An effort to redevelop land surrounding Dunkin’ Donuts Park took a step forward Monday, as the Hartford City Council approved a development agreement with a Stamford-based firm.
Home of the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League), Dunkin’ Donuts Park was initially envisioned by city officials as an anchor for new development in the underutilized north section of downtown Hartford. While the team itself has been a success since debuting at the ballpark in 2017, a year later than originally planned, surrounding redevelopment has stalled amidst an ongoing legal dispute between the City of Hartford and original developer Centerplan Construction Co.
In an effort to fulfill development plans, Stamford-based RMS Cos. is seeking to undertake a multi-phase redevelopment that would include four parcels surrounding the ballpark. For right now, there is still uncertainty surrounding the land, as Centerplan has placed liens on the properties as part of the ongoing legal dispute with the city, effectively preventing development from taking place. By approving the development agreement with RMS Cos., however, Hartford City Council members hope that phase one work will begin quickly if the city receives a favorable outcome at trial.
The development agreement approved Monday covers phase one of the project, which calls for 210 mixed-income apartments, along with 11,000 square feet of retail and community space, and a roughly 250-space parking garage on land beyond Dunkin’ Donuts Park’s outfield wall. More from the Hartford Courant:
Council President Glendowlyn Thames said she was crossing her fingers “with respect to having a positive outcome of the trial,” because “in the event that moves in our favor, we need to be ready to go.”
City council members voted unanimously Monday — with Councilwoman Maly Rosado absent — to green light the city’s development agreement with RMS Cos. for the first phase of the Downtown North project. Upon its successful completion, RMS can take on the rest of the planned development, which would add about 800 apartments, 60,000 square feet of retail space and 2,000 parking spaces around the stadium.
That caveat offers the city some much-needed protection following the ballpark development, which experienced soaring costs for the city, the firing of the developer and a year delay in opening.
“This project is performance based, so we are not just handing title over to all the parcels at once,” Thames said. “We are doing one parcel at a time, to ensure accountability. To the extent this developer doesn’t do what they’re supposed to do, doesn’t hit the numbers they’re supposed to hit, we have an opportunity to review whether you get the next bite of the apple.”
Pending the outcome of the ongoing legal dispute, RMS will look to begin construction later this year and complete the first phase by fall 2020. Later phases of development would yield more apartments and retail space in the area surrounding Dunkn’ Donuts Park.
Rendering courtesy RMS Cos.
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