Development projects have their ups and downs | Connecticut and region
As the year draws to a close, the Journal Inquirer has compiled a list of the 10 best stories of 2021 for north-central Connecticut. This is the next in this series, which ends on December 31.
Despite the slowdowns caused by the persistent COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 has brought new development proposals in some of north-central Connecticut, particularly along East Hartford’s Silver Lane corridor.
Meanwhile, other projects – such as the former Manchester Parkade – have made little visible progress.
In East Hartford, developers are discussing two major projects on Silver Lane, with apartments offered for the former Showcase Cinemas property and the announcement of the sale of the Pratt & Whitney airfield.
In September, East Hartford City Council voted to allow the mayor to execute a development agreement for a 360-unit apartment complex on the site of the now demolished movie theaters that face the Interstate 84.
The developer, New Britain-based Jasko Development, told the city the “amenities-packed” housing proposal would be aimed at young professional couples, high-income middle-aged singles and empty nesters looking to reduce. their workforce.
Mayor Mike Walsh said in November that the city plans to finalize the development agreement by February, with construction potentially starting in fall 2023.
Also in November, Pratt & Whitney announced plans to sell the former Rentschler Airfield, a 300-acre site, to Boston-based National Development.
City officials said at the time that one of the uses proposed by the developer was for warehouse and distribution facilities, but they were open to exploring other possibilities.
South Windsor warehouse rejected
A similar, but controversial, proposal for a warehouse or distribution facility was ultimately rejected by the South Windsor Planning and Zoning Commission this year, after a lengthy process that began in July and ended earlier this month.
The developer said this week that it plans to continue the rejection.
The developers have proposed a 360,000 square foot distribution facility on land along Governors Highway and Talbot Lane which abuts several residential areas.
Neighbors strongly protested the project, citing many quality of life issues associated with living near a large-scale trucking operation. Four residents of South Windsor brought motions to intervene.
PZC members did not find interveners made their point, but rejected the request for a number of reasons, including incompatibility with neighboring properties.
The Manchester Parkade site continued to struggle to get started, more than a decade after the city bought the Broad Street plot that once housed a vacant and dilapidated shopping center.
In 2009, voters approved an $ 8 million referendum to revitalize Broad Street, including the purchase of the 18-acre park for $ 1.85 million. It was demolished in May 2012 and an agreement was signed the following year to allow Live Work Learn Play, a developer based in Canada, the exclusive rights to develop the site. The company proposed a number of ideas to the city for mixed-use development.
The contract languished through multiple extensions without any construction due to a number of setbacks – including a court-challenged reduction deal by neighboring owners – until it expired in the summer of 2018.
The Parkade site was designated a Federal Opportunity Zone in May 2018, allowing federal tax relief.
In 2019, the city selected Easton’s Manchester Parkade 1 LLC as the preferred developer for the site. The sale of the property, originally slated for July and priced at $ 1.7 million, has been delayed without another official closing date.
In September, the city’s redevelopment agency tentatively backed revisions to the deal, including requiring the developer to provide progress benchmarks.
Michael Licamele, director of Manchester Parkade 1 LLC, said in September that the developers still plan to begin construction of a mixed-use, office, retail and residential complex on the site in the spring of 2022, once the financing finalized.
Funding secured for the Windsor Locks complex
At Windsor Locks, work on a 76-acre, multi-million dollar All Sports Village complex project has advanced this year, with much of the developer work focused on securing financing to purchase the land.
The Industrial Development Authority in the city of Phoenix announced in October that it would provide up to $ 200 million in tax-exempt bonds to fund the Windsor Locks project.
The All Sports Village project, whose site plan was approved by Windsor Locks PZC in August 2020, would include eight outdoor turf fields and a 220,800 square foot building with 20 basketball courts. The plans show buildings with two 150-room hotels, retail, dining, entertainment and a medical unit.
Andrew Borgia of New York-based JABS Sports Management said in September that the development delays were the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joseph covers East Hartford and South Windsor. He joined JI in July 2021. Joseph is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and is an avid guitarist and coffee enthusiast.