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May 22, 2017

CRDA's roots go back decades

Brendan M. Fox, attorney-lobbyist

New Britain attorney-lobbyist Brendan M. Fox knows well the role that the Capital Region Development Authority is playing to help revitalize Hartford.

He was executive director of CRDA's predecessor, the Capital City Economic Development Authority (CCEDA), established in 1998 by then-Gov. John G. Rowland and state lawmakers. In 2012, lawmakers changed the agency's name to CRDA and widened its focus to include the seven suburban communities contiguous to Hartford.

CCEDA's charge was wholly different and focused on the development of “six pillars,'' but in some ways, they were the same, Fox said.

CCEDA laid the foundation to launch Front Street, which at that time included just the Hartford Marriott Downtown and the state-financed convention center, the latter managed by CCEDA, same as CRDA does today. Plans for Front Street retail spaces with housing above were just ideas at that time.

Downtown apartments — 262-unit Hartford 21 and 78-unit The Lofts at Main & Temple — were launched under CCEDA. What CCEDA achieved in 14 years and what CRDA has accomplished since qualify as “a tremendous success,'' said Fox, of Gaffney, Bennett & Associates in New Britain.

– Gregory Seay

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