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November 13, 2020

Property owners, CRDA look to map out Bushnell Park South’s development future

Photo | HBJ File The Bushnell (left) underwent a major $45-million renovation at the turn of this century, which gave birth to the 900-seat Belding Theater (shown right).

A public-private coalition focused on redeveloping 20 acres of properties and parking lots surrounding the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford is taking bids for master planning work.

Earlier this week, The Bushnell South Planning Consortium issued a request for proposals seeking a firm that would assess the area’s redevelopment capacity for both residential, office and commercial uses.

Responses are due Nov. 27, and the selected firm would work to produce a comprehensive master plan by June 30, 2021.
The consortium includes the City of Hartford, the quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), the Bushnell, and Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, which early this year bought 55 Elm St. a key property in the Bushnell Park South area, as well as surrounding parking lots.

There have been other recent developments that will be elements of whatever master plan emerges, including a $16 million state parking garage that’s under construction, intended to provide parking for employees who work in the nearby (and recently renovated) State Office Building, as well as for businesses and residents drawn by the redevelopment.

The area has been been the subject of various plans and studies in recent years, but much of it has been exploratory, according to CRDA Executive Director Michael Freimuth.

"Fully integrating this area as a transition from downtown to the neighborhood, balancing the various institutional demands with residential as well as mixed uses, including possibility of a boutique hotel and small-scale retail that will serve to support all these variations of land uses, is no small task," Freimuth said Friday.



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