Long-Vacant Hartford Building To Be Torn Down To Make Way For CVS

by Categorized: Commercial Construction, Hartford Redevelopment Date:

The office building at the corner of Washington and Park streets will be demolished to make way for a CVS. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com

The long-vacant office building at Washington and Park streets in Hartford isn’t exactly an eyesore, but it isn’t doing much for the corner either.

A rendering of the new CVS planned for the corner of Washington and Park streets. Credit: BKA Architects Inc.

That’s about the change: the 1915 brick-and-concrete structure at 150 Washington St. will soon be torn down to make way for a 13,000-square-foot CVS.

Owner and developer Eliot B. Gersten, a Hartford lawyer, told me he expects the CVS will be open by January and, with a little luck, earlier, in time for the holiday shopping season.

Gersten’s late father, Charlie, a lawyer and real estate developer, purchased the property 15 years ago, after the state had stop using it for offices. The property, empty for about two decades, had been marketed for offices and some consideration was given to renovations. Charlie Gersten died in 2006.

Demolition has begun at the rear of 150 Washington St. in Hartford. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com.

But when CVS showed interest in the site, Eliot Gersten jumped at the opportunity.

The project is expected to cost $6 million, and its facade will reflect the architectural style of other recent renovations along the Park Street corridor. The store will employ 40.

“Years ago, this building was a great asset to the area,” Julio Mendoza, executive director of the Spanish American Merchants Association, told me, after a news conference today. “Now, it will contribute to the neighborhood again.”

When the state had offices in the 60,000-square-foot, brick-and-concrete building, it is estimated that 200 people worked in the building. Those workers pumped money into the local, Park Street economy and “it was a blow” when they left, Mendoza told me.

Did you work at 150 Washington Street? What did you do there? What are your memories?

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37 thoughts on “Long-Vacant Hartford Building To Be Torn Down To Make Way For CVS

  1. bdbd

    “[I]ts facade will reflect the architectural style of other recent renovations along the Park Street corridor.”

    Are you sure about this? The photo looks like the cookie-cutter CVS stores popping up all over — yellow, brick, and fairly ugly.

    1. Paul

      You read my mind. This is another generic box that looks remarkably like every other CVS. And when this CVS closes, nobody will want the space because it’s too identifiable as a CVS. And there’s a Walgreens at the same intersection, so you can’t even make the argument that the area is underserved by drugstores.

  2. Ken Krayeske

    When will we make CVS comply with our architectural heritage? CVS destroyed an 1899 Italianate gem on Wethersfield and Brown a few years ago to put up a cookie cutter piece of garbage building. Why don’t we make CVS conform to existing buildings instead of tearing them down? The streetscape will be completely different, and change the texture of Park and Washington for pedestrians. As if we don’t have enough drug stores in Hartford…

    I respect Mr. Gersten as a lawyer (remember his famous “waah waah waah I wanna be Attorney General” line in the Bysiewicz trial?). But as a developer and architectural preservationist, I am not sure his ideas have merit. I am glad he will make lots of money on this, but how many more buildings will we let developers knock down for 40 jobs?

    Ken Krayeske

    1. ricbee

      Carmichael’s redid the facade long before CVS tore it down,Ken. But a viable store to replace a derelict property we’ll just have accept. I too would like to see the old styles replicated but the other 3 corners are just modern junk-front stuff.

      1. Paul

        Just because the other three corners are junk doesn’t mean everyone should roll over on this. That kind of rationale will get us more junk. And there’s already a Walgreens there. How much of this kind of commerce does the neighborhood need? A comprehensive plan and a more supportive city business environment might encourage local entrepreneurs, rather than drive them out as they’re doing with Tastease Donuts and who knows how many more.

  3. Hot Dam

    Rumor has it that a “prominent” Hartford architect company does a lot of work for CVS and they leave their prominent designs home when they do the cookie-cutter CVS crap. Nobody is above prostituting themselves these days.

  4. Wake Up

    What is more important; keeping the architectural style of a depressed area or putting up a clean, new building that generates revenue and jobs? I guess you can’t please some people! No wonder companies haven’t jumped back into the area.

    1. Fred

      40 minimum wage jobs does not generate spending power. Parking and traffic will be adversely affected.

  5. Fred Hogaboom

    Well, so much for “revolutionary” Connecticut. History replaced by another “butt” ugly building.

  6. Tom Dubay

    We can and should absolutely REQUIRE BOTH architectural integrity/beauty/consistency with the neighborhood/historical aesthetics AND good jobs. It will not cost CVS (or anyone else for that matter) much more money to make it right – and by doing so they will increase the number of people that will actually walk through their doors and positively impact their bottom line. Win-win for all! Has the Mayor’s Office been involved in this? The Hartford Preservation Alliance? This needs to be done the right way!!

  7. Angel Medeiros

    All you have to do is look to the Walgreens and CVS buildings in Glastonbury. While they are clearly not architectural gems, they managed to blend fairly well with the style of the area. It can be done. Unfortunately, the drawings they are showing with this article look like your basic, run of the mill CVS stores. Boo.

  8. Sina Sleeper

    So much for looking like old San Juan…
    and where is Hartford Hospital…
    are the preservationists and aesthetic arbiters asleep?

