In July, Real Hartford reported that 405 Capitol Avenue — the space previously occupied by La Paloma Sabanera — was slated to become a convenience store. We had spoken with patrons of Capitol Grocery who said this is what store employees were telling them. Depending on who asked the questions, the answers about what the Bukhari brothers planned for 405 Capitol Avenue varied wildly, from a hookah lounge to an Internet cafe.
The next day, an article in the Hartford Courant stated that the space was going to become a restaurant, and that Capitol Grocery would remain open. Shahzaib Bukhari, who was interviewed for the piece and who said he planned to sign a lease, stated that the restaurant should have opened in early August.
At the end of the month, there is still no sign of a restaurant. Rather, what we saw this morning was quite different. The Capitol Grocery, a bodega, was closed and its sign was removed. The sign — along with cigarette posters — were moved down the block to 405 Capitol Avenue. This space was also dark, but all signs point to one thing.
Over the weekend, the sculpture created from oil drums and an old pay phone was destroyed. This was ripped out and tossed onto the grassy area at the corner of Babcock and Capitol.
Previously, a mural on the side of the building was partially painted over. This happened after the brickwork was patched using material not suggested for historic brick. Graffiti reported on the mural has still not been removed.
At a recent City Council meeting, residents demanded more involvement from officials regarding absentee landlord issues.