Hartford: Goodbye Goodwin Hotel, Hello Society Room

The Courant had two interesting articles on Hartford business this morning; the end of the Goodwin Hotel and the birth of The Society Room.

This is a bittersweet juxtaposition, now isn’t it? On one hand you have a business that’s closed and 100 people lost their jobs. But on the other hand you have a new business moving into Downtown Hartford that will add employment and attract large groups of people for events (that may actually need to stay overnight in our city and use other services).

Northland wasn’t able to turn a profit since buying the Goodwin Hotel in 2005. They offered the hotel’s union an option to lease the building for $1 a year to keep it open, but that offer was rejected. I can’t say I blame the union, it’s most likely not their core competency to know the ins and outs of managing a hotel business, they simply provide the support to run the business. Mayor Eddie Perez mentioned that there are others potentially interested in purchasing the Goodwin. Always being the Hartford optimist, I would bet that someone will come in and make it work. Now, will it continue to be a hotel? Who knows. It could turn into more apartments (as it used to be). Maybe a condo conversion?

The Society Room of Hartford has taken over the former Joe Black’s location on Pratt Street in Hartford. The new occupants also manage The Riverhouse in Haddam and will focus solely on hosting weddings, galas, and corporate events. The facility will not offer a restaurant option, as the company realizes catering and events are its niche. It’s nice to see a business that maintains focus. Hopefully they will be busy enough with their current business plan and bring some additional traffic into Hartford that will stimulate other business in the area.

So, an end and a beginning in Downtown Hartford. Your thoughts on these two ventures?

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