Goodwin Hotel owner is sole DoNo bidder

BY Gregory Seay

Image | Contributed
Image | Contributed
A breakdown of DoNo properties.
A team led by Stamford landlord-developer RMS Cos., owner-operator of The Goodwin Hotel in downtown Hartford, has emerged as sole bidder to redevelop the city's Downtown North quadrant into a potential $200 million mix of residential and commercial spaces, the city and RMS say.

The city announced that RMS submitted by Thursday's revised application deadline its detailed proposal for transforming DoNo's mostly commuter parking acreage adjacent to Dunkin' Donuts Park.

That only one development team responded to the city's request for development proposals belies the apparent interest shown when individuals representing some two dozen potential bidders appeared at a bidder's conference the city held in mid-December in the ballpark's Aetna Community Center.

As recently as early February, the city cited heavy interest in redeveloping its approximately 20 acres bounded by I-84 and Main and Windsor streets for resetting the original Feb. 15 bid deadline to March 1.

"A number of developers had expressed interest throughout the process, and we certainly had hoped for more responses,'' Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement disclosing RMS's bid team.

"That said, we look forward to reviewing the proposal that was submitted and working with the developer to determine whether it's a viable and appropriate project," Bronin said.

The city reissued a request for proposals late last fall after it fired its previous choice as DoNo developer, Centerplan Inc., due to Centerplan's troubled involvement in constructing the downtown home of the minor-league Yard Goats.

RMS has been an active developer, landlord and property manager in Connecticut. Its property portfolio lists online nearly two dozen properties, mostly hotels and apartments primarily in Fairfield County.

Aside from acquiring, renovating and reopening last year 124 luxury guest rooms at The Goodwin, in Stamford, RMS built UConn's housing for up to 300 students at 900 Washington Blvd.

A City Hall spokesman said Thursday that specific details about RMS's DoNo will not be publicly available until later in the review-approval process.

RMS Principal Randy Salvatore also declined to detail his group's DoNo proposal, except to say that, when all phases are completed, it will cost about $200 million, nearly all of it financed privately. Salvatore said the group's proposal is heavily residential, with some retail. He said the city hasn't revealed a timeline for its review process.

The reboot of The Goodwin Hotel has "far exceeded my expectations'' and was largely the reason RMS weighed additional investment in downtown Hartford, Salvatore said, adding the bad fiscal rap the city and state have gotten should not mask the opportunities RMS and other investors see.

According to the city, in addition to being the DoNo owner-developer, RMS's construction unit would serve as general contractor. The architect/planners are Kenneth Boroson Architects of New Haven and Torti Gallas + Partners, of Silver Spring, Md.

The Freeman Cos. of Hartford would be the project's civil engineer-surveyor.

This is an updated version of an earlier post.

CORRECTION: RMS Cos. was not involved in building or ownership of West Hartford's Delamar Hotel. A previous version misstated the relationship.