Category Archives: Stores and Restaurants

Michigan Company To Develop Outlet Center On Rentschler Field

by Categorized: Commercial Construction, Stores and Restaurants Date:
An outlet mall would be built near The Stadium at Rentschler Field under a development agreement. Map Courtesy of Horizon Group Properties Inc. with additions by The Hartford Courant.

An outlet mall would be built near The Stadium at Rentschler Field under a development agreement. Map Courtesy of Horizon Group Properties Inc. with additions by The Hartford Courant.

A Michigan company has signed an agreement to develop an outlet shopping center on Rentschler Field in East Hartford that would open in 2016.

Horizon Group Properties Inc. said late Wednesday the 350,000-square-foot — to be named “The Outlet Shoppes at Rentschler Field — would include covered walkways and landscaped courtyards, plus a center court.

Horizon did not name any of the brands that would be in the outlet mall. A development cost also was not disclosed in a news release.

The announcement comes two weeks after the state and United Technologies Corp., which owns the majority of Rentschler Field, announced a deal that includes the construction of a new corporate headquarters for Pratt & Whitney nearby.

Horizon and Hartford-based UTC did not immediately respond to emails this morning seeking further comment. The Matos Development Group, Rentschler Field’s master developer, also did not respond.

The outlet center would be the first retail development on Rentschler since the opening of Cabela’s in 2007.

Horizon is the second developer to seek to develop a retail-oriented development on Rentschler. A year ago, Utah-based OTB Destinations had signed a letter of intent with UTC to build a retail and entertainment complex on the former airstrip. The status of those plans was unclear early today.

Any plans would still require state and local approvals.

Horizon’s web site shows it operates seven outlet centers nationwide, the closest to Connecticut being in Gettysburg, Pa. Horizon has three more centers in development and is looking to develop another two sites. East Hartford is not shown on a map plotting Horizon’s footprint.

Outlets mentioned on the site include Aeropostale, Coach, Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.

Horizon said the site would accommodate a 50,000-square-foot expansion.

“We look forward to developing this property,” Gary J. Skoien, Horizon’s chief executive, said. “Rentschler Field has been a recognized location and destination to the people of Hartford and Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and other surrounding states for many years.”

Horizon said the center is projected to generate more than $130 million in annual sales a.nd $1.2 million in property taxes and $8.2 million in sales taxes.

The outlet center would be part of a much larger development of 650 acres

In 2004, UTC chose Matos as the master developer. Matos envisioned a build-out of between 15 and 23 years, culminating in 2030.


Construction Of Foxwoods Outlet Mall To Begin Later This Year

by Categorized: Stores and Restaurants Date:

The last reported target for a groundbreaking on an 85-store outlet mall at Foxwoods Resort Casino was this past spring. Now, it’s “by the end of the year.”

The latest timeline for the long-delayed, $120 million project was offered by the chief executive of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, a partner in the outlet project, during a conference call last week with analysts after the release of  the company’s second-quarter earnings.

Chief executive Steven B. Tanger did not offer anything more specific and a Tanger spokesman today declined to elaborate. In June, Tanger told those gathered at an industry conference he expected groundbreaking “shortly.”

A Foxwoods spokeswoman declined to comment on specifics but told me today more information would be forthcoming “in the next few weeks.”

In late June, Foxwoods rival Mohegan Sun announced plans for a $50 million expansion that is expected to add 50 retailers and 200,000 square feet to its casino, entertainment and retail complex, raising the competitive stakes.

Construction of the outlet mall at Foxwoods was supposed to begin in spring 2012, but The Day of New London reported delays in reaching deals with tenants. A groundbreaking expected in February was put off because of bad weather with this spring the new construction target, The Day reported.

The mall, announced in February 2012, will encompass 312,000 square feet. The mall will focus on luxury brands and help draw visitors that aren’t interested in gambling. No tenants have been announced.

Foxwoods hopes the mall will turn Foxwoods into a destination where guests will book longer two- and three-night stays.

The mall, named Tanger Outlets Foxwoods, is being developed by Greensboro, N.C.-based Tanger and Gordon Group Holdings of Greenwich. The land is being leased from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which owns Foxwoods.

“Farm-to-Table” Burger Joint Opening In Glastonbury

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Another restaurant chain is jumping into the Hartford-area burger wars with what they say is a new twist on fast food.

Boston-based b.good, whose menu features locally-grown produce and free-range meats, expects to open the first Hartford location July 17 at the Shops at Somerset Square in Glastonbury.

The opening is part of a franchise expansion that will bring four locations to the Hartford area and five to eastern New Hampshire in the next five years.

“As far as the burger market goes, this concept is different,”  Rob Brown, a partner in the franchise, told me today. “There is enough to differentiate us from the pack.”

