Developer To Design Shops, Entertainment At Rentschler Field

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Plans for more shops, restaurants and entertainment venues at Rentschler Field in East Hartford may finally be getting a boost, after being largely dormant since Cabela’s opened five years ago.

Retail development at Rentschler Field in East Hartford has stalled since the opening of Cabela's in late 2007. Photo by Patrick Raycraft/

Retail development at Rentschler Field in East Hartford has stalled since the opening of Cabela’s in late 2007. Photo by Patrick Raycraft/

United Technologies Corp., owner of the property, “has signed a letter of intent with OTB Destination, which is putting together plans for a destination retail and entertainment complex for Rentschler Field,” UTC spokesman Ian Race said.

Race said he had no further detail on the scope of what may be designed, a potential timetable or sources of financing.

Utah-based OTB did not immediately return a call and an e-mail today seeking comment.

According to it web site, OTB developed the Legends Outlets Kansas City, which opened in 2006. The destination shopping center is part of the 1,200 Village West development that includes the Kansas Speedway, CommunityAmerica ballpark and LiveStrong Stadium.

The Legends includes such outlet stores and restaurants such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Polo Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Brooks Brothers,  Dave & Buster’s and Cheeseburger In Paradise.

OTB also is involved in similar developments near Omaha, Neb., Tuczon, Ariz. and Dallas, according to its web site.

In East Hartford, the retail and entertainment component, known as “town square” is part of a much larger development of 650 acres, the majority of which is owned by Hartford-based UTC.

In 2004, UTC chose The Matos Development Group as the master developer. Matos envisioned a build-out of between 15 and 23 years, culminating in 2030, including retail, apartments and as many as four hotels.

The idea was to bring development to the area that would attract the professionals and other employees UTC needed for its company.

Daniel Matos, of The Matos Development Group, declined to comment today on the letter of intent signed with UTC. But Matos has said in the past that high-end outlets similar to the 70-store Clinton Crossing on the Connecticut shoreline could be expected at Rentschler.

Matos has blamed the slow development on the deep recession and slow recovery.

Even if plans are developed, tenants must be signed and state and local approvals must be secured.



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5 thoughts on “Developer To Design Shops, Entertainment At Rentschler Field

  1. mc

    This sounds like a good idea and I wish them luck. Lots of people travelling through Hartford can stop for a great shopping experience, then get back on the highway, safely and move on to their destination… which is not Hartford. What would be really nice though is if downtown Hartford did this. Once these shops are settled in East Hartford, Hartford will remain a boring, shopless downtown. Look at Stamford. An almost “successful” downtown. The mall has pretty much destroyed what would otherwise be a very vibrant downtown. People get off the highway, park at the mall, shop and then get back on the highway. There are few retail shops on the street in Stamford because of the mall.

    1. Rob

      Agreed. Enclosed malls destroy cities. Imagine city streets lined with shops instead of enclose hallways. Look at Charleston, SC.

  2. DR

    I have to second “mc’s” concern. More shopping so close to downtown Hartford (but not in Hartford) will further erode any chance Hartford has to establish any sort of pedestrian activity downtown. This area can only support so much retail, and Hartford won’t be able to compete.

  3. mike

    similar concerns.

    Also, the developer was foreclosed upon in the project that they are comparing this too??? so how is this a good developer?

    I know the project in Kansas, my brother used to live right near there. There is a cabellas there too, as well as an indoor water park and soccer stadium. the primary driver for all of it was a NASCAR track.

    I think to better suit East Hartford and to better suit the region, this project should have destination retail only, like Cabella’s. the kind of place that wont fit in Hartford, and that draws people to the area. An IKEA would be ideal as an example. Also, if they were to do some kind of live work town center thing, do it right!

    connect a light rail from Rentschler to downtown Hartford to West Hartford Center.
    build the town square so that it takes advantage of the stadium and shopping.

    I suggestion would be to start directly from the West end of the Stadium and put the station near there. make this a hub of the entertainment portion of the project as well as the hotel and some housing. have the main street head south and west from there essentially towards Cabellas and any other major retail. line the street with retail and housing above it. build a massive parking garage ease of the new development and S of the Stadium to serve both. ideally a second garage N of the retail and West of the stadium as well.

    the garages would serve to support the transit as well as the sports and entertainment. the transit would interconnect the 3 main centers if interest in greater Hartford with further connectivity to the commuter rail that links to Bradley.

    most of the rentschler field property should be set up as tech research space, if there is demand and a ton of housing as you get further from the town square/stadium.

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