Hartford, Conn., has issued a request for proposals for 13 acres of city-owned properties surrounding minor-league baseball Dunkin’ Donuts Park north of downtown.
The RFP for 32 properties emphasizes the potential for mixed-use development in the area, anchored by residential buildings with lower floor retail or office space, Mayor Luke Bronin said Monday.
After numerous and costly delays, the 6,121-seat ballpark opened this year on what had been no-man’s land between downtown and the North End, at Main and Trumbull streets.
City officials last year fired Centerplan Construction Co. as ballpark contractor. In October they also terminated their deal with Centerplan to develop the adjacent parcels. Centerplan, based in Middletown, Conn., has sued the city for wrongful termination.
The Class AA Eastern League Hartford Yard Goats, an affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies, drew nearly 400,000 fans over 70 games after opening in April. The website BaseballParks.com named it the 2017 Ballpark of the Year.
Its average attendance of more than 5,600 was 92% of capacity. In addition, the University of Connecticut and the University of Hartford have hosted games there and a Candlewood Suites hotel opened east of the park.
“We believe there’s significant potential for development in the area, and we hope bidders will recognize the importance of pedestrian-friendly development that connects Downtown North with the Clay Arsenal and Upper Albany neighborhoods as well as Main Street,” Bronin said.
”We’re going to thoroughly vet any proposals to make sure bidders have the interest, capacity, and experience to follow through on their proposals.”
The franchise moved to Hartford from New Britain, where it played from 1983 through 2015. Its previous home was Bristol. Because of construction delays to the Hartford ballpark, the Yard Goats played some 2016 home games in Norwich, 40 miles southeast, but spend most of the season playing in opposition ballparks.
The initiative comes as Hartford, the 123,000-population capital of Connecticut and whose bonds are junk, is striving to avert a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing. The city just received an additional $40 million in aid as part of the state's $41.3 billion biennial budget that Gov. Dannel Malloy passed last month.
Bronin also wants concessions from bondholders and from labor groups.