A Vision For the Corner of Pearl and Trumbull Streets in Hartford

by Categorized: Downtown Hartford, Hartford Redevelopment Date:

Versace and Lancome are a bit of a stretch for downtown Hartford storefronts, but new renderings show the vision of developers who want to convert two buildings at the corner of Pearl and Trumbull into one with 200 apartments.

The vision for the same corner by a team of developers. Rendering Credit: BartonPartners, Norristown, Pa.

The vision for the same corner by a team of developers. Rendering Credit: BartonPartners, Norristown, Pa.

Corner of Trumbull and Pearl streets in downtown Hartford today. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

Corner of Trumbull and Pearl streets in downtown Hartford today. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

The developers of the proposed, $43 million project are asking the Capital Region Development Authority for $14 million in funding. The balance would come from $22 million in bank financing, a $500,000 brownfields remediation grant and $5.2 million in developer equity.

The lead developer is Pennrose Properties of Philadelphia, which has converted office buildings in Pennsylvania and New Jersey into apartments. Pennrose’s local partners include Martin J. Kenny, who built the neighboring Trumbull on the Park apartments; Alan Lazowski, the chief executive of Hartford-based LAZ Parking; and Sandy Cloud, who redeveloped the old University Club on Lewis Street.

The developers say at least three banks — Bank of America, PNC and TD Bank — have shown interest in providing financing for the project.

The apartments would all be market-rate, although Kenny said lower floors of the taller, 12-story building at 95-101 Pearl would lease for lower monthly rents. That’s because their views of Bushnell Park and the rest of downtown would be limited, Kenny said.

Nearly 90 percent of the units would be studios and one-bedrooms, which officials say are the most in demand in the city. The rents would, on average, range from $900 to $1,040 for the studios and from $1,100 to $1,400 for the one-bedrooms.

Parking would be provided in the nearby Trumbull on the Park garage and be connected to the new apartment building. Parking isn’t include in the rental rates, but would be offered at a discount, Kenny said.

Versace and Lancome aside, there will be retail space on ground-level, including basement space that was the Sean Patrick’s bar in the 1980s.

There have been calls to demolish the two, 1960s-era structures, including by The Courant’s Tom Condon, and replace the long, largely-vacant buildings. But the developers say that would push the apartment project’s cost up to $65 million.

The view looking west on Pearl Street. Rending credit: BartonPartners, Norristown, Pa.

The view looking west on Pearl Street. Rending credit: BartonPartners, Norristown, Pa.

“People have asked, “Why aren’t we knocking down the two butt-ugly buildings and starting new,” Kenny said, at a meeting late last week with the CRDA’s housing committee.

Instead, the developers are proposing connecting the two buildings with a common lobby, with the main entrance through 111 Pearl, which is closest to the corner. A penthouse level would be added to 111 Pearl and a decorative tower as a focal point.

A sky deck, with clubroom, is proposed for the top of 95-101 to take advantage of views of Bushnell Park.

Because the buildings are so different architecturally, the struggle is to makes sure the building meld together as one, Kenny said. The windows in both buildings are in bad repair, the developers say, so they will be replaced in a similar style.

Also under consideration is staining the brick to better blend the exteriors, the developers say.













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19 thoughts on “A Vision For the Corner of Pearl and Trumbull Streets in Hartford

  1. Patrick

    This looks really nice and they’ve done a nice job blending the two buildings to make them look more like one building. I hope this gets moving quickly b/c that corner is an downtown where this would have a really positive visual impact, especially at night.

    1. JL

      I agree. The renderings shows these buildings’ potential, and how appropriate a residential use would be for this corner, the last piece of undeveloped real estate on Trumbull Street.

  2. evan

    Agreed Patrik! Lets just not see this be “yet another” forgotten proposal that evaporates into nothing. A good sign developers are interested in the long long DEAD Hartford market. I have travelled the world and actually Hartford has such potential – walkable, on the water, great parks and buildings – gives one truly a sense of place. Lets hope it gets off the ground and in 3-4 years everyone is talking about Hartford like they do (lets eat in Providence, head to Boston , etc…).

  3. Dave

    Developing this corner would be huge for the city And this proposal seems like a great way to do it.

  4. Robert

    This corner is so critical. This, Constitution Plaza and Bank of America are the most prominent “holes” in downtown, and the city and CRDA must make sure they get done and quickly! All of the other small projects are really nice but should take a backseat to these major projects and intersections

  5. Mike

    Once again, the re-development of Hartford is reliant on State funding. If there really is market demand for these trendy apartment buildings then maybe the developers should finance the project entirely and not expose risk to the taxpayers of Connecticut.

    1. mike

      Maybe the state should never have funded the flight to the suburbs by expanding infrastructure away from the population centers too.

      Buildings are built in cities with state and federal help. this happens everywhere. Look at Goldman Sachs in Manhattan if you doubt me.

      We as taxpayers subsidize every building built everywhere either through infrastructure, tax leniency or direct funding. It is admitadly more visable when millions go into one building or one project in a city though.

      You should look at this funding as the state giving back to the city that financed most of its growth and expansion for decades.

      Besides, a healthy Hartford means a healthier simsbury, so embrace what you do not understand. its better for your blood preasure.

