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June 11, 2019

Hartford council OKs DoNo’s $46M first phase development despite hurdles

Dono hartford Image | Contributed Hartford’s city council has approved a development agreement for the construction of 200 apartments on “Parcel C” across from downtown’s Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

Hartford’s city council on Monday approved the first phase of a Stamford developer’s $46 million plan to build 200 apartments and retail and parking space surrounding downtown’s Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

The council’s near unanimous approval of the city’s development agreement with RMS Cos. marks a key step in getting the long-delayed mixed-use project moving again. But the $200 million development remains in flux until the city of Hartford settles a bitter lawsuit with the fired former developer of the ballpark.

The former developer, Centerplan Construction Co./DoNo Hartford LLC, argues it was wrongfully terminated from the stadium development and is suing the city for $90 million. Centerplan has placed liens on all the city's DoNo parcels in an effort to block the city from moving forward with RMS Cos. The trial began last week in Hartford Superior Court.

According to the development agreement with RMS. Cos., the first phase of the four-stage project calls for a 200,000-square-foot mixed-use building with 200 residential units, approximately 11,000 square feet of retail/community space, and a parking garage containing about 250 parking spots across the stadium at 1212 Main St.

The quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority will provide an $12 million loan for the first phase. The city’s Home Investment Partnerships Program will also contribute funds for the construction of 10 affordable units, which will support families with incomes up to 80 percent of the average median income in Hartford. The Home funds are capped at $900,000 over two decades for the development.

If certain milestones are reached, RMS will have the option to develop the remaining three DoNo parcels.

In total, RMS, the lone bidder on the project, aims to build up to 800 apartments and 60,000 square feet of retail and 2,000 parking spaces in four clusters flanking the ballpark.

Despite the legal hurdles, Mayor Luke Bronin on Monday said the city is “now fully prepared to move forward on this important project” if and when the city wins the ongoing trial.

“We are confident that we have a strong partner to bring mixed use development to the parcels around the baseball stadium, connecting downtown to the North End of our city,” Bronin said.

Read more

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