hired Manafort Brothers, Inc. to demolish the blighted Capitol West building on Myrtle Street.

Preparations for the demolition are expected to begin during the last week of March, said David Panagore, the city's chief operating officer. A ceremony marking the start of the demolition will be held April 4, he said.

The contractor will begin tearing down the building during the second or third week of April.

Manafort will be paid $1.18 million for the demolition, which could take up to four months, Panagore said. A combination of city bond money and a donation from The Hartford Financial Services group will cover the expense.

The city received about a half-dozen bids for the demolition, Panagore said.

The Hartford last year said it would contribute $2 million toward the purchase and demolition of the building. Capitol West, vacant for more than a decade, is on the eastern edge of The Hartford's Asylum Hill campus. The multi-story building is considered crucial because it's in full view of motorists traveling west through the city on I-84, including thousands driving to work in the Asylum Hill neighborhood.

The city in November agreed to buy Capitol West for $1.7 million, capping off months of sometimes contentious negotiations with the property's owner, Joshua Guttman. At one point, Guttman, who purchased the building for $1 million in 2004, offered to sell it for $2 million, but the city said it would not pay more than $1 million.

At the urging of Mayor Pedro Segarra, the city council voted in April to take the property, at 1?7 Myrtle St., by eminent domain, and in May Guttman sued the city. The two sides have been negotiating since then, which ended with Hartford Superior Court Judge Jane S. Scholl ordering the $1.7 million judgment in November.

Segarra set his sights on Capitol West shortly after he succeeded in getting the dilapidated former H.B. Davis Building on Main Street -- known as the "Butt Ugly Building" -- torn down in 2010.

The city and The Hartford are splitting the costs of both the acquisition of Capitol West and the demolition, Panagore said.

The contractor will use either a wrecking ball or claw method of demolishing the building, he said. It will begin tearing down the building on the Spring Street side.

At this point, Panagore said, the city is not entertaining development proposals for the site because it is awaiting word from the state on how plans for the I-84 viaduct and railroad could affect the location.

Panagore said it would "probably be a couple of years" before the city gets a better picture of how that parcel of land could be used.

In the meantime, he said, the city is considering beautification efforts like a sculpture garden, improvements to sidewalks and decorative fencing in that area.

"We're looking at things we can do to create a more welcoming environment and gateway to Asylum Hill," Panagore said. "It will add indirect value and enhance the neighborhood."

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