State Office Worker Relocation Plans Taking Shape

by Categorized: Downtown Hartford, Hartford Redevelopment, Uncategorized Date:

The state has completed the purchase of Connecticut River Plaza and two state agencies — the Department of Revenue Services and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities — will be among those moving into the downtown office complex, a state spokesman told Property Line.

Revenue services alone will bring 700 workers to downtown Hartford, nearly a third of the 2,000 to 2,300 workers that are expected to move into the Columbus Boulevard complex, by early 2016, according to Jeffrey Beckham, a spokesman for the state Department of Administrative Services.

Connecticut River Plaza has purchased by the state  for relocating office workers as it consolidates leased space in the Hartford area. Photo by STEPHEN DUNN/sdunn@courant.com.

Connecticut River Plaza has purchased by the state for relocating office workers as it consolidates leased space in the Hartford area. Photo by STEPHEN DUNN/sdunn@courant.com.

All the departments that will relocate to the two-towered complex haven’t been determined but planning is well underway, Beckham told me.

The state closed the $34.5 million purchase of Connecticut River Plaza Friday, but the extent of the renovations has pushed back relocations to the building from the initial timetable of 2015, according to Beckham.

Connecticut River Plaza is one of the two office buildings in Hartford acquired by the state this year as part of plans to consolidate office workers from nearly twenty leased and aging, state-owned locations in and around Hartford. This spring, the state also purchased 55 Farmington Ave. in Asylum Hill. As many as 3,300 workers could be shifted to the two locations.

In March, the state released this list of state agencies and departments that could be involved in the relocation. Graphic credit: Wes Rand

In March, the state released this list of state agencies and departments that could be involved in the relocation. Graphic credit: Wes Rand

At 55 Farmington Ave. office tower, at the corner of Flower Street, a total of 1,100 state workers are expected to move in, the largest chunk from the Department of Social Services with 600 workers. Other departments include: the Department of Aging, the Department of Rehabilitation Services, IT workers for payroll and human services and the Criminal Justice Information System.

The Farmington Avenue building is expected to be occupied within a year.

The state estimates it will save $100 million over the next 20 years, or $200 million when adjusted for inflation, by purchasing the buildings and consolidating state workers.

The 575,000-square-foot Connecticut River Plaza is basically an empty shell so office improvements — cubicles, furniture, telecom, IT, carpet and paint — are first needed. Repairs to the roof, plaza and garage also are needed, Beckham told me. The renovations are expected to cost $48 million.

Two of the departments — revenue services and social services — are relocating from 25 Sigourney St. The state has made moving workers out of the building because of its poor condition.

The state has poured millions of dollars into 25 Sigourney to repair water leaks and mold damage, with mixed results. Last year, the above-ground portion of the parking garage was closed because its crumbling structure raised safety concerns.

 

The Courant is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on courant.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

16 thoughts on “State Office Worker Relocation Plans Taking Shape

  1. pete

    Doesn’t the state OWN 55 Sigourney Street and if so HOW will the state save any money. What will our corrupt politicians DO with 55 Sigoureny Street. Tear it down like the building on Washington ave the state bought under the Weicker Regime from a FAT CAT connected hack. Who did our corrupt politicians buy 55 Sig from Aetna or was it Nick Carbone. Why doesn’t Ken tell us some real facts

  2. Joe

    The big question this story doesn’t answer is how could a building sold for $7 million a couple years ago be purchased by the state for $34.5 million? Further, how could the building need another $45 million in improvements to make it usable? Take a look at the partnership that sold the building and those doing the rehabilitation.

    1. Connecticut is Circling the Drain

      Joe, I think you’re on to something and I believe its a backdoor way for the state to reduce Hartford’s debt. John Rowland mentioned this in his show awhile back about a parking lot in Hartford. It would be nice if John Lender or someone at the Courant investigated this as it sure has an odor to it.

  3. John

    This is a win-win-win situation. Hundreds of state workers moving into CT River Plaza will bring vitality to the neighborhood which has been moribund. State depts. that move out of buildings overlooking Bushnell Park would possibly have developers interested, as they already have been, in turning the beautiful old buildings on Elm St. and at the Rotary into luxury apartments/condominiums and the Sigourney Street wreck of a building could be torn down w/ a park landscaped on the site.

  4. Robert

    The reason the prior owner only paid $7 million was becuase of 1) poor condition and 2) lack of demand for space. The state should not have paid much of a premium as improvements to the building were minimal and there was still no demand. I don’t doubt the cost of repairing and outfitting the building. The purchase cost was absurd.

  5. Robert

    I agree with you John but it still doesn’t justify the price. It will be very interesting to see what happens to 25 Sigourney Street. It should really be torn down.

  6. J A Szczesiul

    The Democrat Union empire in CT keeps expanding while non government middle class workers, taxpayers and jobs flee . Source Migration of personal Incomes Between states 2000-2010.

  7. Steve Stanford

    Are they going to do anything about the traffic patterns on the streets around the Columbus Blvd complex? I work in the Steam Boiler Building and it is already gridlock getting out of there at 5:00, and forget about it if there is a concert at the Meadows. If you live west of Hartford you might has well add another 30 minutes to your commute.

    1. Linda

      Nice. Apparently, you’ve never held a public service job. I did and I ate my lunch at my desk while answering the phone and assisting visitors at the door.

  8. Joe

    So the building sold in 2010 for $6,666,667 and is valued by the Hartford Assesor at $13,063,890 which is a bit high. So why did the state pay $20 million higher? It is crazy the Courant has never dug into this further.

  9. J2D

    “The renovations are expected to cost $48 million”

    Seriously? Gee, I worked there for both Travelers and United Healthcare. All those buildings needed was an improved cafeteria vendor.

    The fleecing of taxpayers in CT continues.

  10. Rob

    Wow this whole process is such a load of BS if you bother to look where some of the employees are being relocated from. For example, 55 Elm St which is right next to bushnell park is going to relocate 751 employees a few blocks away and this is going to have an impact on foot traffic downtown?! This is exactly why Hartford is the dump it is because instead of electing individuals who will provide a business friendly urban core to draw in Fortune 500 companies, we elect Malloy and Segarra who’s priorities are to argue with UCONN, drive out the firearms industry and shuffle around already next to useless public sector positions. Pathetic…

  11. Some Guy

    I think what many fail to recognize are the millions and millions of dollars the previous owner spent in renovating many of the building systems and features. There was work going on there for the past 3 years. I am also certain there were significant holding costs in the form of real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, etc. that were also paid out. The other thing to consider is that the value of an asset doesn’t depend upon the purchase price. Good for the previous owner for taking a risk, and good for the State of CT for trying to control their future costs.

  12. The Square Foot

    Right on Some Guy! The people who bought this totally empty building a few years ago did it with the prospect of leasing it and creating value. They DID spend a ton of money taking it off the steam loop and installing all new mechanical systems. Then, in additon to the taxes and operating costs, they have the interest charges on the equity of debt that they used to purchase the building. Some of these people who comment dont understand how much it costs to carry and empty building. They risked millions and just as easily could have lost it all (e.g. Northland). They deserve a handsome return on their investment and the risk they took. It’s called capitalism.

Comments are closed.