Editorial By Courant
August 15, 2007
Finally, the fate of the landmark Capitol Building at 410 Asylum St. in Hartford, hanging fire for a decade, has been resolved to the benefit of the city.
Built in 1926 and designed by Thomas W. Lamb, the stately, neo-Classical Revival structure, with its marble floors and wall murals, faces Bushnell Park. It
has been vacant since the fall of 1997. That's when Capitol Center LLC purchased it for $750,000 and evicted its office and retail tenants and planned to
turn it into a parking lot.
City officials and preservationists blocked the demolition by arranging to have 410 Asylum listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and defended
their decision in court.
Capitol Center, a group headed by Milton and Betty Ruth Hollander of Stamford, resolved the ensuing legal impasse by giving the building to New York
City-based Common Ground, a nonprofit developer of supportive housing.
Monday, in a sweet moment of vindication for the city, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority announced a package of state and
federal tax credits, loans and grants worth more than $21.7 million that will permit Common Ground to begin restoring 410 Asylum in the fall.
When finished, the Capitol Building will house 70 rental apartments, most of which will be slated for moderate-income residents, with rents starting at $765
a month. Common Ground also expects to open several service-oriented commercial spaces with special appeal to artists and designers.
Significantly, the renovation will fully incorporate "green" technology that vastly improves energy efficiency and water conservation.
Rejoice! A key piece of Hartford's architectural heritage is on its way back to full functionality. May it survive at least another 81 years.
|Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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