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Judge Tells Hartford To 'Move Forward' With Redevelopment In Another Victory Over Fired Developer

RMS Companies
A rendering of what redevelopment around Dunkin' Donuts Park could look like. A judge on Thursday discharged the liens from several properies surrounding the park, a move that'll allow the city and it's new partner to begin a new construction project.

A judge has cleared the way for the redevelopment of property surrounding the Hartford baseball stadium of the minor league Yard Goats.

It’s another win for the city in its ongoing legal battle with the original developer of Dunkin’ Donuts Park, Centerplan Construction LLC, which follows a jury verdict last month that essentially upheld the city’s decision to fire Centerplan.

“We knew we had one more battle to fight to get those liens lifted,” Mayor Luke Bronin said after the ruling. “We won that battle today.

On Thursday, a judge lifted any remaining liens on the surrounding properties. There were three reasons given for the discharge of the liens by Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher. He said that jury verdicts are hard to overturn, that the city of Hartford and the public have a substantial public interest in the relief being granted, and that he had no reason to believe money wouldn’t satisfy the developers.

“Here, partial relief may yield a large portion of of public good without doing the appellant in this case any irreparable harm,” Moukawsher wrote in the ruling.

Centerplan sued the city nearly three years ago. Hartford hired that company and another developer called DoNo Hartford LLC to develop a project headlined by a ballpark. Before it could be completed, Hartford fired the companies and hired someone else.

The $71 million Dunkin’ Donuts Park opened a year after it was supposed to because of missed deadlines and cost overruns.

Bronin said from City Hall Thursday that RMS Companies will be redeveloping five parcels of land outside the stadium – land the mayor called ‘a sea of surface parking’.

“The city is now clear to move forward and that’s exactly what we plan to do,” Bronin said. “I’ve already spoken with Randy Salvatore, the head of RMS [Companies]. We look forward now to finalizing that development agreement, getting the project moving forward as quickly as possible.”

Credit Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio
Connecticut Public Radio
'We've won that battle too," Mayor Luke Bronin said outside of his office Thursday, August 8 after a judge ruled that the city could move forward with redevelopment around Dunkin' Donuts Park by discharging liens placed on parcels of land outside the ballpark. It follows a July jury verdict that backed the city in its lawsuit against the ballpark developer it fired in 2016.

Randy Salvatore, the chairman and CEO of RMS Companies, was delighted by the judge’s decision.

“We are thrilled with the ruling and we stand ready to finalize our legal agreements with the City so we can break ground on this transformative project in the very near future,” Salvatore said.

Bronin wouldn’t put a timeline on the project and he wouldn’t yet reveal what would go in there. He did say the new construction would likely feature retail at the bottom level with housing units being built on top of that.

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

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