November 20, 2017

Hartford solicits bidders for development around Dunkin' Donuts Park

PHOTO | City of Hartford
PHOTO | City of Hartford
A map of property around the Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford that the city would like to see developed.

Hartford officially issued its request for proposals (RFP) Monday seeking bidders to develop 32 city-owned properties totaling 13 acres around Dunkin' Donuts Park.

The RFP emphasizes the potential for mixed-use development in four different parcels, anchored by residential buildings with lower floor retail or office space.

Three parcels overlook the recently constructed ballpark, a 6,000-seat stadium. The park hosts the Hartford Yard Goats Double-A minor league baseball team and welcomed nearly 400,000 fans this past season, Mayor Luke Bronin said. He also touted the nearby Candlewood Suites hotel that opened east of the stadium.

One parcel is adjacent to the city's new public safety complex. Developers can bid on a single parcel or any combination of the four.

"The overarching development plan envisioned for Downtown North is one that creates a vibrant

mixed-use urban neighborhood which reestablishes essential connections between Hartford's north side neighborhoods and the downtown center," the RFP states.

Bronin said city leaders believe the properties defined in the RFP are ripe for development.

"We hope bidders will recognize the importance of pedestrian-friendly development that connects Downtown North with the Clay Arsenal and Upper Albany neighborhoods as well as Main Street," he said.

In 2014, the previous city administration awarded development rights for the stadium and surrounding parcels to a single developer, Centerplan. Mayor Bronin's administration terminated Centerplan's contract to develop Dunkin' Donuts Park in 2016 after cost overruns and delays. The stadium opened this year and was named the 2017 Ballpark of the Year by BaseballParks.com.

In October, the city of Hartford terminated Centerplan as the developer of the parcels surrounding Dunkin' Donuts Park because of the company's failure to deliver the ballpark "and lack of honesty and transparency," Bronin said.

The city, however, still remains tied up in legal disputes with Centerplan over its firing.

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