City Officials Target Spaces For iConnect

by Categorized: Business, City Activities, Development, Neighborhoods, Planning Date:

Businesses on Pratt and Trumbull streets downtown may soon have new neighbors, as the city pushes ahead with its iConnect program.

In April, four businesses were chosen to occupy vacant downtown storefronts as part of the initiative, which establishes them for an eight-month trial period in hopes that they will be successful enough to remain open permanently. From more than 40 applicants, the city chose Hartford Prints, a family-run paper goods store and studio currently in the city’s Parkville neighborhood; National Exhibitions and Archives, a pop-up museum and print-on-demand gallery, which will host traveling exhibitions; Farm Shop, an urban farm hub that will sell organic food and supplies, such as plants, seeds and organic soil, as well as host workshops on cooking; and Natural Dogs and Cats, a pet store selling dog and cat food.

On Tuesday, Kristina Newman-Scott, Hartford’s director of marketing, events and cultural affairs, told me that the city has identified locations for the businesses: Hartford Prints will occupy 42 1/2 Pratt St.; Farm Shop will be located at 80 Pratt St.; Naturally Dogs and Cats will occupy 100 Trumbull St.; and National Exhibitions will be between 100 and 200 Trumbull St. The city is still working to finalize those locations, she said.

In addition, WNPR will occupy a remote space on Trumbull Street (which the city hasn’t yet identified), where it will sometimes broadcast “Where We Live” and “The Colin McEnroe Show,” Newman-Scott said. It will share the location with Deft Collective, a co-work space designed to attract entrepreneurs and people from the business community who could benefit from a group setting.

iConnect is partly funded by a $100,000 grant from a state program working to draw more people into cities and towns through arts and cultural activities. The city is contributing $65,000 toward the effort as part of its federal grant matching program.

The shop owners will qualify for free or reduced rent, plus a subsidy for utility bills.

For background on iConnect, click here, here, here and here.

The Courant is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on courant.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.