I’ll have a good deal more on this in a few. Stay tuned.
The City of Hartford is close to knocking down one of its most visible, and notorious, eyesores. WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.
There are a few ugly buildings downtown that catch the eye of the city driver. But only one is so ugly that folks at city hall actually call it the Butt Ugly Building. No, it’s not the one just off I-84 with the big portraits of people on it. Instead, as one person said, it’s the building – with falling bricks, boarded-up windows, and overgrown weeds -- that looks like a bomb hit it.
The city has long wanted to knock the Butt Ugly building down. New Mayor Pedro Segarra says that when he took office, he decided to expedite the process.
“Why this? Because I think that this is part of a mosaic of things that need to be done in our city. I personally have had a very bad relationship with this building in terms of just having to look at it. So, you know, why this? Because I’m a member of the Hartford Stage board whose customers and patrons need to drive by the site.”
Segarra gave other reasons for expediting this project, saying it’s part of plan to redevelop what the city calls Downtown North.
What he didn’t say, though, was that the building and its neighboring parking lot were at the center of a failed deal that led to the conviction and ultimate resignation of Segarra’s predecessor – former Mayor Eddie Perez. And he made no attempt to say that knocking the building down was a way of moving beyond Perez.
“Yes, this is clearly more visible, yes, it’s clearly sends a message that we’re moving forward on the agenda. But really, this is part of many other things that need to happen.”
Segarra and his staff say the city is working with the building's owner to finish a $625,000 deal, possibly this week. Should the deal fall through, the city plans to take the property. Demolition could happen sometime this fall. After the building is gone, the city says it will consider the best use for the parcel and its surrounding properties.