Hartford Votes To Take Capitol West Building

Apr 26, 2011

The Hartford City Council has approved a plan backed by Mayor Pedro Segarra to take and tear down a piece of private property off I-84.  But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the attorney for the property's owners says he's still considering his legal options. The city council unanimously approved the plan to take the structure known as the Capitol West building Monday night.  In a press release, Segarra called it a "signature eyesore." Various business groups, companies, and neighborhood advocates have called for the vacant building to come down.  Segarra says he wants to use the site for economic development. Coleman Levy is the attorney for the building's owners, and he says that the problem isn't the building's condition.  The problem, he says, is that the city doesn't want to pay fair market value.   Levy: They've noticed that the most that they offered was a million dollars.  Cohen: And that's what you bought it for? Levy: Correct. Cohen: And that's not enough? Levy: Correct. My client has put a new roof, he's done other things, he's handled the property, the taxes have all been paid, it's not a blighted building, there are no building code violations.  Levy says that his client's last offer was $2 million dollars. "My client is a businessman, and if you want to buy it, then you're going to pay the fair market value.   He gave them an opportunity, they  didn't want to pay that amount, so everybody will take their chances from that point on." Whatever it may eventually cost, Mayor Segarra says that doing nothing will cost much more in the long run. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.