A recent Hartford Business Journal story examines a number of efforts by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy to strengthen Hartford, the state’s capital city. One which promises both economic benefits and symbolic value is to bring state agencies into downtown Hartford. Currently, many state agencies — including ConnDOT — are located in suburban office parks that are difficult to access via transit, foot, or bike. Bringing them downtown would further strengthen the state’s support of smart growth and downtown revitalization, and would be another positive step for a governor that has made sustainable development a priority.
From the Journal:
There are other, potentially much more significant, projects in the pipeline. That includes the relocation and consolidation of state agencies to downtown Hartford, which has been in the works for more than a year as the state tries to negotiate the purchase of several major downtown Hartford properties.
Malloy and other state officials have remained tight lipped on the plans, but the governor did indicate his administration is pursuing a different real estate strategy for the state. He said it was wrong-minded for previous administrations to consolidate state agencies outside the city, particularly when it forced the state to lease a lot of office space in the suburbs instead of owning it. [...]
It’s not clear when a deal may be finalized, or which agencies will be relocated to downtown, but any movement of state workers near the central business district should significantly boost foot traffic during the daytime.
It would also boost local business. “A downtown worker will spend between $2,500 and $3,500 a year in the downtown economy,” Donovan Rypkema of the Place Economics consulting firm told Planning Commissioners Journal. Rypkema was quoted in a 2003 article which profiled cities where public buildings have anchored active downtowns — such as Amherst, Massachusetts; Saratoga Springs, New York; and Middletown, Connecticut, where a new police headquarters was combined with a ground-floor restaurant. More recently, four colleges moved to downtown Mesa, Arizona, where a new light-rail system has been built (and which is being extended).
Similarly, relocating state agencies to Hartford would leverage two of the state’s most significant transportation investments: The New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line and CTfastrak bus rapid transit system. Both will expand access to jobs in Hartford and the surrounding region. The city is also reconfiguring downtown streets and bus lines to improve transportation connections and make the area more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists.
Governor Malloy, who is far ahead of the curve in sustainable development policy, is among the honorees at Tri-State’s annual benefit, which is being held on November 8th, from 6-9pm. Join us as we pay tribute to leaders that are Remapping the Region! Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.