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At Front Street, Movies Soon And More Good News To Come


By Jeff Cohen

September 06, 2012

Front Street is the retail and entertainment district the state built in the center of Hartford's downtown. But since it's completion, the space has been empty. That will soon change. WNPR's Jeff Cohen checks in with state officials who say a movie theater will soon open, and more tenants are on the way.

We're standing at the corner of Columbus Boulevard and Front Street, right across from the Connecticut Convention Center. A couple of guys in hard hats are tinkering with the big, new signs above the doors. Jim Abromaitis is looking on.

"What you're looking at here are some of the finishing touches for Spotlight Theaters, these folks are working on obviously the marquee for one of the theaters. There are three screens as you go around the corner and head up Front Street."

Abromaitis runs the state agency in charge of the Front Street District and says that the theaters should open sometime later this Fall.

"They're doing a lot of the finish work, the sheetrock is all up, they're working on the restaurant portion, the kitchen....We're pretty anxious to get this thing up and running."

He should be. Front Street is the last big part of downtown Hartford's construction project called Adriaen's Landing. But a flagging economy hasn't helped the developers, the HB Nitkin Group, fill the space. Now, though, things are picking up.

The theater and its restaurant and bar will soon open. Abromaitis says there's good news to announce soon about two other empty Front Street spaces. And he also says that the developers are hoping to build adjacent housing -- a building with 115 apartments.

"Yeah, it's been a long time but good things take time and we feel this is going to be a great thing for the City of Hartford."

One downside at Front Street -- the site's original developer, Capital Properties Associates LLC, sued after an initial agreement to work together fell apart. In July, a judge ruled that the state was at fault, that it breached its agreement with Capital Properties, and that it didn't act in good faith. The state, which says it will appeal, could face millions in damages.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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