Former Broadcast House Site Proposed For UConn Relocation
by KENNETH R. GOSSELIN
March 15, 2013
The owner of the former Broadcast House on Hartford’s Constitution Plaza has offered the site for the relocation of the University of Connecticut’s West Hartford campus to the city’s downtown.
Builder Abul Islam has submitted a proposal to UConn for the property at the corner of State Street and Columbus Boulevard, a spokesman for Islam confirmed for me.
Christopher Stone, the spokesman, said the building could be of a comparable size to Islam’s plan for an apartment tower on the property. The apartment tower was envisioned to be 15 stories with 195 rental units at a cost of about $50 million.
Islam’s proposal is among 13 submitted to the university after it widened its search for a suitable location for the relocated campus. Late last year, UConn confirmed that it would sell its West Hartford campus and relocate to downtown Hartford, amid high costs to renovate the existing campus.
UConn today declined comment on the Islam proposal.
UConn hasn’t commented on any sites it has considered or any of the 13 proposals. But the university did agree to spend $243,000 to study the former Travelers Education Center, a location UConn was widely known to be looking at. The university hasn’t commented on the study, but the decision in January to widen its search raised questions about its intentions for the education center.
Details have emerged on the some of the locations, however. They include the area in and around One Talcott Plaza; Front Street including the old Hartford Times Building; and a vacant city-owned parcel in “Downtown North.”
Stone emphasized that the UConn proposal does not mean that Islam, owner of AI Engineering in Middletown, is shelving the apartment plan.
“This should in no way be read as an abandonment of those plans,” Stone told me.
Islam is still trying to line up funding from state economic development agencies, plus private financing.
The potential for developing the UConn campus on Constitution Plaza does represent another viable option for the site, Stone said.
Islam has already sunk more than $2 million of his own money into the project, buying Broadcast House in 2008 and demolishing it a year later.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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