Every day the once-majestic building looks more bedraggled. Windows are smashed, thick vines are pulling at the walls, and bricks are beginning to come loose.
If the Capewell Horse Nail Co. factory building isn't saved soon, it's going to be lost, and the loss will be significant. The 105-year-old three-story structure, topped with a Romanesque Revival square tower, is one of Hartford's last great cathedrals of the Industrial Age that hasn't been redeveloped or lost to fire. It would be terrible to lose this one, especially when there is a developer willing to restore it.
For several years, John Reveruzzi has tried unsuccessfully to assemble the funding to turn the building into condominiums. He did a nice restoration of the ornate office building on the site, but has never quite been able to close the funding gap on the main factory building.
Now Winn Development of Boston wants to buy the project from Mr. Reveruzzi and build apartments that could later be turned into condos. The hang-up is a $2.2 million mortgage from the city that Mr. Reveruzzi and Winn would have to pay off. Mr. Reveruzzi has drawn down $1.7 million of the total, city officials say. This is federal money with strings attached, complicating a resolution. Another developer is also said to be interested in the property.
We hope some kind of financing arrangement can be worked out. We recognize that the city has already invested in the property, and hope the investment can be protected.
In addition to its historical status, the Capewell project is in a key location, on the southeastern fringe of downtown. It can be a bridge between the Colt project and Adriaen's Landing and downtown. It can bring development to the surrounding blocks, which will in turn help downtown development move south, as it should. It behooves the city on several levels to save the Capewell.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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