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October 27, 2023

CRDA buys downtown Hartford Front Street property; Peruvian restaurant planned

CoStar 89 Arch St., Hartford

After scuttling a proposed cannabis retail shop in a corner of Hartford’s Front Street Entertainment District last year, the Capital Region Development Authority has gone ahead and purchased the 2,500-square-foot building.

A restaurant featuring largely Peruvian fare, the Triple Three, will take over the space.

The CRDA Board agreed in June to buy the former Blind Pig Pizza Co. space at 89 Arch St., for no more than $650,000, noting at the time, the property was previously targeted for inclusion in the Front Street Entertainment District.

CRDA Executive Director Michael Freimuth announced at a Thursday board meeting that the purchase was completed for $650,000. Before the sale, the building had been leased to a group working to renovate it into a Peruvian restaurant, he said.

The CRDA will honor the lease for the restaurant, which aligns with the agency’s goals for the area.

Derrick Gibbs — founder of Middletown-based homecare and behavioral health provider Change Inc. — and partners applied last year to open a cannabis retail shop at 89 Arch St. The proposal received backing by city planning staff, but was opposed by the CRDA, which said the use would not line up with Front Street’s “family-friendly” atmosphere.

Gibbs’ cannabis company, Budr Cannabis, has since opened two dispensaries in West Hartford and Danbury. 

Jefferson Valdiviezo, owner of New Britain-based trucking company Smooth Logistics, has partnered with Christian Narro, owner of the Forbidden Llama Peruvian restaurant in Middletown, to open the Triple Three restaurant at 89 Arch St. 

Valdiviezo said a lease with the building’s previous owner began in February. He expects to spend about $90,000 fitting out the space for a relaxed-atmosphere bar with an array of Peruvian food and some Mexican favorites, including tacos. 

Valdiviezo said he wants to create unique and fun spaces, as well as drink and food presentations that lend themselves to social media posts. 

“Something chill, something with great food,” Valdiviezo said. “I want a restaurant with a nice vibe.” 
Valdiviezo lives in downtown Hartford and said he sees crowds of potential customers transiting from the Travelers Cos. building, UConn’s downtown campus and the Connecticut Convention Center. 

“All they have to do is look across the street and see a different type of restaurant,” he said.

Valdiviezo said Triple Three will add a unique flare to the mix of food and entertainment venues around Front Street. 

He is aiming to open either late this year or early in 2024, as soon as he can complete local permitting. CRDA staff are helping to guide him through that process, he said. 
Valdiviezo said he is developing the restaurant purely with his own funds and without loans. 

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