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City Starting Over On Park Street

Greg Seay

October 19, 2009

The city of Hartford and local developer Carlos Lopez are moving back to square one following the city’s tabling of Lopez’s ambitious $32 million Park Street neighborhood project known as Plaza Mayor.

“We have to re-evaluate things,’’ Mark McGovern, the city’s deputy director of development services, told Deal Watch last week.

McGovern said that process will involve city officials sitting down among themselves and with Park Street neighborhood groups to plot a future course. He stressed the city is committed to a redeveloped architectural gateway for the neighborhood.

“We will take the time necessary to come up with the next steps,’’ he said.

The Plaza Mayor project was initially chosen by the Hartford Redevelopment Agency in July 2005 following a bid selection process for a city-owned 2.25 acre parcel located at the corner of Park and Main streets.

The City Council in 2006 approved the project, which included mid-rise residential towers, a banquet hall, restaurant, street-level retail space, underground parking, and an acre of public space with a fountain.

But on Oct. 8, the city pulled the plug on the project, citing a lack of progress.

Lopez said the project was delayed several times because financing fell through, largely due to the economic downturn.

He said he and his partnership group Solaris LLC, whose managing partner is New York developer Damon Hemmerdinger, so far have at least $500,000 tied up in Plaza Mayor, mostly fees for design work.

Lopez said his group will await the outcome of the Park Street review before deciding whether to resume pursuit of Plaza Mayor. However, that isn’t the biggest concern he and his partners have at this point.

“I don’t know if I have the stomach to go forward with it the way the economy is,’’ Lopez said.

City extends space tallies

With its survey of vacant downtown retail space public, city researchers are tallying vacancies in two more retail corridors.

McGovern said a survey on the Park Street corridor in the city’s west end should be completed by Jan. 1.

Following that, a survey of the Albany Avenue retail corridor is expected to be completed before the city’s fiscal year ends on June 30, 2010, he said.

The downtown survey that uncovered that 40 percent of Hartford’s half-million square feet of center-city retail space was empty as of July has drawn grumbles for spreading more bad news about the city, McGovern said.

However, McGovern said the survey also is having the intended effect of identifying where vacancies exist, enabling landlords and real estate brokers to market them effectively to prospective tenants.

Lawyer takes space

Civil attorney Thomas Crosby has leased 3,000 square feet on the Guilford Green for law offices.

The building, formerly The Mary Lou Fischer Gallery, will be shared with John Pakuta Fache of The Crescent Group.

The Geenty Group Realtors represented tenant and landlord The Page Family Trust in the lease.

Mr. Handyman’s Branford lease

Mr. Handyman has leased an 800-square-foot industrial unit at 53 East Industrial Road in Branford.

Mr. Handyman is a new franchise that deals in upscale personal help with home or business projects.

Bill Clark of The Geenty Group Realtors represented the tenant and landlord Padula LLC in the lease.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Business Journal. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Business Journal Archives at http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/archives.php.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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