The City of Hartford and a Stamford-based developer have signed a development agreement for parcels around Dunkin’ Donuts Park, kick-starting a process to bring new amenities to the area.
On Wednesday, it was announced that city officials and the Randy Salvatore-led RMS Cos. had signed an agreement that effectively paves the way for the firm to redevelop land around Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the home of the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League). The immediate focus will be on land billed as Parcel C, an area beyond the ballpark’s right field wall that is set to receive 270 mixed-income apartment units, along with a parking garage, and 11,000 square-feet of ground-floor retail and flex space as part of a $50-million phase of development.
For the city and RMS, the signing of a development agreement is a step down a path that could see the firm redevelop additional city-owned parcels around the ballpark over future phases of construction. However, the immediate focus will be on getting the first phase underway, with a preliminary timeline calling for all planning and zoning approvals to be secured by the end of next month, ground to be broken in early May, and an estimated completion by the end of October 2021. More from the Hartford Courant:
Randy Salvatore, founder and chief executive of RMS Cos., signed the agreement with the city late Tuesday, nearly two years after the city chose RMS as the preferred developer and in the aftermath of a bruising court battle with the previous developer to regain control of four city-owned properties.
“Over the past few years, we fought very hard to chart a responsible course, stand our ground to get responsible partners in place,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said, at a news conference at city hall. “We have now signed an agreement and we’re prepared soon to see construction start on what is the most significant economic development in the capital city in decades.”
The development, known as Downtown North, would be constructed in phases beginning with the so-called Parcel C, just south of the ballpark at Trumbull and Main streets. If all goes as planned, ground will be broken this spring.
The project, highlighted in a draft 15-year city plan as one of 10 projects that could transform Hartford by 2035, is seen as reuniting downtown and the city’s northern neighborhoods, separated since the late 1960s by the construction of I-84.
When Dunkin’ Donuts Park was first planned, it was envisioned as the anchor of redevelopment in Hartford’s Downtown North area. However, a scheduled 2016 opening did not come to fruition as construction of the ballpark was marked by several delays and overruns, prompting the city to terminate its agreement with its original developers, Centerplan Construction Co. and DoNo Hartford LLC. The Yard Goats ultimately played the entire 2016 season on the road before opening the facility in April 2017, while the city later cut all ties with Centerplan and DoNo Hartford by terminating an agreement to redevelop properties surrounding the ballpark.
The developers eventually sued the city seeking $90 million in damages, and had liens placed on the properties that were targeted for redevelopment. A jury sided with a city in the lawsuit last summer, and a later ruling removed the liens on the property.
Rendering courtesy RMS Cos.
RELATED STORIES: Ruling Paves Way for Redevelopment of Properties Around Dunkin’ Donuts Park; Former Dunkin’ Donuts Park Developers Balk at Jury Ruling; Hartford: Move Forward With Dunkin’ Donuts Park Area Redevelopment; Jury Rules in Hartford’s Favor in Legal Challenge Over Dunkin’ Donuts Park; Agreement on First Phase of Dunkin’ Donuts Park Development Approved; Trial Between Hartford, Former Ballpark Developer Set to Begin; Firm Looks to Jump Start Development Around Dunkin’ Donuts Park; Former Dunkin’ Donuts Park Developers File Intent to Sue; Plans Sought for Development Around Dunkin’ Donuts Park; Hartford Cuts All Ties With Ballpark Developers