Even before a shovel has been put into the ground, the Hartford-New Britain Busway project is already leading developers to invest millions of private dollars in the areas around future busway stations.
According to Gerry Amodio, executive director of the New Britain Downtown District, there are plans for a $35 million mixed-use development near the proposed Cedar Street bus station in Newington. Mr. Amodio also spoke of developers in New Britain who are purchasing and upgrading property near future busway stations. “A mixed-use property near the downtown New Britain station was recently bought for $325,000, and an additional $125,000 has been invested for improvements,” said Mr. Amodio.
Elsewhere in New Britain, according to Mr. Amodio, restaurants and nightlife spots are using their dollars to revitalize the business environment—a restaurant on Main Street invested in $300,000 of upgrades to cater to students from the nearby Central Connecticut State University, who are expected to visit the area via the busway. And the new owners of another restaurant attached to the LaQuinta Hotel, directly across the street from the New Britain Downtown Terminal, invested $1.2 million in redevelopment funds to prepare for the busway’s arrival.
The City of New Britain is also doing its part to make the areas around busway stations walkable, bikeable, and livable. The city has secured almost $2 million in streetscaping grant funding, $110,000 from the National Parks Service to construct wayfinding signs, and $750,000 in state grants to support transit-oriented development. The city is also set to receive a $3.2 million Federal Transit Administration Bus Livability Grant in July. The increased foot traffic on the new, pedestrian-friendly streets should bring even more business to the city’s downtown.
The influx of investment near busway facilities comes as no surprise in light of the numerous studies that have shown a correlation between rising property values, economic development, and proximity to bus rapid transit stations. A recent letter to the editor written by Tri-State, Transit for Connecticut, and the Capitol Region Council of Governments said as much, and highlighted the even greater potential for future development along the corridor.