Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

November 2, 2022

East Hartford Town Council budgets $4.5M for acquisition of blighted 22-acre retail plaza

CoStar A portion of the Silver Lane Shopping Plaza in East Hartford.

East Hartford’s Town Council, meeting Tuesday, unanimously approved using eminent domain to claim a blighted 22-acre retail plaza on Silver Lane and budgeted $4.5 million for the effort.

The city’s plan to wrest control of the plaza from its current owner -- East Hartford Venture LLC – is part of a broader effort to reverse a decades-long decline of the Silver Lane retail and commercial corridor.

Mayor Michael Walsh has previously said he is hesitant to employ eminent domain, but the owners of the plaza have rebuffed repeated requests to repair the deteriorating property or negotiate a sale to the city.

The town’s Redevelopment Agency voted last week to recommend an eminent domain claim, a tactic ratified by the council’s vote Tuesday. The anticipated $4.5 million cost of claiming the property will be drawn from a $10 million grant the State Bond Commission approved in May for efforts to redevelop Silver Lane.

That $4.5 million covers the anticipated payment to owner East Hartford Ventures, resulting from the average of two appraisals of the property, according to Eileen Buckheit, East Hartford's director of development. Those funds will have to be deposited with the state Superior Court as part of the claiming process. 

"We are definitely ready to turn a page for this neighborhood," Buckheit said. 

Silver Lane Plaza is composed of two properties, 794-810 Silver Lane and 818-850 Silver Lane. They collectively host three retail buildings, of 107,148 square feet, 31,080 square feet and 18,562 square feet, according to town officials.

Walsh plans to solicit a development partner interested in putting the 22-acre property back into productive use.

In a recent interview, Walsh said he is concerned the blighted condition of the plaza could jeopardize nearby developments.

Massachusetts-based National Development is pursuing two logistics buildings totaling 2.5 million square feet and two, 100,000-square-foot buildings for research or high-tech manufacturing, on 300 acres at nearby Rentschler Field.

New Britain-based Jasko Development and Zelman Real Estate of West Hartford are moving forward with plans to build a roughly 470-apartment development on the former Showcase Cinema site – 25.1 acres tucked just north of the Silver Lane Plaza.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF