Tuesday night the public is urged to come witness possible scenarios for the future of The Hartford
campus. Input on the ideas will also still be accepted.
Monday night consultants offered an informal look at some of the ideas it had so far generated based on public input, interviews with stakeholders and assessment of existing characteristics of the town. Tuesday, those and possibly other ideas, will be more formally presented.
However, those involved were quick to point out that tonight's meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. at The Hartford is not a "vote" and does not mean the ideas will necessarily exactly reflect how the site would be developed. Rather the information will be used to help market ideas and develop flexible "codes" for the property. The property is private and development could happen in a number of different ways, consultants added.
"This is to provide some framework of what's possible here," said Jeremy Nelson, vice president of Vialta Group, a company of Balfour Beatty and chosen consultant Gateway Planning.
The following are among the concepts consultants plan to present Tuesday evening. Most scenarios also involve some use of the cornfield to the north of the building.
- 1. A wellness village with a mix of possibilities such as assisted living, rehabilitation facilities, sports complex and outdoor retailers. Concepts for a "cornfield" site to the north of the existing building include a mix of housing options that could serve both younger professionals and retirees. Amenities such as grocery store could mean fewer off-site trips.
- 2. A Farm to Table Food "Agrivillage." Vialta Group president Scott Polikov said this option is a little more "outside the box" but could include options such as community farming, co-ops, food supply businesses and craft breweries. The field would focus a little more on conservation.
- 3. A Corporate/Higher Education Research facility. Consultants said market research shows this option may be less likely and caution that the private sector component would have to be emphasized to ensure a good tax base on the property. On the other hand the property has a campus feel and a company could be attracted to an area where it could employ and house researchers. "We don't want to dismiss it out of hand," Nelson said.
Consultants also said that while it may be less likely than decades ago, the possibility still exists for one large, single user to take over the property. Even in that case, however, it's possible that such a company could still want to incorporate some of the concepts, such as mixed housing, consultants said.
In addition, those involved some common themes have emerged in all the scenarios. Many residents, for example, have expressed a desire to maintain natural buffers to the site.
Tuesday's meeting will take place at The Hartford campus, 200 Hopmeadow Street, on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m.
While this effort is ongoing CBRE/New England (CBRE/NE) is also currently marketing the property.