UConn West Hartford Campus Relocated To Hartford’s Front Street?

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Could the relocation of the University of Connecticut’s West Hartford campus form the final phase of downtown Hartford’s Front Street?

Front Street developer HB Nitkin Group has proposed using the long vacant Hartford Times building on Prospect Street as the centerpiece of the relocated campus, a source told me today.

The proposal is one of 13 received by the university after it widened its search in January for a downtown site.

Long vacant Hartford Times building at Front Street one of 13 proposals for relocating University of Connecticut's West Hartford campus.

Long vacant Hartford Times building at Front Street one of 13 proposals for relocating University of Connecticut’s West Hartford campus. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/kgosselin@courant.com.

The Times building would be renovated and expanded under the proposal to accommodate the space needed by the university, the source said. Parking would be provided, at least in part, by existing parking garages at Front Street, the source said.

A bookstore could be located in the Front Street entertainment district, the source said.

The Times building is part of a third phase of Front Street and had previously been targeted for conversion to apartments. No timeline for the redevelopment had been established.

Construction on the second phase of Front Street — 115 apartments and ground-level retail — is expected to begin in early fall.

Nitkin’s director of development Peter Christian did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. UConn declined to comment.

The university also has spent $243,000 to study the former Travelers Education Center on Constitution Plaza as a possible site. But questions about its intentions for the education center were raised after UConn widened its search.

In addition to Front Street, details have emerged on another proposal by LAZ Parking’s Alan Lazowski for Main Street just north of the G. Fox building. That proposal includes the renovation of One Talcott Plaza and its parking garage. In addition, the proposal calls for the renovation of One Talcott Plaza and its parking garage.

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20 thoughts on “UConn West Hartford Campus Relocated To Hartford’s Front Street?

  1. Downtown Worker

    Now that is a great plan. That is a very historic facade where president’s have spoken in front of. This would be great for Front Street and Downtown as a whole. I think this area would really come to life with UConn being located there along with the new businesses opening now.

    For students, this would put them very close to City Hall, The Wadsworth, Science Center, and the newly relocated state offices. This would provide very convenient access for jobs/internships etc.

    This is by far the best proposed site yet.

  2. Eileen

    I still think it is a mistake to move from West Hartford to Hartford. In a previous blog someone had suggested that they move the campus to the soon-to-be vacated The Hartford office in Simsbury. I think that is a great idea!

    1. Downtown Worker

      Simsbury will get a new office tenant there soon enough. I’m sure we have different perspectives and priorities, but I think having them Downtown is for the best of all involved.

    2. J A

      Moving to a corporate office park in a distant suburb would be worse than staying in West Hartford. Getting to and from the sterile “campus” would be impossible without a car, limiting the number of students willing or able to enroll and removing any possibility of pedestrian connections with the surrounding community.

      1. Patrick

        Oye! (Smacks head with hand) Simsbury…that’s even more remote and non-regional than the West Hartford site. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great family town, but for the regional Hartford college campus, NO.

    3. mc

      Really? You think a University should move to a stop off the highway in an old, boring, office complex? No way. This is not a community college.

  3. DR

    Now THIS is a great idea. While the idea of sticking the campus on main street near the highway and onramps seems terrible,locating the campus in a beautiful old building and near front street would be a huge boost to the city and would make an attractive campus.

    Let’s hope this happens!

  4. Dave

    West Hartford is falling apart. Last year UConn spent over $7 million on repairs and its getting worse. The West Hartford campus is simply not viable anymore.

    Simsbury. Why not Chiina?

    1. Phil

      China you say??? Hmmmm you may be on to something.
      A)It would be nowhere near Hartford so, some people here would love that.
      B)We could pay staff there like $4/day and save the state tons of money.

  5. George Kirkutis

    Hartford times marquis would make a fantastic icon for Uconn!
    Hartford and the University of Connecticut would be winners.

    George Kirkutis

  6. Gloria King

    In addition, the proposal calls for the renovation of One Talcott Plaza and its parking garage.

  7. SL

    Fantastic idea and would definitely bring in tenants to the currently mostly empty Front Street. Agree with others that the building facade would make for a beautiful building and would be a great addition for UConn. Not sure why they’d even consider another option after hearing this one!

  8. Phil

    It would be interesting to know the demographics of from where the student population currently originates from and how this might be affected by the new location, particularly in regard to mass transit access. Hartford most likely needs more people downtown but maybe not more cars downtown. Great architectural facade but assume the campus will need more space?

  9. kevin

    best idea. keep in mind that the front street district is owned by the State Why take more taxable property off the hands of the City? This would be a great final touch for Front Street and is in walking distance to Main Street (Wadsworth, City Hall and may help bring more business to street level retail there). In addition, its across from the Convention Center. Would make the area more alive. for the person that mentioned that the development is mostly vacant, you must live under a rock. Spotlight Theaters, Capital Grill, Infinity Hall are there and coming. More retail is interested and housing is moving forward this fall. This is a great site. Make it happen, CT/Hartford.

  10. iheartsushi

    hmmm…its a possibility but its too small. I always thought it would be better to place another museum like of natural science or something like the metropolitan instead?

  11. Benjamin foley

    Dear State – whatever you do dont screw this up! This is a once in a generation opportunity to give Hartford a chance. Hartford is a study in the chicken before the egg. Office buildings-check, apartments-check, convention center-check, young educated population living downtown-huh?, jobs-huh? If there is ONE thing that could jumpstart Hartford this is it. Inject an educated population living in the downtown core and watch what can happen.

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