We’ve been a bit hard on the Front Street Project in Hartford. It was a key piece of the Adriaen's Landing revitalization plan in the city, which was cooked up by former governor John Rowland in an era when he promised to get the New England Patriots to come to town. Remember that? Yeah, it was before he pled to corruption charges, went to prison and subsequently turned up on a commercial radio station complaining about big government spending projects. The irony’s not lost here.
The parcel sat basically vacant for years - then construction happened across from the Convention Center...but still no life. Finally the first tenant - a movie theater/bistro opened this month. Soon, a steakhouse chain and a second location of the very successful Infinity Hall will fill other corners.
The project, if successful, has a chance to knit together some of Hartford’s existing assets and draw visitors. But there’s still a lot of time and challenges in the way. In a few minutes, we’ll talk with the new Executive Director of the Capital Region Development Authority who oversees the Front Street Development. But first, producers Tucker Ives, Heather Brandon and I took a backstage tour of the new Spotlight Theater and Front Street Bistro.