By Jesse Leavenworth
Town leaders appear to be moving closer to a development deal for the publicly owned side of Manchester Parkade.
Representatives of one of three groups that sent development proposals attended last week’s redevelopment agency meeting, according to the minutes. Also present were Mayor Jay Moran, two other board of directors members and representatives of Goman & York, a development consulting firm.
The town has hired the East Hartford-based consultants to “help us with vetting and make sure we protect ourselves as much as we can,” town planning and economic Development Director Gary Anderson said Tuesday.
Goman & York has been involved in many developments throughout the state, including the Hartford Regional Market. Their work with municipalities includes reviewing developers’ proposals, analyzing tax abatement applications and conducting “community visioning sessions,” according to the company website, www.gomanyork.com.
Town officials and residents have been through many discussions of the now 23-acre parcel off Broad Street in the last ten years. The town had been working toward a mixed use development with consultant and master developer LiveWorkLearnPlay, but that relationship ended last year without even a proposal.
In May, the town received three development proposals for the site. Officials would not identify the outfit represented at the redevelopment agency meeting last week. Anderson would only say, “You can read between the lines; we invited them in for a reason.”
The agency is to make a recommendation to the board of directors, which would make the final decision on any development agreement. No timeline has been set, Anderson said.
In 2009, voters approved an $8 million bond issue to redevelop the 148-acre Broad Street Redevelopment Area, which includes the town’s 23.2 acres. Since then, the town has purchased and demolished a blighted shopping plaza, bought and demolished former automotive businesses on the other side of Broad Street, completed a $5 million reconstruction of Broad Street and bought and torn down a vacant restaurant to open a connection between Center Springs Park and the redevelopment area.
Jesse Leavenworth covers news in Manchester and stories of statewide interest. The New Britain native and U.S. Army veteran has been a reporter and editor at The Courant since 1987 and has reported, written and edited many of the major stories in the state over the past three decades. Jesse Leavenworth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.