The dismal sight of the abandoned Capitol West building off I-84 that has become an unwanted city landmark will soon be gone.
Under a negotiated settlement approved by a judge Thursday, the city will pay $1.7 million to buy the multi-story building at a key gateway to both downtown and the Asylum Hill neighborhood, home to The Hartford and Aetna.
David Panagore, the city's chief operating officer, said it could cost another $2.5 million and take up to seven months to demolish the building, clean the site and landscape it.
Owner Joshua Guttman, who paid $1 million for the former office building in 2004, had offered to sell it for $2 million, but the city said it would not pay more than $1 million.
At the urging of Mayor Pedro Segarra, the city council voted in April to take the property, at 1–7 Myrtle St., by eminent domain, and in May Guttman sued the city.
The two sides have been negotiating since then, which ended with Hartford Superior Court Judge Jane S. Scholl ordering the $1.7 million judgment.
Segarra set his sights on Capitol West shortly after he succeeded in getting the dilapidated former H.B. Davis Building on Main Street — known as the "Butt Ugly Building — demolished last year.
"The city of Hartford was reasonable and measured in its approach to taking possession of the property and I'm pleased that the court intervened and made a decision that sided with the best interests of the city and surrounding neighborhood," Segarra said in a statement issued late Thursday afternoon. "Removing this eyesore from the city skyline will represent a hallmark achievement for the city, region and state."
The Hartford Financial Services Group will contribute up to $2 million to the city for the purchase and demolition of the Capitol West building, which is on the eastern edge of The Hartford's Asylum Hill Campus.
"We are thankful that The Hartford has agreed to assist with funding a portion of the cost to demolish the building, which will help revitalize the Asylum Hill neighborhood and connect it to the heart of our city," Segarra said.
Coleman Levy, Guttman's attorney, said his client was satisfied with the agreement.
"There's no animosity," he said. "The parties came to an agreement."
Although plans for the site have yet to be determined, Panagore said it could play a key role in any number of transportation projects being considered for the area.
"It's going to be a very busy area over the next decade," he said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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