With little opposition emerging at the end of the day, the Hartford City Council approved a $350-million downtown north redevelopment project that includes a new ballpark for the New Britain Rock Cats (Class AA; Eastern League).
The vote was not close: six in favor, three abstentions. And while those abstaining expressed concern about the finances of the project, they were not concerned enough to vote against it.
The proposal from developer DoNo Hartford LLC — a joint venture backed by Centerplan Development Co. and LeylandAlliance — calls for a mixed-use development with office, retail, parking, brewery and 9,000-capacity ballpark for the Rock Cats. Like any large development scheme, there are plenty of moving parts, and the city will lease part of the land to DoNo Hartford, with the developer subleasing the ballpark to the Rock Cats. The new ballpark, if progress continues, could open as soon as the 2016 season.
“The redevelopment of Downtown North is going to create jobs, encourage new businesses, strengthen existing ones and help grow Hartford’s grand list, all things that are absolutely vital to create a healthy vibrant city,” Mayor Pedro Segarra said in a statement Tuesday night. “Over the last few months, support for the project has grown exponentially and it’s exciting to see everyone invested in the future of our city.”…
“We’re thrilled and excited to be a part of redevelopment in downtown north,” Robert Landino, the chief executive officer of Centerplan, which is part of DoNo Hartford, said after the vote. “It’s important that the public had an opportunity to evaluate and scrutinize this. Council President Wooden and the mayor’s office did a great job at sorting through the complexities.”
This is not the final vote on the project, but it is the biggest vote to date. A special permit is required from Hartford’s planning and zoning commission — and the commission is already in record as opposing the ballpark.
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