Panera Bread To Open In Downtown Hartford

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Panera Bread, the popular bakery-cafe, will open its first location in downtown Hartford early next spring — a boost to the city’s retail and restaurant scene.

A long-term lease for 4,600 square feet has been signed at State House Square on street level facing Main Street.

Panera joins other restaurants at State House Square, including Morton’s Steakhouse, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Mooyah Burgers. The Panera will be the 15th location in Connecticut.

“This reaffirms/is further evidence of the great momentum occuring throughout this revitalized, expanding part of the city,” said Dovy Fruchthander, vice president of FBE Limited, a partner in the ownership of State House Square.

Shawn McMahon, executive vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle in Hartford, represented the building’s owner. Panera was represented by Harmon Lewis of National Commercial Brokers Inc.




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16 thoughts on “Panera Bread To Open In Downtown Hartford

  1. Gerrymander

    As one of the 35,000 people who work and 2,000 people who live downtown, I can attest that Panera will do well here. It might not be quite as busy on the weekends, but an expanding residential population and active convention business nearby bode well for it.

  2. MG

    I never understand why you see NONE of those 35000 out on the street EVER. I’m sure there has to be what to you guys is a reasonable reason for this?

    1. Downtown Worker

      MG, if you never see people out downtown Hartford, then you obviously have never actually worked here or spent time here during a typical workday. Walking around during a typical workday in the early afternoon gives you the impression of a very active urban core with many thousands of office workers strolling about. It’s not as vibrant as I hope it will be one day, but to act life it’s dead and lifeless all day during the week is a complete fallacy. I don’t get why there is so much negatively and lack of even wanting to see Hartford succeed in this region.

      1. joseph

        People like MG have never been downtown, and are probably one of those who left Hartford, and now think it’s never going to come back. I’ve been downtown and I worked downtown for years. YEAH after 5pm, most of it is empty except for where the restaurants. but it’s not THAT BAD. There are apartments being occupied by young professionals who like city life, and Downtown Hartford isn’t as dangerous as many are led to believe.

      2. Phil

        Well said Downtown Worker, I’m not sure why all the negativity towards Hartford. If Hartford succeeds, everyone benefits and if Hartford doesn’t do well, we all lose out. I’m not sure why some people seem to be proud of their ignorant attitudes.

  3. steverino

    It will fit right in. I always say that I don’t eat at Panera Bread because if I want an $8 sandwich I can go anywhere in downtown Hartford.

  4. Downtown Worker

    This is yet another sign of positive momentum towards the revitalization of Downtown Hartford. With Front Street starting to secure high quality tenants, more apartment projects in the works, and UConn moving the Greater Hartford branch Downtown, there really are tangible signs of improvement. Something that the region should actually get behind and support.

  5. Gerrymander

    Thank you, Downtown Worker, for setting the record straight. Today during my lunch break I saw an active downtown full of pedestrians on sidewalks and in shops, as I usually do. Thanks also for noting the pending influx of students, with the opening of UConn’s Greater Hartford campus downtown slated for 2013. Panera Bread is ahead of the curve on this one: Their location will have recently opened when UConn students start arriving at the new campus a couple blocks away.

    1. Downtown Worker

      It’s simply the truth. People just love to bash Hartford for the sake of it. Hartford is far from perfect, but it has some real assets and future prospect. The UConn Hartford students will be within walking distance of a movie theater, casual dining, fine dining, and a ton of fast food. Not to mention that there will be an influx of apartments available for those who may wish to live, go to school, and possibly work all in the same central area.

      1. Gerrymander

        Well put. I’ve noticed the many assets too (Atheneum, Hartford Stage, Theaterworks, Science Center, Hartford Symphony, CT Forum, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Old State House, two libraries, dining of all flavors), easily within walking distance of one another. Young professionals are attracted to this kind of environment, and those who want to maximize the appeal of the entire metro area should realize that those efforts start with the city.

  6. iheartsushi

    Well, I could be wrong but given that UCONN will relocate at roughly the same time, it could be a smart move on Panera’s behalf. I love Panera:)

    1. joseph

      I think that Panera knows what they’re doing. They’re not entrepreneurs for nothing. You have to look ahead into the future and see where the money’s going to be made. With UConn coming downtown, that is a definite plus. Did they say where it was going to be located? I thought they had one already on Pratt Street next to the Lounge/bar?

      1. Gerrymander

        The new Panera will be located on the side of State House Square facing Main Street, next to the recently opened Bank of America branch.

  7. Dave

    If Hartford ever gets off its butt and puts housing in the old Sonesta and on the corner of Trumbull and Pearl, it will put a lot of pedestrians on the street. Instead these buildings sit vacant for decades.

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