Downtown Hartford now has a new music venue, as Thursday was the grand opening of the Infinity Music Hall and Bistro.
For more than a decade, people have wanted to remake this part of Hartford in an effort to revitalize it, to attract both new people and new money. It began with a convention center, a science center, a hotel, and a lot of new housing. For years, however, stalled by economic recession, the retail spaces were empty. Now they're filling up.
"You know, we've been working on this now for almost 15 years," said Len Wolman, whose company the Waterford Group served as the master developer for the overall project called Adriaen's Landing. At the grand opening for Infinity Hall, he said that despite a few false starts, the project known as Front Street again has some momentum. People are starting to come.
"I think it's going to build," he said. "It's not something that's going to happen overnight. But you've got to have product. And now that there is product, you'll see more feet on the street."
Matt Fleury agrees. He runs the Connecticut Science Center.
"Our customers have been more than willing to enjoy the convenience of coming in, parking at the science center, go to the science center for two to four hours, having something to eat at the cafe or the subway, and then go home," Fleury said. "As a Hartford booster, what I love about what's happening on Front Street is we're going to finally be able to offer them something to do outside our building as an extension of their experiences in Hartford that, before, it's been difficult to promise."
Dan Hincks, Infinity Hall's owner, said all that's missing are the people. "We have a beautiful four-star bistro, an incredible facility, and now all we need is for folks to come to the shows and enjoy it," he said.
Hincks said the venue will have around 250 shows a year.