Mayor Eddie A. Perez's plans to demolish and replace the most prominent eyesores in and around Hartford's downtown have been finalized. The city's redevelopment agency should approve the plans as soon as possible. These long-vacant, rundown dumps can't come down fast enough.
Anyone who travels the city would have to be blind not to know the buildings: the Capitol West on Myrtle Street near I-84; the H.B. Davis at 1161 Main St., also known as the "Butt Ugly Building"; the former Clarion Hotel on Constitution Plaza; and its next-door neighbor Broadcast House, the former home of television station WFSB.
Owners of some of the properties have for years floated too-good-to-be-true plans to renovate or redevelop them. They have done nothing but stunt the growth around the buildings and endanger passers-by.
City inspectors, for example, have twice cited the owner of the "Butt Ugly Building," Robert Danial of the Morgan Reed Group, for falling bricks and concrete that have damaged cars parked nearby.
In 2001, a taxi driver found a dead body on the loading dock of Capitol West, known for its broken-eye-socket windows that cause rubbernecking delays on the highway.
Approval of the mayor's plan would kick off a process whereby the city would seek financing and attempt to negotiate a fair purchase price for the properties. Upon purchase, city officials would solicit building plans for the sites from developers.
Mr. Perez has made it clear the city would not hesitate to acquire the properties by eminent domain if necessary. That's good news.
The clock has run out on the dumps. It's time to get aggressive.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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