Glass Is Half Full for New Developer in Hartford

Plans were unveiled Wednesday officials hope will continue a renaissance in downtown Hartford.  The newest development is slated for Constitution Plaza.  It is a 12-story $40 million project slated on the site of the old WFSB television studios.  The developer said he was optomistic the economy would turn around by the time the building could open in two years.

Redeveloping Constitution Plaza is part of a bigger vision for the capitol city according to Mayor Eddie Perez.  He unveiled a snapshot of the proposed new AI Technology Center.  He said he hoped the new construction would bring more jobs and more economic growth to Hartford.

The AI Technology Center will replace the old Broadcast Center and tie into the progress that the Mayor said has already taken place in the city.

"It connects the dots of the work we've done over the last few years.  It connects the Convention Center, the Marriott Hotel, the new Science Center and the work we plan to do on Columbus Blvd.," Perez said.

The plans for the $40 million project were unveiled for the first time during a Wednesday news conference.  The middletown based firm, A-I Engineers, is designing the sleek new building.

And while it may appear to be made of just plain old glass and steel, it is a green building complete with solar panels, energy efficient windows and roof gardens.

Abul Islam, CEO and President of AI Engineers said his company will occupy the majority of the space in the building.  The rest will be leased out to the other companies including retailers on the ground floor.

"It's going to create a place that people are going to want to be in. It's going to be healthy and cheaper to own and operate," Islam declared.

Mayor Perez and Islam acknowledged that the timing of the development is off for the project given the recession the country and the state are facing, but they said they were optimistic there would be an economic recovery.

"Businesses,in general, are having a hard time but remain confident things will change," Islam said.  "This building will be inaugurated in 2010. Do you think things will be the same then? No, we are optimists," he added.

Construction on the project is expected to start in early 2009.

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