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Developers see results of New Britain's downtown projects

May 21st, 2013

Avner Krohn may have said it best.

“For some time we’ve seen projects on the drawing boards — the new police station, CTfastrak,” said the chairman of the board of commissioners for the New Britain Downtown District. “But, now we’re seeing reality in downtown New Britain — projects actually under way.”

Krohn, a leading downtown developer, said with the completion of these projects the city can look forward to transit-oriented development in residential, retail and commercial spaces.

“We’re seeing an increased demand for retail space, bringing a multicultural, diverse tenant base with business owners from various backgrounds,” he said Monday. “They bring with them new kinds of retail we haven’t seen here for years.”

New Brite Plaza, for example, is now 100 percent occupied, and has a waiting list of prospective tenants.

The 29th annual downtown district meeting in the new police station community room was attended by more than 100 business and civic people. They heard reports from Krohn, Mayor Tim O’Brien, Police Chief James Wardwell, Mark Moriarty, director, New Britain Public Works, and Downtown District Director Gerry Amodio.

Amodio predicted that in 10 years property owners’ investments will be worth a lot more.

“This is a safe, thriving community,” he said. “Now that CTfastrak is real we can expect downtown to become the beginning of a true college town; this is significant and can bring the city even greater value.”

Wardwell talked about a safer, cleaner city since a series of drug raids this year and Mayor Tim O’Brien invited other business owners to consider relocating to downtown, issuing an open invitation to Broad Street businesses.

Moriarty said people he has spoken with are excited about the concept of Streetscape, particularly the bike paths through the city.

“Bike paths can become a family event,” he said, and adding that people like the idea of the connection between city parks and schools. He also stressed that back-in and angle parking, primarily on Chestnut Street, will make traffic safer for both pedestrians and drivers.

Rob Trottier, the city’s civil engineer, said contractor Martin Laviero of Bristol will start work on the reconfiguration of the Arch Street section of Main Street. The project, which begins in June, will extend south of Court to Elm Street and is expected to take 180 days.

The district’s proposed 2013-2014 operating budget is $226,619.

Scott Whipple can be reached at (860) 225-4601, ext. 319, or swhipple@newbritainherald.com

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