Capitol West, the notorious eyesore at the Asylum Street exit off I-84 west in Hartford, is coming down, after years of steady decay and finally, an eminent domain fight by the city.
On Wednesday, city officials and executives from The Hartford, which donated $2 million to buy and knock down the office building, will launch the demolition with a ceremony marking the event. No actual demolition will take place, other than the removal of the Capitol West name from above the main entrance on Myrtle Street.
In the next two weeks or so, asbestos will be removed. Then, the heavy demolition will get underway.
The demolition will cap a 64-year history for the building, which was built in the late 1940s as a two-story automobile dealership showroom and service center. In 1966, five more stories were added to create what is now known as "Capitol West," so name for its location west of the state's seat of government.
In the past 15 years, the building has steadily deteriorated. The two previous owners had failed plans for a technology center and later, housing.
In November, the city agreed to buy Capitol West for $1.7 million, capping off months of sometimes contentious negotiations with the building's last owner, Joshua Guttman. Seven months earlier, the city had voted to take the property by eminent domain, part of redevelopment efforts to remove eyesores at key gateways to the city.
At one point Guttman offered to sell for $2 million, but the city said it wouldn't pay more than $1 million. The courts decided on the final price.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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