February 15, 2005
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer
With financing finally
wrapped up and demolition well on its way, a useful future
for the former Sage-Allen building on Hartford's Main Street
came one step closer to reality Monday with the announcement
that the building's developer and the University of Hartford
have agreed to house 136 students there by September 2006.
"I think the idea of bringing young people downtown ...
adds a whole dimension of life," said developer Marc S.
Levine of 18 Temple Street LLC. "And hopefully we'll give
these young people a transition point into downtown and it will
contribute to our ability to retain some of the best and brightest
The Sage-Allen project - next to the rehabilitated Richardson
Building, home to the Marriott Residence Inn, and two buildings
down from Capital Community College's home in the former G. Fox
building - is intended to bring student housing, a parking garage,
and 12,000 square feet of retail space to Main Street. It would
also reopen Temple Street, a one-way passage between Main and
Financing the project has caused a few bumps along the way,
but the $50 million package is now complete. Roughly $40 million
will come from a loan from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority;
$4.68 million will be a low-interest loan from the Capital City
Economic Development Authority; $750,000 will come from the Connecticut
Development Authority in the form of a sales tax exemption; and
the rest will be paid by the developers, Levine said. Walter
Harrison, president of the University of Hartford, was enthusiastic
about the project, to be called Temple Street.
"It's astonishing to see all the activity in downtown Hartford," Harrison
said. "I think it's going to be a terrific prospect and
a great opportunity for students to learn about the city and
think more strongly about staying here."
The university is interested in the project for several reasons,
Harrison said: It makes sense to give upperclassmen an off-campus
environment in which to live; the university is committed to
bringing new life to downtown Hartford; and the university's
demand for student housing exceeds its supply.
The Market and Temple street sides of the project will be the
site of a parking garage and 42 four-bedroom townhouses, at least
34 of which will be for student use, Harrison said.
Harrison would have preferred the project be completed by fall
2005, but he understands that these things take time, he said.
The Sage-Allen building is central to the downtown revitalization
effort, as it should reconnect vital parts of the city that have
long been disconnected and bring foot traffic to city streets,
said CCEDA spokesman Dean Pagani.
"It's a really crucial link to everything else," Pagani
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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