Distressed properties on Barbour Street targeted for revitalization
May 26, 2008
Within a few weeks, the city of Hartford will name a private developer charged with the task of developing a plan for improving multiple properties on Barbour Street in northeast Hartford.
“We will identify a private partner, create a vision, and collaborate with that partner to come up with a strategy to rehabilitate multiple properties located on several blocks on Barbour Street,” said Mark McGovern, the city’s acting director of development services.
In February, the city issued a request for qualifications, or RFQ, for developers that would work with the city on improving the Barbour Street corridor.
If successful, there could be similar projects lined up in other areas of the city, including in Hartford’s Franklin Avenue corridor, in the Frog Hollow neighborhood, and Homestead Avenue corridor.
“[The RFQ] is a unique approach that we haven’t taken before,” McGovern said. “We will be using capital funding to partner with the developer and our hope is that in several years we’ll be able to improve the area.”
Over the next six years, the city plans to spend to $50 million from the Hartford Neighborhood Development Fund to assist in development. McGovern said the city has not determined how much it will allocate for each project.
During the past few months, the city officials conducted due diligence and selected two finalists — a group led by Vernon-based Naek Construction and another led by POKO Partners of Port Chester, N.Y.
Naek Construction specializes in housing and medical facility construction but has also partnered with the state and some municipalities on dozens of projects throughout Connecticut.
POKO Partners focuses on inner-city community development with projects that include a mix of affordable housing, sustainable development and adaptive reuse. The company has focused most of its efforts in New York City but has ongoing developments in Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stonington.
McGovern said the goal is to look at distressed properties and abutting city-owned land on Barbour Street.
“The neighborhood is mostly commercial,” said McGovern, who noted that the city does own small pieces of land in the area that could be sold to the developer to enhance adjacent properties.
In addition to partnering with a developer, city officials also plan to partner with nonprofit and neighborhood groups in the Barbour Street corridor. McGovern said the city will also seek other funding sources, including community block grants and state Department of Economic and Community Development grants.
The initiative was developed by Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, said McGovern.
He said Barbour Street was selected because improvements — the construction of new homes and the demolition of dangerous and uninhabitable buildings — have already been made along the corridor.