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Buy It, Raze It

Capitol West - City makes the right move to get rid of eyesore

Hartford Courant Editorial

March 25, 2011

Though it may be challenged in court, Hartford's redevelopment agency did the right thing when it voted to acquire by eminent domain what is now the city's most public eyesore, the Capitol West building on Myrtle Street next to I-84. The city council should affirm the decision.

The city has been negotiating to buy the building, but its best offer of $1 million is not close to the owner's last offer of $2 million. The building has been abandoned for more than a decade. The city needs to make something happen.

Critics of the decision, who include redevelopment chairman Sean Arena, the only dissenting vote, say the building is not a priority in a weak economic climate. That's a fair point.

But the city has to lay the groundwork for its future, and would be remiss in not taking advantage of an offer of $2 million from The Hartford Financial Services Group toward the purchase and demolition of the structure (though announcing the gift may not have been a wise negotiating tactic). Removing the building opens up a vastly more pleasant vista, of the historic buildings on the crest of Asylum Hill.

If the Hub of Hartford plan to lower and redesign I-84 moves ahead, as it should, this area could become the site of mixed-use, transit-oriented development. That would be a vast improvement over what it's doing now.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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