HARTFORD —— The city is looking to transform an 86-acre parcel of wooded land it owns on Fienemann Road in Farmington into a sprawling office complex.
Hartford officials are partnering with the town of Farmington to solicit a real estate broker and review development submissions. The municipalities have put together a selection committee, composed of four Hartford representatives and three Farmington officials, which will choose the broker and developer. Hartford members are Alexander Aponte, the city council's majority leader, Bernadine Silvers, Tyler Smith and David Jorgensen.
The parcel is located along Fienemann Road and is bordered by Slater Road and I-84.
"Both the city and the town have a vested interest in ensuring that the property is appropriately developed to its highest and best use," Mayor Pedro Segarra wrote in a letter to the city council. "The intention is to enter into a long-term lease with a developer for this site."
The revenue would be split between the municipalities, Segarra said, with a portion compensating Farmington for real estate taxes and a portion being funneled into the Hartford Parks Trust Fund, a fund established in the 1980s that helps pay for city park beautification efforts and enhancements.
The selection committee is preparing to put out a request for qualifications so it can choose a real estate broker.
City officials said the broker would assist in the selection of a developer, who in turn would seek tenants. Construction would be paid for by the developer, Aponte said.
"The expectation is we should be able to tie in at least some of it with the UConn Health Center and Jackson Labs," Aponte said. "Another possibility for the site is a hotel."
Prior to any development, the city will apply for a zone change to the Farmington Planning and Zoning Commission. The property, which is currently classified as residential, must be changed to a professional office zone.
Officials involved in the project have said they expect to sign a long-term lease with a developer.
"No developer is going to want a 5- or 10-year lease," Aponte said. He said the city would be looking to sign a lease of 30 years or more.
"The economy is improving, maybe a bit slowly, but we're not breaking ground tomorrow," Aponte said. "Demand is coming back up again."
Jonathan Putnam, executive director of the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield in Hartford, described the area as a good location for businesses.
"That's a parcel that's hard to find in that corridor. There's really nothing else like it of its size," he said. "Leasing in that submarket has been good, though the market has been depressed."
The land's proximity to the highway and existing office parks also makes it a valuable asset, Putnam said.
"It would be wasteful not to take advantage of the income that the city could produce there," he said.
An informational session on the proposed development will be held Tuesday at the city's public library, 500 Main St. It will begin at 5:15 p.m.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at