  6. Robert

    The CT taxpayers are so heavily invested in Hartford, it makes perfect sense to invest in strenghtening the city and its grandlist. Right now we just pay a big part of the city’s bills (education budget). Might as well pay to assist in bringing more residents, retail, property taxes into downtown.

  7. Richard

    1) Loved Sean Patrick’s back in the day! On a good night Sean Patrick’s, Mad Murphy’s and 36 Lewis Street had New England’s Premier soul and blues acts — often on the same night.

    2) Isn’t the new game to use these apartments as dorms? Someone told me one of the new subsidized joints (Temple at Maine?) went straight off the market to private contract to a college with students that do little to boost downtown.

    I hope these don’t become UConn-licensed dorms as some are muttering.

    1. Frankie

      Temple and Main apartments are not student housing. However the townhouses at Temple and Market are… as they were designed to be.

    2. mike

      The sage allen apartments were never for sale or anything like that, they are pretty high end apartments designed as apartments from the begining.
      as part of the same development, there are townhomes ontop of the parking garage designed as student/intern housing.

      those “student” townhomes actually contribute greatly to the downtown econemy. the gread students at St Josephs mostly stay there and since that program opened have interacted with many of them. They have become regulars at all of the downtown places, so its really nice boost of energy and spending. Interns, paid interns at the downtown financial services companies are… social creatures :) and generally make 40K or more. so with that cheaper student housing those guys are out all the time. its really one of Hartfords most successfull and beneficial developments in recent years.

      None of the new housing projects are at this time designated as any form of student housing however. This does not mean that it wont happen, but there is only so much demand from the students/interns also.

      From what we all just read this building seems as though it will be again a little on the higher end, as it should be. so dont expect students here. I do think the planned building on Constitution plaza from the converted old hotel will attract student types though, and again, it should.
      Downtown should serve all types at all income levels.

  8. pete

    How to get RICH in CT. Make great promises and go see DANNY BOY for a TAXPAYER HANDOUT. If the state will put up the mula the STATE a/k/a TAXPAYERS should get a CUT

  9. annie

    This is great to attract a younger crowd but there is still no grocery store downtown or any type of shopping. There are no brunch places and nothing opens before noon. The parking is expensive and monopolized. We need something like a Blue Back Square in Hartford.

    1. JL

      I agree that having a large grocery store would be very helpful. Negotiations have been ongoing for a full-scale grocery store to open either at the base of the Bank of America building or just north of downtown. In the meantime, there are two small grocery/deli places (on Trumbull and Asylum), with a third set to open on Main Street. Agave (Mexican) and Vivo (American Continental) both offer delicious brunch options. Street parking is plentiful, cheap during the week and free on weekends, plus downtown is easily accessible by bus.

      Front Street is very similar to Blue Back. A movie theater recently opened there, and three new businesses will be opening there in the next six months: a 500-seat Infinity music hall, a Capital Grill, and a Ted’s Montana Grill. Sunberry’s Cafe recently opened on Pratt Street, and a new Italian restaurant is slated to open there in the next few weeks. These will be around the corner from the Panera Bread that opened earlier this year.

      1. Patrick

        Don’t forget on street parking is also free Mon-Fri after 6:00. Perfect for people who are going out to dinner or to an event at the park.

        Hopefully the Bank of America & Front Street apartments which are both slated to be starting construction later this year will help to sustain a grocery store downtown. Plus these units at Pearl would be another help as well.

    2. mike

      You are in a single word… Incorrect.

      In many words, please know that you cannot walk to your grocery store in Glastonbury Rocky Hill, West Hartford, etc.. either. If you would walk to your grocery store would you? would you walk home with 10 -15 bags of stuff? would you go more often and buy less? Maybe, but a true urban landscape would not exist in Hartford even if there were a Stop and Shop next to a Whole Foods and Trader Joes on Trumbull Street. Many people in cities all over the world use peapod and other delivery services. they also hop in their cars and drive to a store to get supplies.

      The obsession with a grocery store is a little oberblown in Hartford. One will come, eventually, and when it does…. people will still drive to stores because most of Hartford is still for people who own cars. Until we develop buildings without parking garages, this will be the case. there are TONS of people who live downtown and own cars and very few that dont own cars.

      If they built a BB2 in Hartford it would not fit the city nor would it be appropriate for the city.

      What Hartford needs is developments just like this one. 200 apartments that will have a good number of residents in there. mostly under 30, and likely a few dozen older than that. keep building apartments and the stores will follow. you cannot put 400 housing units in and expect a BB2 worth of shopping to appear.

      Downtown will achieve this and more, but it needs housing and housing only to get there.
      There has indeed even been some success already in the last 5 years with stores and services opening downtown and thriving. More residents will breed continued success and expansion of shopping options.

      the moral of the story is that you cant force anything. not the grocery store, and not a BB2

      I much prefer to see downtoen convert old office buildings into housing, and fill the retail spaces below with whatever wants to be there.

      I want to see demand grow to the point where the surface parking lots feel development pressure and even more apartments/condos are built. With developments like this one and the other proposed plans, this is NOT a distant reality.

      Hartford should not be building sterile BB2 type developments and rather built to a higher density. lower the number of parking spaces allocated to each apartment, and encourage the development of parking lots into productive buildings.

      1. iheartsushi

        Born and raised in the city…I agree with Mike’s assesment of forcing certain venues before developing housing. The key is implementing mixed-income housing as well, right Mike?

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