Brown said he and his partner are actively negotiating for space in Canton. They also are interested in West Hartford in the Westfarms area.

See a video from the b.good website:

Brown and his partner, Dennis Pedra chose Hartford because Pedra was involved with the openings of Chili’s, Bertucci’s and On the Borders in the Hartford area while president and chief executive officer of the N.E. Restaurant Co.

b.good offers burgers whose beef, chicken and turkey are ground and packed at the restaurant. Fries are cut by hand and baked, not fried, in a convection oven, Brown said.

Brown said the partners are now trying to reach agreements with local farms for produce and local makers of ice cream.

Burgers will start at about $6.95, with extra charges for toppings such as bacon and cheese, Brown said. The menu also will offer combination meals, he said.

The chain, founded in 2004, has nine corporate-owned locations in Boston and a franchise in Shrewsbury. b.good plans to have 50 locations open by 2015 and is targeting the entire East Coast.


High Hopes For $220 Million Storrs Center Near UConn

by Categorized: Commercial Construction, Stores and Restaurants, Uncategorized Date:

A decades-old vision for bringing a vibrant downtown area just south of the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs is starting to become a reality. It will still take years to fully complete the $220 million Storrs Center development, but the first buildings are now complete.

The project is a collaboration between private developer LeylandAlliance of Tuxedo, N.Y., Education Realty Trust of Memphis, Tenn. and the Mansfield Downtown Partnership. The partnership includes the town of Mansfield, UConn, businesses and community leaders.

Click on my video interviews with Howard Kaufman, managing member of LeylandAlliance, and Cynthia van Zelm, executive director of the downtown partnership. They talk about their hopes for the development.

The Capital Grille Steakhouse Second Tenant For Hartford’s Front Street?

by Categorized: Downtown Hartford, Hartford Redevelopment, Stores and Restaurants, Uncategorized Date:


Speculation is heating up that The Capital Grille, an upscale steakhouse, is the second tenant that will sign on at downtown Hartford’s Front Street.

For a couple of weeks, there has been buzz on Facebook on a page devoted to the people who live in the city of Hartford. Catch some of the chatter on Dwelling in Downtown-Hartford. (Scroll down to July 7.)

Then, last week, James Abromaitis, executive director of the former Capital City Economic Development Authority, told members of the new Capital Region Development Authority that a second tenant would be announced within a month. (The first tenant, a movie theater, is now outfitting space and is aiming for an early fall opening.)

Sources have told me that the tenant is a publicly-traded steakhouse. The Capital Grille is one of the restaurants operated by the publicly-traded Darden Restaurants, Inc. Darden also runs LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s.

Today, a source familiar with the space but not directly involved with lease negotiations told my colleague Jenna Carlesso that The Capital Grille is the name being attached the space.

It’s starting to add up.

Anyone out there able to confirm? Front Street’s developer H.B. Nitkin isn’t returning e-mails seeking comment, and The Capital Grille didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail.



Hartford-Based Restaurant Chain Expanding To Wallingford

by Categorized: Stores and Restaurants, Uncategorized Date:


Wood-n-Tap Bar & Grill, the Hartford-based restaurant chain, is opening a seventh location later this summer in Wallingford.

The casual dining chain plans a tentative opening in August in the former Humphrey’s Grille and Bar space at 970 North Colony Road, next to Bruegger’s Bagels, Jennifer Lamantini, director of guest services at the Hartford Restaurant Group, told me.

Humphrey’s closed the 4,000-square-foot location late last year, along with other locations in the chain.

The Wallingford Wood-n-Tap will offer a menu similar to locations in Hartford, Farmington, Southington, Rocky Hill, Vernon and Orange.

Wood-n-Tap is a part of the Hartford Restaurant Group, which also owns Agave Grill in Hartford and T.D. Homers in Southington.




Nike Running Swooshes Out Of Westfarms Mall

by Categorized: Stores and Restaurants, Uncategorized Date:

Nike laced up its running shoes, and has sprinted right out of Westfarms mall.

Nike Running closed its store on the upper level, next to Pottery Barn, on Sunday — declining to exercise an option to extend its lease. The store had opened in 2008.

“It was their option and they took their option and I’m sure they have their business reasons,” Kevin Keenan, the mall’s general manager, told The Courant’s Business Editor Dan Haar. “It’s unfortunate to see their store close but it creates an opportunity for us.”

Nike could not immediately comment on the closing Wednesday.

Matt Powell, an analyst at SportsOneSource, a footwear industry publication, told my colleague Janice Podsada that Nike does not appear to be closing stores in multiple locations and is in good financial shape.

The closing at Westfarms appears to be particular to that location, Powell said, and Nike continues to operate a Nike Running store in Westport.

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