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One Nearly Down, Two More To Go

Hartford Eyesores So-Called Butt Ugly Building Is About To Be History

Hartford Courant editorial

November 04, 2010

Mayor Pedro Segarra was right to call it "a new day" last Wednesday when he announced that demolition of the old H.B. Davis Building - the dilapidated but once comely former department store on Main Street with the ugly nickname - has begun and will be finished by mid-November.

A new day that promises the rebirth of urban landscape too long dominated by blight.

For years, the vacant Butt Ugly Building has been a foreboding and unsettling sentry welcoming, if that's the word, visitors driving into Hartford from the east on I-84. It presides over desolate but developable land gone fallow.

Its continued presence said "decline." It said "corruption," too - for the part it played in the conviction of former Mayor Eddie Perez and the pending trial of former state Rep. Abraham L. Giles, a political operator.

It's a shame that what was once a perfectly good commercial building was allowed to deteriorate and become an eyesore, but an eyesore it was.

At last, the Hartford Redevelopment Authority has purchased the sad old wreck and is tearing it down. The agency hopes to market the reclaimed site and surrounding land to developers who can turn it into a productive and attractive link between downtown and the Clay Arsenal neighborhood to the north.

This is a great moment for Hartford, hastened by Mr. Segarra.

The mayor also said officials are negotiating with owners to obtain the Capitol West Building on Myrtle Street, near the Asylum Street exit off I-84 west. The epitome of blight on a strategic site, seen by tens of thousands of commuters daily, Capitol West's ugly hulk mars what could be a congenial meeting of Asylum Hill and downtown.

If the city can acquire the Capitol West site and the long-vacant, moldering hotel on Constitution Plaza to the east and redevelop them along with the H.B. Davis site, it will indeed be a new day for downtown Hartford, bright with promise.

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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