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Garage Attracts Potential Tenants

3 Businesses Weigh Morgan Street Site

October 5, 2005
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer

The prospect of retail activity on the ground floor of the Morgan Street garage was so bleak this summer that the space was going to be turned into parking.

Now, though, three potential tenants - a coffee shop, an office supply and furniture store and a loan company - are negotiating with the Hartford Parking Authority to occupy the floor entirely, officials said Tuesday.

"It's exciting," said authority Chairman David E.A. Carson. "Since the garage was built, there had been attempts to market the space, and we had a very hard time finding anyone who even wanted to look at it.

"But when we announced we were going to convert it into parking, it was like people were saying, `Oh, there's space there,'" he said.

In June, the authority announced it was considering turning the roughly 8,000 square feet of ground floor space into 36 parking spots. Real estate agents long had told the authority's executive director, James C. Kopencey, that the lack of foot traffic on the block of Market Street between Talcott and Morgan Streets was crippling. But now, with the growth of Capital Community College just across the street, foot traffic is increasing, he said.

"I think the Hartford real estate market is warming up," Kopencey said, noting that the authority did not lower rents or offer concessions to attract potential tenants. "I think we're feeling some of the side benefit associated with that."

Kopencey declined to name the retail outlets interested in moving to the garage because the contracts still are being negotiated.

"I do think that for the first time we've got some real potential here," Carson said. "And it is real."


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.
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