Eminent Domain Is The Right Move On Blighted Capitol West
Capitol West Hartford has to take control of this abandoned, blighted property
The Hartford Courant
May 01, 2011
Another of those chronic headaches that afflict Hartford is closer to being cured with the city council's decision Monday to take a landmark eyesore by eminent domain.
Bravo, council members. The long-vacant Capitol West building, with an ugly gash in its side, is a billboard for Hartford's troubles.
The city has had to force the issue because negotiations with the owner of the concrete shambles, Joshua Guttman, have gone nowhere. He wants $2 million for the property, doubling his money. The city won't — nor should it — pay more than $1 million. City officials put the current value at $448,000.
Meanwhile, the skeleton of the dilapidated building stands there, making shabby and desolate what could be a stately gateway to the historic treasures of Asylum Hill and giving the thousands of motorists who pass by on I-84 west each day the wrong idea about Hartford.
Like the recently demolished Butt Ugly building farther east used to be, Capitol West is really bad advertising at a critical entry point to the city, the turnoff (literally) for most visitors to the Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe houses, the state Capitol and the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.
Hartford will gain control of the property, tear down Capitol West and do environmental cleanup with the help of a generous $2 million contribution from the Hartford Financial Services Group.
It can't happen soon enough.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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