December 18, 2017
Deal Watch

Trinity's Hartford campus home nearly ready

Photo | HBJ File
Photo | HBJ File
Trinity College's downtown-campus space at 10 Constitution Plaza.
Rendering | Contributed
Artistís sketch of Land Rover Center dealership.
Gregory Seay.

The new downtown Hartford campus home of Trinity College in Constitution Plaza just about has the final pieces in place and is ready for occupancy.

Trinity faculty, staff and students have begun occupying portions of the approximately 7,500 square feet inside 10 Constitution Plaza, formerly home to defunct Back9Network and Spris Restaurant.

"Only thing left is to put the signs up on it," said Timothy Cresswell, Trinity's vice president of academic affairs and the dean of faculty.

Trinity is the latest college to establish a campus beachhead downtown, following the University of St. Joseph and UConn.

Trinity was unwilling, Cresswell said, to miss out on the wave of offices-to-apartments conversions, the new minor-league ballpark and the city's push to commercially redevelop empty parcels adjacent to the ballfield.

"We believe there is a need for Hartford to have a college-town vibe to it and to be part of it,'' he said.

Beginning the last week in January, when classes resume after the Christmas holiday, Trinity will hold its first courses at its downtown campus, Cresswell said.

One of 10 Constitution's occupants will be the college's Liberal Arts Action Lab, a partnership between Trinity and Capital Community College, which is based nearby at 960 Main St.

As part of their coursework, participating Trinity-Capital students, Cresswell said, will collaborate with area nonprofits to try to improve qualify of life and facilities in the city's major neighborhoods.

Also based downtown, he said, will be Trinity's legislative fellows program, as well as "career coaches" for Trinity students.

Aside from 10 Constitution Plaza, Cresswell said Trinity has leased about 13,500 square feet of third-floor space at 1 Constitution Plaza, to house its future certificate and graduate programs.

Hartford showroom relocation

The Mitchell Auto Group says construction has begun on an expanded Land Rover showroom in Hartford's North Meadows.

Mitchell officials said its Land Rover Center showroom-service center will occupy the former Baronet Coffee site at 77 Weston St., adjacent to the Xfinity Theatre.

Mitchell's Land Rover Farmington Valley is currently housed at 95 Albany Turnpike/Route 44 in Canton, said David Tefft, a Mitchell Auto partner and general manager. The existing 36,000-square-foot Hartford building will be renovated to accommodate the sales floor and offices, service department, and parking for new and used vehicles.

All in, Mitchell's investment in its new Hartford showroom totals between $8 million to $9 million, Tefft said. It will employ 45 to 50 people when it opens by next August.

After the move, the existing Land Rover showroom in Canton will house Mitchell Volkswagen.

Mitchell's Land Rover plans actually mark a return of the legendary British sport-utility maker to Hartford. Tefft said Mitchell bought the Land Rover franchise from New Country Motors and relocated it to Canton more than two decades ago. Mitchell sells seven domestic and foreign automobile marques, primarily from stores in the Farmington Valley.

Mitchell President Mark Mitchell said that sales of the British sport-utility marque have grown such that its Route 44 showroom required expansion. Mitchell also said his desire to be closer to retailers of other luxury dealerships was a factor in the relocation.

When complete, Mitchell will join more than a half dozen new- and used-car stores along "dealership row'' on Weston Street, including New Country Motors' Mercedes, Mini Cooper and BMW showrooms.

PDS Engineering & Construction of Bloomfield is general contractor.

CORRECTION: Trinity College's 10 Constitution Plaza space houses "career coaches" to provide industry-related career advice to Trinity students. An earlier version mischaracterized the program's reach.

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