Downtown Hartford Storefront Program Now Accepting Applications

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The city of Hartford is now accepting proposals for a downtown project that aims to transform vacant downtown storefronts into retail or pop-up stores, a broadcast studio or an artist exhibition.

The goal of the project, iConnect, is to establish businesses for a trial, eight-month period, in hopes that they will be successful enough to remain open permanently. The shop owners chosen for the program would qualify for free or reduced rent, plus a subsidy for utility bills.

Kristina Newman-Scott, the city’s director of marketing, events and cultural affairs, told me today that the city intends for the first of seven spaces to be occupied by early spring.

Downtown has struggled with retail vacancy in recent years. Filling storefronts adds to vibrancy and gives people more reasons to spend time downtown.

No storefront spaces have yet been signed for the project, but the city is targeting Pratt, Pearl, Main and Trumbull streets. The city is talking to landlords about offering free rent for the trial period and determining the extent of the utility subsidy.

Proposals are due by March 8. From the proposals, a city committee will choose the strongest candidates who will then enter a formal application process, Newman-Scott said.

iConnect is being partly funded with a $100,000 grant from a state program working to draw more people into cities and towns through arts and cultural activities.

For more information, visit

Read more about the program here.



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18 thoughts on “Downtown Hartford Storefront Program Now Accepting Applications

  1. Downtowner

    This program would happen by itself if property taxes weren’t so high. Opportunists would look at our vacancy rates as signs of opportunity, not proof of despair or weakness.

  2. Robert Borofsky

    Who in there right mind would open up a business in Hartford? Instead they should demolish Downtown Hartford and turn it into a municipal dump and even then it still would fail.

    1. tweens512

      What was the point of such an ignorant comment? If you know you have nothing nice to say about a story, why even go read it? Downtowner is correct, the property taxes are way too high. Downtown could be like BlueBack square if it didn’t cost so much. I hope you don’t have kids that you teach this ignorance to.

  3. Former Hartford Resident

    I agree with the harsh comment made by Robert but sometimes the truth hurts for those of the people who think Hartford is comming back I reaaly feel bad for you if it was not for corporate support Hartford would close. And as far as the population goes 90 percent are on welfare and drugs and the other don,t want to give up.

  4. Former Hartford Resident

    Hey Downtowner, where do you go downtown everything is closed even McDonalds. And by the way do you carry a weapon when you go out? If not you better get one before the President changes the law.

  5. iheartsushi

    @Rob and F.H.R: We could add a planet hollywood, a couple of condos, some well known retail stores and a rainforest cafe right smack dab in the middle downtown, yet I am sure you two would still see it as either a failure or a mistake. Nothing will make you happy as far as we are all concerned.

  6. Are you serious?

    What’s with ignorant small town white trash leaving comments about welfare moochers and drug addicts? The scary Black President is going to take your 50 shot clip assault weapons, hide in the woods ya morons…

  7. Former Hartford Resident

    Hey iHeartSushi: If RainForest closed in West Hartford at the mall what makes you think they could survive in Hartford and I do not think the President could convince them to take Food Stamps from the Hartford Welfare Queens.

    1. iheartsushi

      Bro, that seems to be your answer for everything. If you have a problem with the poor or needy then that’s your personal problem – stop painting an entire demographic with one brush. Subsequently,Westfarms is located in Farmington btw…

  8. Diana

    Has EVERYONE forgotten about Stackpole Moore Tryon/Tuesday’s presence in downtown. Why can’t a potentially new retailer consult with the owners and see why this business has been such a successful mainstay in downtown Hartford for 103 years!

  9. Former Hartford Resident

    Hey Diane: Part of the reaseon Ron M. from Tuesday’s and now Stackpole Moore is so successful is because Ron M. owned all the property Where Tuesday’s use to be and was left to him from his family and also any one who bought clothes .from Tuesday were all Lawyers who made a ton of money and lived outside the city and bought there because they could show off there $2000.00 suits to the other Lawyers. Its easy to make it inb Hartford if you own the property. But if you don’t look at McDonalds even they said see ya and they are one of the biggest Rest. chain in the world.

    1. Diana

      Excuse me Sir, but you are totally misinformed. Stackpole Moore Tryon was located on Asylum St for 80 years and then moved to the corner of Pratt & Trumbull in a building owned by Northland Management NOT a building owned by Mr. Morneault. This business has survived through wars and recessions. The client base is very diverse as are their price points. Maybe you should take a visit to downtown….

  10. Catspaw

    “iConnect is being partly funded with a $100,000 grant from a state program”

    Some detail here might help? $100,000, Eight month program, seven ‘entertainment shops’ or approx $1785.71 per e-shop per month.

    Actually, it’s an interesting proposal. An e-shop at seven different spots. What makes this not perfect for any corporate to take a tax payer hand out, test market and leave?

    If local, private owners can benefit, a sense of the 99% paying the 1% for jobs would remove any taint from the program design. How much of the State Grant stays in Connecticut?

    The grant seems like an effective tool, which of the current populations in Hartford benefit most? Have the police details been modified to accommodate the increase in street commerce?

    $14,285.71 is a nice gift from Uncle State Program for seven lucky businesses. It might be comforting to know more of how this gift pays back the taxpayer.

    March 12th should be very interesting. How quickly and to whom will these gifts be presented?

  11. Rosh

    Sorry its sad Hartford Downtown was beautiful but nut heads destroy it. When something is destroyed can never come back.

  12. Fred

    Wow. Many of you are fearful. Leaves more biz for me. Lots of excuses on here and no vision. It’s very possible to do biz anywhere. But this is good, perhaps the negative people will ask there boss for a day off to visit my new adventure. Even if it all closes and this idea is bad, it’s better than being right…on the Internet..with fake names. I’ll do it. I’ve done it before, and see it as exciting. After everyone is done arguing, cmon down for some coffee and live music and more.

    1. mike

      Go for it Fred!

      Most people write idiotic hateful things on here.

      These same people will in two years be thinking and writing the same moronic things even though much will have changed. 777 Main street will have 286 Apartments in it according to the paper today. that will mean 350 new people living downtown sipping your coffee listening to your music.

      That building will have 35,000SF of remodeled retail space charging only 50% of market rate…
      the Naysayers will remain oblivious as these affordable spots fill up making Main Street asylum Street and Pearl Street much more lively.
      Also in 2 year Front Street Phase 2 will be complete. with its 25,000 SF of retail and 115 apartments.
      there are several other apartment p[rojects bringing people downtown to live.

      those people will eat downtown and if given the opportunity, they will shop downtown.

      I bet most people here dont know that there is a bicicle shop downtown, A yoga Studio, a Camera Store, a Chiropractor. There are all kinds of things to do, and further diversity in the retail options will develop with an increased population.

      So worry not about the naysayers Fred, they will still be ignorant in 2 years when UConn is up and running downtown with its 3100 students and staff. They will still be complaining of welfare queens in Hartford as you and I only see the dog walking ladies making their way past the apartments under construction on Pearl street. Or the conversion on Allyn street or the construction at constitution plaza.

      The Patriots and the Yankees both could move to hartford, and the naysayers will still talk their crap. They are as irrelevent in the 21st century as the hula hoop.

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