When I first moved to Connecticut in 1992, I was given this poster and told this is what Hartford would like in 1995. I recently found it in a box and it is actually kind of sad to look at. There were no fewer than eight skyscrapers on the drawing board then, including one that promised to be the tallest in New England. It’s amazing how different our capital city would be had all these buildings been built. Instead, most of the sites remain vacant lots two decades later.
Remarkably a few of the towers would have been taller than anything in today’s skyline. The Cutter Financial Center would have stood 61 stories tall, higher than the John Hancock Tower in Boston. The renderings were impressive: a gleaming skycraper topped with a gold dome, a nod to Hartford’s colonial roots. Financial problems killed the project, as did the other proposals. It would have gone up near Bushnell Park between Lewis and Trumbull Streets, where an apartment building went up in 2005. 111 Pearl Street would have been torn down as part of this project. It still stands, but it has been abandoned for 20 years.
While the demise of all of these projects was certaintly disappointing, none angered people more than the Society Bank Tower project. Preservationists fought hard and loudly to save Hartford’s first skyscraper, the old Aetna building at Main and Asylum. Society Bank won the battle, and had the building imploded to make way for a 45 story high rise. It was never built, and 22 years later, the site remains vacant. A piece of Connecticut history was demolished for nothing.
Did you know that a World Trade Center was proposed for Hartford? It was an interesting design with a globe at the top. That 33 story project would have gone up on a prime piece of real estate, across from the State Capitol adjacent to the e the Statler Hilton. The WTC was never built and the Hilton was demolished. That lot also remains vacant to this day.
Around the corner this 42 story tower was proposed for Allyn Street.
The Metro Center II would have been 50 stories tall, diagonally across across from the Hartford Civic Center at Church and Ann Uccello Streets across from St. Patrick Anthony Church. That site is a barren parking lot today and has become an occasional crime scene after dark.
This tower would have gone up next to the G. Fox building. That site is a vacant lot today.
As you can see from this poster, there were other projects that never got off the ground. Certainly, some progress was made since this drawing was made: Adriaen’s Landing, Hartford 21, and the riverfront. Let’s hope 2012 brings some new ideas for these long vacant parcels. They don’t have to be as grand as the ones proposed in the big ’80s, but something would be better than the status quo.
I’m not sure what this is, but it appears to be a convention center just north of I-84. Also check out www.emporis.com for some great information about Hartford buildings.
Also read these two related posts on downtown development : http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/city-should-seek-ideas-for-prime-parcel/