Connecticut Agencies May Move to Downtown Hartford

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.

3 Comments on "Connecticut Agencies May Move to Downtown Hartford"

  1. Clark Morris | October 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm |

    This could be good news/bad news for Hartford depending on whether valuable real estate is taken off the tax rolls. I doubt that Hartford can afford any revenue loss.

  2. I hope they don’t do this. I worked for years to get OUT of Hartford – it was so scary working up there. I went out of my way NOT to spend money up there. There is no parking, and traffic is a nightmare. I need to have my own car to be able to get my kids if need be. After seeing a drive by shooting I made my mind up to get out of the city, it scares me to think they will move us back. I certainly won’t venture out to spend my hard earned money in Hartford. By the time you get out drive anywhere find a spot get back your lunch would be over anyway…pointless to try, and dangerous to boot. I wont be riding the bus, so it will just create a larger traffic nightmare than already exits by funneling more cars into the city, I will not leave my only asset unattended in a lot to get broken into. During the winter it took me 2-1/2 to 3 hrs to get home from Hartford because of the traffic jams, and the snow plowing in the winter is a joke in Hartford.Just terrible news to hear. We all just drive in and out of Hartford, we don’t hang out for the “night life” which include shootings and robbings, oh wait, thats the day life too…

  3. There is some irony in the fact that Governor Malloy’s version of “sustainable development” is only sustainable if hundreds of millions of tax dollars are poured into projects that don’t make economic sense. While it may make sense to consolidate some smaller agencies which are currently in leased facilities into State-owned buildings, DOT is a very large agency which is already in a State-owned building. It would be very difficult to find office space and parking in Hartford for all the employees that would need to be relocated – and then what would you do with the existing building?

    Hartford’s basic problem is that it has been run into the ground by decades of incompetent and/or corrupt leadership. The City will never be a great place to be until they cut taxes dramatically, step up law enforcement, and improve the roads (no one is going to ride the busway!). As long as the citizens of Hartford continue to vote for the same party that ruined the City, they will continue to suffer the consequences.

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