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Hartford Picks New Developer In Latest Attempt At 'DoNo' Redevelopment

RMS Companies
Project renderings submitted by RMS Companies to the city of Hartford.

The city of Hartford has selected RMS Companies to develop 32 properties surrounding Dunkin’ Donuts Park near the intersection of Albany Avenue and Main Street  -- an area known as “Downtown North.”

The Stamford-based company, helmed by Randy Salvatore, rehabilitated the Goodwin Hotel in Hartford last year. It was the only bidder on the DoNo project.

“In Randy Salvatore, we’ve got someone who’s got a very strong reputation and track record,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “What we’re going to do now is the work of -- term-by-term -- deliberately negotiating an economic development agreement that protects the city’s interest, that allows for the responsible development of these important parcels of land.”

The city is being sued by one of the companies it hired the last time to fix up the area, Centerplan Construction. Bronin said he’s confident that won’t have any bearing on the new project.

The last effort to re-gentrify the area began in 2014 when the city tapped Centerplan and DoNo Hartford LLC to develop a project headlined by the ballpark. Before it could be completed, Hartford fired the companies and hired someone else. The Hartford Yard Goats eventually moved in, but nothing else was completed.

Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio
Connecticut Public Radio
Dunkin' Donuts Park and the 32 properties around it designated for redevelopment are located in an area the city calls "Downtown North."

Tim Restall, the Yard Goats team president, said his attention is on baseball right now in season so he said he hasn’t focused on much outside of the team, but he said area redevelopment is a good thing.

“It’s filling out the landscape,” Restall said. “It’s showing that it’s not just the ballpark and a sea of parking lots. It’s having people come downtown for more things. It just adds to the whole experience, whether you're inside the ballpark or outside the ballpark.”

RMS said a lot has to be done before May, 2019, but that’s when it wants to break ground. It estimated the project will cost $200 million.

Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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