  9. Lucas Karmazinas

    The City of Hartford should have stronger regulations regarding the reuse of historic buildings by corporations. Require them to reuse the building, require them to comply with the City’s architectural character. The claim that “its facade will reflect the architectural style of other recent renovations along the Park Street corridor” is a joke. We have all seen examples of the kind of eyesores that CVS or other entities erect when they take down historic buildings and claim they will “reflect the architectural style” of a neighborhood. The new building will never blend with the character of the neighborhood, it will be nothing more than a sore thumb, a wasteful discarding of existing building materials, and a blind eye turned towards the importance of our historic built environment. Shameful and disgusting.

  10. italian10

    ArchitectDo we really need another CVS esp. on the corner of Park and Washington it is already a difficult intersection and now we are going to add to the congestion and traffic, also we already have a CVS on Main Street, Maple Avenue, Wethersfield Ave… just to name a few Hartford locations CVS just wants to compete with the Walgreens that is already there and put them out of business so where will all those employees go??

    Comment to wake up CVS anticipates 45 jobs which isn’t a whole lot of jobs and you do realize they will mostly be part time not full time and have you ever gone into a CVS and seen that may employees in any of their other locations??

      1. Paul

        This chain of comments was actually pretty thoughtful. Until you started in with derogatory remarks. Debate the merits of the situation or don’t say anything. Italian10 has the right to their opinion and they’re arguing respectfully.

  11. mark nati

    I think it is great to be able to get rid of a building that has been empty for 20 years and put a brand new building that will create 40 jobs is a good thing. As for the people who do not like it. Why did you not buy the old building yourself and do sometning with it.

    1. Fred

      You really don’t know what you are talking about. How about if I buy the house next to you and put up a crappy building and put an adult book store? I bought it I can do whatever I want, right?

      40 minimum wage jobs does not generate spending power. Parking and traffic will be adversely affected.

      1. WHALEVOLUTION

        Its very good that traffic and parking will be affected because its not affecting anything now as a vacant building. Not all 40 jobs willbe minimum wage but 40 jobs is better than 0 jobs.

        Simple math.

        1. Jan

          No – you would not want to live next to this CVS. I live directly behind it on Cedar St and I dread the day it will open. Our quiet street will never be quiet again. The battle with drug dealers and users is monumental – the new driveway and cut-through will only attract more traffic (vehicular and drug-related). I am not looking forward to Opening Day.

  12. Brian

    So sad that they’re tearing down a historic building to build a CVS that’ll be in front of a Walgreens. It seems like CVS is taking over New England hardcore these days. I’m a Hartford native now living north of Boston. Our city has about 3 CVS stores within a mile of each other.

  13. jcsr

    ricbee got it right. Better than nothin’. Years ago I and a bunch of other kids used to get off the bus there to walk over to the old Hartford Trade School. It was some kind of a Tobacco building then. always Noble and quiet.

  14. DianeVar

    I’d rather see an attractive vacant building than an ugly not needed CVS go up. Shame on the city of Hartford.

  15. Pingback: Should Former Office Building Be Torn Down For CVS? | Real Estate

  16. RYAN

    I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS AT ALL..HOW MANY CVS DO WE NEED..THEN ITS ONLY GOING TO EMPLOY 40 PEOPLE..IF YOUR GOING TO KNOCK DOWN A PIECE OF HISTORY AT LEAST MAKE IT WORTH WHILE FOR THE COMMUNITY.

  17. WHALEVOLUTION

    What historical building not anyone here or even the author knows what the building is historical for? Sounds like its been historically EMPTY.

    Thats enough reason right there.

  18. Paige

    Wonderful news! These old, outdated buildings should all make way for CVS and Walgreens. One on every corner; preferably two! Long live the era of big box pharmacies!

  19. Cathy Levesque

    Why can’t CVS make their buildings a little more street friendly and welcoming? Even the Walgreen’s buildings are better.

  20. Eli

    Do your research; this is no more than a corporate formula that is not meant to change. The money (profits)is already being counted. Is Hartford only good enough for minimum wage employment where a CVS worker can’t even afford the medical insurance they offer, nor afford to live on the same block?

  21. Dan

    When will it end with the onslaught from CVS? Now when you enter Farmington Village you will first be greeted by another hideous CVS. I love how, in Farmington, they are actually bragging about the new CVS and how it is “the first drive thru pharmacy” in town. Nobody benefits except the top 10% at CVS. The rest of us suffer with their uglyness and uselessness.

  22. Steve

    Did Connecticut’s population triple within the past 2 years? I want to know what’s behind all these new CVS & Walgreen stores opening up everywhere. I know Doctors like to write prescriptions for just about anything these days but this is getting out of hand. The Supreme court has still to decide Obamacare’s fate, our Federal budget may very well be making enormous cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, & Social Security soon, and most states are in enormous budget cuts mode. How are all these pharmacies going to be supported? In Bristol, CT., we still have stores closing up everywhere you look.

  23. Ohodgee Nieves

    When is the CVS/pharmacy on the corner of Washington street & park street in hartford ct is having their grand opening? Are they going to open from 7am-10pm or they are going to stay open 24 hours? I looked online there were no search results for Washington and park street hartford ct. They will beat the competition drug store Walgreens. I know cvs has a coupon center and price checker for your items and extra care card so everybody can get extra bucks and coupons. I hope to hear from you soon.

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