East Hartford Projects
The Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) is in the process of tearing down the old Showcase Cinema building just off I-84 east in East Hartford. The $850,000 demolition will be completed by the end of December 2019.
CRDA’s assistance was requested by the town after it purchased the blighted 25.5-acre property and 66,000 square foot structure for $3.3 million from National Amusements, Inc. in January 2019. The multi-screen complex closed in 2006 after 33 years of operation by the Massachusetts-based company. There is no specific plan for the site at this time, however, the intent is to issue a request for proposals for redevelopment of the location once it is cleared. Surrounded by a substantial residential community, the town believes there is support for commercial use of the site.
Drainage Improvements near Goodwin College
CRDA will utilize $4.0 million of the funds granted to it by the General Assembly for projects in East Hartford to construct stormwater drainage improvements in an area between Main Street and the Connecticut River. These improvements, to be implemented in three phases, are necessary to accommodate new development in and around Goodwin College’s riverfront campus.
Silver Lane Projects
- Streetscape Improvements In conjunction with the Town of East Hartford, CRDA is undertaking a $1 million Silver Lane Improvement project in the vicinity of Rentschler Field. The project will include installation of new sidewalks, crosswalks, bus shelters and other streetscape improvements.
- Acquisition of former Showcase Property CRDA is also assisting the Town of East Hartford with its acquisition and demolition of the former Showcase Cinemas property on Silver Lane. The Town is utilizing a $12 million grant from CRDA to clear and remediate the site in order to make it more attractive to potential developers.
Great River Park and Neighborhood Property Improvements
CRDA is utilizing $2.34 million of the funds granted to it by the General Assembly for projects in East Hartford for riverfront and neighborhood improvements throughout the Town.
Improvements to the Great River Park will be done in conjunction with Riverfront Recapture and will include repairs and improved access to and within the park, particularly for disabled visitors:
- Improved ADA access to boat launch and fishing pier
- New LED lighting and signage in and around the park
- Demolition of old structures
- Refurbishment of Bulkeley Bridge overlook
- Refurbishment of Founders Bridge stairs and ramps
CRDA is also providing the Town of East Hartford with a $1 million grant for the abatement and demolition of four blighted structures, including a former Town fire station and three residential properties.
Founders Plaza Planning and Garage Design
Utilizing $500,000 approved by the State Bond Commission in June, CRDA is assisting the Town of East Hartford with the planning and design of a parking garage on East River Drive near Founders Plaza. This new garage would replace an existing 333-space garage that is currently unable to meet parking demand in the area. These spaces, as well as those in large surface parking lots on the site, would be consolidated into a new, larger garage. With surface lots no longer encumbered for parking, the site would become available for additional riverfront development, including a potential residential tower.
The new garage might also be utilized by office tenants and guests of a nearby hotel, as well as by the general public. Sitting at the base of a walking trail linking the site to Downtown Hartford across the Founders Bridge and connected to Great River Park, the parking garage might also be available on nights and weekends for visitors, riverfront special events, and new attractions.